Bible study. Just those two words mean so many different things to Christians everywhere. For some, this is what happens at the mid-week service or maybe even Sunday evening. Others prefer studying the Bible on Sunday morning as the preacher reads it. Both of these groups rarely read the Bible outside a church setting. Therefore, within their life, their Christian faith remains weak. Little spiritual change has happened since they received Christ as their Savior. Bible study is an ongoing process for God’s children to learn directly from the Holy Spirit.
The New Testament Principle
For those who have read my sharing from the beginning, you know that 2006 was when I received Jesus as my Savior. It was not John 3:16 or Ephesians 2:8 that drew me to the Lord. It was this verse written by the apostle Paul: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Being in graduate school, I prided myself in my ability to study documents relating to foreign policy. The Lord challenged my pride by bringing me to a point where I wanted to study the Bible for myself. It was through serious Biblical inquiry – Bible study – where the Lord led me to salvation.
What Bible study is not
This sounds pretty funny for the topic the Lord has laid on my heart. But before I share the importance of Bible study, I feel led to share what Bible study isn’t. Bible study is not a function of the church. Yes, we have men’s and women’s Bible studies, mid-week Bible studies, and so forth. But these are not where the bulk of learning is to come from. The bulk of our learning about the Lord Jesus Christ happens in our own daily personal devotions and Bible study.
Bible studies cannot be clouded by other tasks. It’s not something we do as we are waiting on our doctor or for the mechanic to finish. It isn’t to be something we do to pass the time while waiting. Bible study is just that – studying the Bible as you would study materials that are job related or as a school subject is studied. The focus shouldn’t be the songs
What Bible study should be
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is writing that Timothy needs to personally study the scriptures. At that time, the only scriptures that were written down and easily accessible were select books of the Old Testament and the letters he had written for the apostle Paul. This guidance was not written in a letter to the Christians in Corinth or Ephesus, but to a young man named Timotheus. Paul’s desire was for Timothy to know the scriptures as well as any tradesman knows his craft. Imagine the difference Christians could make in their homes and communities if they knew their faith as well as they know what their employer expects while they are on the job!
Compare personal Bible study to the method used to teach a musical instrument. Yes, the technique is taught in the weekly lesson. The instructor uses the weekly appointment to fine-tune the techniques, to introduce more challenging content, and to measure progress of the student. But it is the daily practice at home where knowledge and talents are developed. This is the perfect picture of what our Bible studies are to be. We participate in the studies at church as a means to fine-tune our faith. But it is in our daily Bible reading where we are taught about our faith.