Why should we study the Bible?
- Is it not sufficient just to read the Bible?
- Is it really necessary to study and research, which requires much effort?
Yes. It is absolutely necessary because:
1. It is an inexhaustible treasure
Read Psalm 119:162 and Job 11:7-9
a) Treasures are seldom found on the surface. You must dig for them.
b) You will find, as Job did, that there are no limits when you search for the deep things of God.
c) The Word of God is the greatest, most valuable, treasure on earth.
Illustration: For how much silver and gold would you sell your Bible, if you were never allowed to have another one?
I would not sell it for all the gold in the world!!!
2. It is a divine revelation
Read 2 Timothy 3:15-17
It is the only book in man’s possession "written" by God and revealing His will.
In it we find God's revelation about man, sin, death, hell, about the way of salvation, eternal life, heaven, about the Christian life, the church, the future - yes, about anything concerning life and godliness.
It is God Himself reproving, correcting and instructing. His purpose is to keep us on the straight road - in His perfect will.
If we allow the Word to do its work, we will be complete (perfect) and thoroughly equipped for every good work. Verse 17.
3. There is great joy and benefit in studying God's word.
Read Psalm 1:2-3.
a) "Like a tree" which constantly drinks the living water.
b) Notice - we should "meditate" on His Word day and night. Meditate means "to think deeply about".
c) The result will be growth and plenty of fruit, a life that will prosper in the will of God.
Read Psalm 119
a) This is the longest chapter in the Bible, having 176 verses.
b) Almost every verse mentions the Word of God and the wonderful benefit there is for the one who studies and keeps it. (N.B. It is enough if God says something once only. Don’t allow the advertising syndrome of repetitiveness to determine your spiritual life).
c) Go through each of these verses (in your own time) and you will be completely convinced of the blessing and importance of studying the Word of God.
Read Joshua 1:7-8.
a) Here the Lord Himself commands Joshua to read and meditate on His Word day and night.
b) It is clear here, that the study of the Word has an exact purpose: that we may carefully do everything written in it. The result of this will be that we may prosper and be successful.
A parallel Scripture in the New Testament (2 Tim 3:17) tells us “that the man of God may be perfect and fully equipped.”
- Symbols for the Word of God
The many "symbols" used in the Bible for the Word of God also indicate some of the powerful results of studying the Word. Let's look at some of them:
1. A lamp and a light
Read Psalm 119:105
a) Right from the first page of the Bible, where darkness is upon the face of the earth, we see that God’s Word brought forth light.
b) In the first chapter of John's Gospel we read that Jesus, as the Word, shines into darkness and overcomes it. Verse 5.
c) All unsaved people are in spiritual darkness. Satan has blinded their minds so that the light of the gospel cannot shine upon them. 2 Cor 4:4
d) But: "God has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son". Col 1:13.
e) For the child of God, the Word is a wonderful guiding light. "We would do well if we heed it." 2 Pet 1:19.
Illustration: If a ship’s captain heeds the guidance of the lighthouse he will do well. If he ignores it, he will end in great disaster! The same is true for any person who ignores the Word of God!
3. A mirror
Read James 1:22-25
Who do I see when I look into a mirror? I see myself! The Word shows me "what I really look like". But it also encourages me to correct my appearance. If I do, the Word says I will be blessed.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:18
The Word also shows us Jesus in all His glory. As we keep on looking at Him in "the mirror" we are transformed into His likeness, from one degree of glory to another. Just as we use the natural mirror several times a day - let it be the same with the spiritual mirror. We are encouraged to meditate on the Word day and night.
4. A Bath (washing with water)
Read Ephesians 5:26
Physically we know how important it is that we wash daily.
Spiritually it is the same - there is an ongoing washing process needed. The Word is a wonderful cleansing water that washes our soul, as we study it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Word introduces the blood of Jesus which washes away stains, wrinkles and blemishes. It makes us radiant, holy and blameless.
As we study and apply the Word we are being changed from glory to glory into a radiant "bride".
Read Hebrews 5:12-14
As our physical body cannot function without food, so our spiritual life needs the food of the Word. It must be a balanced diet fit for the level of maturity of the person.
"Milk" is the wonderful gospel and the foundational teachings found in Hebrews 6:1-2. "The solid food" is the study of the deep wonderful truths of the Word of God.
If we study and apply the Word, we will grow in maturity and will be able to teach others.
6. A sword
Read Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12
The Word is a wonderful weapon to defeat the enemy - the very weapon Jesus used when tempted by Satan. Luke 4:4 and 8.
The Word has also the ability to cut right into the very core of our being. See for example the account of the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:37.
A natural warrior needs daily training to be really skilled with his sword. The same applies to a spiritual warrior.
Read Luke 8:11
There is life and great potential in the Word. The better prepared the soil of the heart is, the more effective and fruitful the Word becomes in our lives.
8. There are several other symbols which show the powerful effect of the Word. We will not discuss them here in detail, but some of them are:
a) Rain and snow: Isaiah 55:10-11.
b) A hammer: Jeremiah 23:29.
c) Fire: Jeremiah 20:9.