The greatest problem in the church today is that we have an increasing number of Christians who are under the Word of God but not in it for themselves. Being under the Word of God should be a stimulus—not a substitute—for getting into it for yourself.
Why should we study the Bible?
- GROWTH In 1 Peter 2:2 (NASB) we read, “Like newborn babies, [develop an appetite] for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow.” The Bible is the primary means for receiving spiritual nourishment. Just as the newborn baby grabs for the bottle, we should grab for our Bible. Without it, there’s no growth.
- MATURITY Hebrews 5:13-14 tells us, “Everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” The Bible is the primary means for developing spiritual maturity.
- GUIDANCE Second Timothy 3:16-17 tells us, “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.” The Bible is the primary means for becoming an effective servant of Jesus Christ. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and it is profitable. Nothing was included that should have been excluded, and nothing was excluded that should have been included.
Personal Bible study is not an option. It is essential.
A man I know came to Christ, so I gave him a New Testament and told him to read it. He came back a week later and said, “I read it.”
I said, “I know, but I meant the whole thing.” He said, “I read the whole thing, including the palms [sic] in the back. I understand that there is another section to this thing.”
So I gave him the Old Testament, and three weeks later he came back and said he’d read it! My friend, we have elders in our church who have never read through the Bible in its entirety! And here is this guy who is like a little kid with a fire engine—so excited to study the Bible.
Some time later, this same man and I were studying the passage where Jesus says, “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15 NKJV). He stopped me and said, “Whoa, does this mean what I think it means?”
I asked him what he thought it meant, and he explained it better than any commentary I had ever read. So this man went out and liquidated a million dollars’ worth of property to resource the work of Jesus Christ.
Now, you need to know that this man does not have it all together. Like all of us, he is in a process of coming to understand that there are areas of his life that Jesus does not control. Just the other day I took him to the seminary, and he used profanity in class. But it’s a piece of cake to clean up his language. The real problem is that once it’s cleaned up, he may become like the rest of us who know how to use all of our rationalizations about money and possessions.
I have more confidence in you and your ability to study the Bible than many of you have in yourself. The greatest times of my life are when I’m studying the Bible with ordinary men and women. I am amazed at what God gives them.
And that’s the reason it’s so important for you to study the Scripture: It is the process of seeing the Lord come into your life.
Copyright © 2009 Revive magazine, Vol. 40, #3 “Bible Boredom,” by Life Action Ministries. Dr. Howard Hendricks has been a faculty member at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, since 1951. He is also the Chair of the Center for Christian Leadership. This article is excerpted from a message he preached in 2007.