Why It Is Important to Study the Bible

Bible Study

Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

The verses above affirm that the Bible contains the truth and reveals to us the mind of God. Yet it is important to understand that it is not a private diary of God’s thoughts that mankind just happened to discover. The Bible contains revelation. God has not revealed all that He knows, but He has revealed everything He wants us to know. Moses said, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Since God revealed His word for us, what are we to do with it? Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of studying God’s word: “Be diligent [study, KJV] to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This is one of the things we must do with the word of God. In this article, we are going to consider seven reasons why studying the Bible is important.

To Understand the Mystery of God

That by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-4).

Paul had received “the stewardship of God’s grace” (Ephesians 3:2) through the revelation of this “mystery.” As he explained to the brethren in Ephesus, he wrote it down so that others could read it. By reading it, they could understand it – not in the sense that each one would have his own personal interpretation; rather, Paul said they would have his understanding.

God revealed His will to us in His word through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-12). When He did this, He revealed it in a way that we could understand it. This does not mean that everything is “easy” to understand. Peter that there are “some things hard to understand” in the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:16); but with study, we can understand what God wants us to know.

To Know How to Accurately Handle God’s Word

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Paul told Timothy that by learning how to accurately handle the word of God, we will be approved by Him. Yet this requires diligence. Using the imagery employed by the apostle, the efforts of a “workman” are required.

The word of God is described as “the sword of the Sprit” (Ephesians 6:17). Like any weapon, we need to know how to wield it properly. As Paul told Timothy, we need to know how to accurately handle the word. For instance, we need to recognize how to use the Old Testament, knowing that it was “written for our instruction” (Romans 15:4) but has also been “nailed…to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Other examples could be cited to demonstrate the importance of handling God’s word correctly. Just as a weapon that must be wielded property, the word of God can be dangerous is it is mishandled. Those who “distort” the Scriptures do so “to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). Therefore, it is essential that we study the Scriptures to know how to handle them aright.

To Be Equipped for Every Good Work

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Scriptures were inspired by God and revealed to man in order to guide us “in righteousness.” By following its teaching, reproof, correction, and training, we will be “equipped for every good work.” God wants His people to be engaged in doing good works. Paul explained that Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). In the passage above to Timothy, Paul made it clear that “good deeds” are defined by God’s word.

It is good to be zealous. However, zeal without a knowledge of God’s word is not just useless, it is dangerous. Paul explained how this was the case with his Jewish brethren: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3). Since they did not properly understand the word of God, their zeal actually led them to reject the righteousness of God. Therefore, we need to study the Scriptures so that we can be “zealous for good deeds” and not zealous for what is contrary to God’s will.

To Be Able to Understand What Sin Is

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

John clearly affirmed that “sin is lawlessness.” This means that when we fail to keep the law of God, we are guilty of sin. We can think of sin as falling into two categories – sins of omission (not doing what the word of God instructs us to do) and sins of commission (doing what the word of God instructs us not to do).

Those who sin are deserving of God’s punishment. Paul wrote, “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “Wages” denotes something that is owed. What we are owed for our sin is death – separation from God. Paul told the brethren in Ephesus, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6). We want to avoid the wrath of God! “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). This is why it is important to know what the Bible says. Paul said, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law” (Romans 7:7). We cannot distinguish between good works (previous point) and sin unless we study the Bible to properly understand what it teaches.

To Be Able to Overcome Temptation

And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”’” (Matthew 4:3-4).

Jesus was tempted three times on this occasion (Matthew 4:1-11). Each time the devil tried to get Him to sin, Jesus refused to do so. In this, Jesus showed us an example of how to overcome temptation – each time He responded with Scripture (“It is written…”). To overcome temptation ourselves, we need to know what the word of God says.

When we are tempted, God has promised that there is a “way of escape…so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, knowing or believing that the way of escape will be there is one thing; recognizing it is another. As we have noticed, God’s word shows us what is right and wrong (2 Timothy 3:17; 1 John 3:4); but we must know it and be able to recall it in the moment when we are tempted. The psalmist wrote, “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). It takes time and effort in Bible study to be able to do this.

To Be Able to Teach Others

For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions” (1 Timothy 1:6-7).

It is good for one to have the desire to teach others; but without understanding the Scriptures, it becomes a fruitless endeavor. Paul described those who “make confident assertions” without understanding the word of God. It is certainly possible to sound “confident” but not really comprehend a particular subject. Confidence helps when we want to teach others, but it is more important that we understand the subject – especially when it comes to the word of God.

We all have a responsibility to teach others in some capacity – either by publicly preaching the word (2 Timothy 4:2, 5) or by giving an answer to those who have questions about our faith (1 Peter 3:15). Regardless of the situation, when we speak on spiritual matters we have an obligation to teach accurately. Peter wrote, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God” (1 Peter 4:11). There is condemnation for those who distort the gospel (Galatians 1:8-9), so we cannot take this lightly. We need to study to make sure we can teach faithfully.

To Gain Wisdom to Handle Life’s Difficulties

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Paul said that we are to be “careful how [we] walk” – not as the fool who does not understand God’s will. He warned that “the days are evil.” Thayer defined this word (evil) as being “full of labors, annoyances, hardships.” This highlights the fact that life is difficult. How do we handle the difficulties of life? We have to walk carefully, understanding God’s will.

James acknowledged that we will “encounter various trials” that will test our faith (James 1:2-3). Therefore, he went on to explain that we are to pray for wisdom (James 1:5-7). But how will we receive wisdom? God is not going to miraculously “zap” us with wisdom. Instead, we need to do what James described later in this chapter – hear God’s word and do it. We “must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:19-22). The psalmist said that the Lord’s testimonies are able to “[make] wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). If we want to gain the wisdom necessary to know how to handle the hardships of life, we need to study the Scriptures.

Conclusion

God has shown us in His word how to be pleasing to Him and do His will. It is our responsibility to study His word so that we can understand it and obey it.


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Comments

  1. Wayne D. Teel says

    A very good article and one that is so instructive. Thanks for the well written article, Andy.