Sunday, October 11, 2015 am                                Perfection 2015 Index

The Christian and Bible Study (1)
Why Study the Bible?


Last month we addressed the Christian and prayer.  Prayer is the avenue God has provided for His people to communicate with Him.  Bible study is the avenue through which God communicates with us today.   So this month, we are going to address the subject of Bible study.

This morning we want to address the importance of Bible study.  Next week we will address proper attitudes toward Bible study.  We will conclude with some practical thought to make our Bible study as effective as possible. 

 I.                    The Bible - The Word of God

a.        What is the Bible?  If you were asked what the Bible is, how would you answer that?  The word “Bible” is from the Greek word, βίβλος , “biblos.”   The definition simply means “book” and has reference to a record, namely a written statement.  Its first use in the New Testament is Matthew 1:1. 

b.       Our usage is sacred.  We refer to the Bible as God’s written record or message to us.
Inspired – θεόπνευστος, (theopneustos) literally means, “God breathed”, etc.   
2 Tim. 3:16, speaks of scripture (writings) that are inspired of God are profitable.
1 Peter 4:11 we are told, “if anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.” That is, speak as if God were uttering it Himself. 
NOTE: We can only do that if we identify His word and seek to be as exact as possible in our interpretation of sacred text. 

c.        The Bible declares itself to be the word of God –

                                                   i.      2 Pet. 1:21, holy men of God spoke as they were moved

                                                  ii.      Matthew 10:19–20, “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

                                                iii.       These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:13)

                                                iv.      Ephesians 3:3-4, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery…

                                                  v.      If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 14:37)

                                                vi.      THIS is significant because it calls for us to consider its authenticity.  Based upon what the Bible says, it is either the word of God or totally fraudulent and thus worthless. 
NOTE: There are many false “testimonies” claiming to be from God, but when tested they fail authenticity. 

d.       The word of God:

                                                   i.      Is Infallible – without error – John 17:17 – “your word is truth”
Psalm 19:7, “the law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul”
Romans 3:4, “Let God be true and every man a liar”

                                                  ii.      Is Complete – Jude 3 – the faith once, for all, delivered to the saint
2 Tim. 3:17, with it the man of God may be complete.
2 Peter 1:3, He has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

                                                iii.      Can be understood
Mark 7:14, “When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:” Jesus expected the people to understand what He said. 

2 Tim. 2:15 – study (be diligent) to be able to rightly divide the word of truth
Ephesians 5:17, we are commanded to understand what the will of God is. 
Eph. 3:3-4 Paul wrote so that “when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ
This does NOT mean that everything is simplistic (cf. 2 Peter 3:15-16), but with effort we can learn what we need to know to perfectly and completely follow Him. 

e.       It has authority – if the Bible is the word of God, then we need to submit to its teachings. 

                                                   i.      This is not an option, as we will one day stand in judgment for its teachings – Romans 2:16, John 12:48, etc.

                                                  ii.      Matthew 7:21-23 – not enough to say you believe. You must do the will of the Father.

                                                iii.      James 1:22 – be doers of the word and not hearers only.

                                                iv.      Again, recall 1 Corinthians 14:37 –acknowledge it as the word of God.  In 1 Thess. 2:13 Paul praises the brethren because they received the word of God, “not as the word of men, but as the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.”

 II.                  What is Bible study?

a.        It is listening to God.  The Bible is God’s message to us.  Studying His word is how we learn to the best of our ability that which He tells us.

b.       More than simply reading – there is a place for Bible reading, but that will only carry one so far. 

c.        Studying is mining the scriptures to glean its true meaning.  Psalm 1:1-2, Psalm 119:97 – meditating
Putting forth diligent effort (2 Tim. 2:15). 
Acts 17:11 commends the Bereans because they searched the scriptures daily to verify the truthfulness of what Paul and Silas taught.
Hebrews 5:12-14 describes the one who is mature being able to discern good and evil with the teachings of God. 

d.       Hermeneutics – the science of interpreting.  By that we mean the effort to as accurately as possible determine the intended meaning of a work.  Typically, and as we mention it here, it deals with determining the true meaning of the teachings of the Bible. 
The reason it is called a science is because we apply rules to our study of the Bible which help us to  accurately interpret what God has told us.  (We will deal with some of these rules in the next 2 lessons) 

 III.                Why study the Bible?

a.        It provides answers to the questions men ask – where did we come from, why are we here, what does the future hold for us, etc.  Man may reject these answers as they reject God, but the Bible DOES give an answer to such questions.
The Book of Ecclesiastes was a search for the meaning of life.  Solomon concluded the answer in Eccl. 12:13-14 – hear the conclusion of the whole matter…
The word gospel means “good news.”  The gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16-17) is described as “the power of God unto salvation” and how “in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” The Bible reveals God’s plans for our salvation!  We learn these things by studying God’s word!

b.       2 Tim. 2 15 – to be approved to God.  As the Bible is the word of God, we ought to seek His approval in our lives.  The word “approved” is a word that means to be accepted, to be shown as true or genuine when put to the test.
Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12, NKJV)

We learn how to do this by studying the Bible.

c.        2 Tim. 2:15 - To rightly dividing the word (rightly or accurately handling the word of truth).  One reason there is so much religious division today is because far too many mishandle the word of God.  They take verses out of context, they fail to accurately define words, they disregard the background of a given text, they fail to fully study a subject, they approach scripture with prejudice, etc.   All these things can lead to a failure to handle accurately the word of God.  In 2 Peter 3:15-16 speaks of unstable men twisting the scriptures to their destruction.
A simple reading of scripture will not reach the level of understanding we seek to achieve.  We need to study.

d.       2 Tim. 3:16-17 – because it is profitable.  Profitable means beneficial or helpful.  We seek things that are profitable throughout our lives.  We work because it profitable to live.  We buy things because they provide a benefit in one way or another. 
It this is true physically, how much more when it concerns our eternal welfare?
1 Timothy 4:8 tells us that godliness is profitable for all things, having a promise of life now and to come
Matthew 16:26, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
2 Tim. 3:16-17 tells us the God’s word is profitable for

                                                   i.      Doctrine – a word that simply means teachings.  We typically use the word to describe our understanding of theological principles (i.e. salvation, eternity, grace, deity, etc.), but in reality the word means ANYTHING that we are taught.  How we live our lives according to scripture is doctrine.  One resource in describing this word said, “The scripture is not the source from which we get our doctrines; the scripture IS our doctrine.”[1]

                                                  ii.      Reproof – sometimes translated as “rebuke” or “conviction” is a word that means to identify and expose error.  The word of God in teaching the truth, naturally exposes error (that which is not truth). 
Ephesians 4:14-16 describes how when we are taught we will not be tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine.   Studying God’s word helps us prepare to deal with error – both identifying and exposing it.

                                                iii.      Correction – to make something right.  After error is exposed, direction on how to correct it needs to be given.  Studying God’s word helps us accomplish this.

                                                iv.      Instruction in righteousness – after correction, we need to know how to live so that we will not repeat the same sinful conduct.   The word “instruction” here is translated “training” in Ephesians 6:4 and Hebrews 12:5-11as “chastening” (4 times).
We need to know how to live in a manner pleasing to God.  He tells us such things in His word!  2 Pet. 1:3 speaks of His word containing all things that pertain to life and godliness.  Titus 2:12 tells us the grace of God has appeared and teaches us to deny ungodliness and to live soberly and righteously and godly in this present age. 

If we want to live a profitable life, we need to study God’s word.

e.       So that we can be prepared to better teach others – as Christians, we need to know what we believe and why.  We should be able with scripture to show our convictions. 
1 Peter 3:15 calls for us to give a defense for the hope within us. 
2 Timothy 2:2, Paul taught Timothy who taught others to teach others.
Hebrews 5:12 says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again…”

f.         So that we can grow to maturity
2 Peter 3:18 – grow in grace and knowledge.
2 Peter 1:5-7 – we are to our faith, virtue and knowledge so that we can be mature. 
Hebrews 5:14 speaks of how we need to reach a point where we can digest “solid food” or “meat”
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 finds Paul rebuking these brethren for being unable to partake of “solid food”.
Unless we study God’s word, we will NOT grow spiritually.  And DON’T depend on the preacher (or elders) to tell you everything you need to know.    Your responsibility is to present YOURSELF approved to God (2 Tim. 2:15)

g.        To give us hope – Romans 15:4, while speaking of the Old Testament being written for our learning to give us hope, that would apply to all of God’s word. 
Ephesians 1:17-18, Paul prays for the Ephesians that God would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him so that with understanding they might know what is the hope of His calling.
Colossians 1:5 speaks of “… the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
Colossians 1:23 speaks of the hope of the gospel

Other reasons could be added to these, but we have here seen WHY we need to study the Bible and what Bible study is about.  In our next two lessons we will address how to study the Bible and the attitude we need to do so properly.  May our goal always be to please Him in all that we do.  And may we desire to seek His word so that we will know what that is.   Is studying the word of God important to you?  Think about it!

[1] Willis, Cecil.  How to Study the Bible Workbook, Guardian of Truth Foundation Publications, © 2007.  Page 12.