Each year our church publishes a Bible reading plan for the church to follow. And every Sunday morning we typically read at least two passages of Scripture during the worship service, in addition to Scriptures that are read during the sermon. Our Sunday School classes and instruction in AWANA are generally all expositions of biblical passages. We encourage our children in AWANA to memorize Scripture and when counseling, we encourage counselees to take in Scripture through Bible reading, Bible study, and memorization.
At Grace Bible Church, we’re committed to and consumed with the Scriptures. Many people have come to our church saying something like, “I saw your name on the sign and I thought, ‘I’ll bet they teach the Bible there…'” And sure enough, we do.
But why? Why read the Bible and study the Bible and be as ordered by the Bible as we are? Well, I have no good answer for that, except for the answers the Bible gives.
First, we study the Scriptures because of what the Bible says about itself:
- Scripture is the means of God’s specific revelation to man (Heb. 4:12)
God has spoken verbally, personally, and progressively. God has spoken (revealing both Himself and His purposes). God has spoken personally to and through individuals. And God has spoken in different ways in different times to men (though His message has always remained consistent to Himself).
- Scripture is the very Word of God, written through the agency of men (2 Pt. 1:21)
God, through the Holy Spirit, superintended the writers, ensuring that the writing was accurate; yet the human writers still wrote not by dictation, but through their own styles and personalities. Though the words of individual men, it was and is still God’s Word.
- Scripture is without any error (Mt. 5:18)
Since all Scripture is from the breath of God (2 Tim. 3:16), and since all God’s word is truth (Jn. 17:17), and since God cannot lie (Tt. 1:2), then it follows that God’s Word, the Scriptures, are fully without error in all its teaching.
- Scripture has all the authority of God (2 Pt. 1:2-3)
Only Scripture gives us the knowledge of God in all His persons, serving as the foundation of all our understanding of and activity for Him. Scripture, as the written expression of God’s will, has the very authority of God to command, even as if He had spoken audibly and individually. There is no difference between His spoken and written word.
- Scripture is made understandable through the power of the Holy Spirit
Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to illuminate (make understandable) the Scriptures (since our minds were corrupted at the fall). See 1 Cor. 2:12-14. [This does not preclude our need to study and know God’s Word!]
And we study the Scriptures because the Bible says studying and knowing the Scriptures is valuable:
- Bible study is essential to spiritual growth (1 Pet. 2:2)
Cultivate a craving for Scripture and make it something you desire. We do that by remembering the purpose of Scripture — to grow and change us (not just accumulate more facts and knowledge). Biblical knowledge is always for the purpose of Christ-like change. And we cultivate a craving for Scripture by forsaking and quitting sin (notice the relationship between vv. 1-2). Hunger for Scripture will be satiated by indulgence in sin.
- Bible study is essential to spiritual maturity (Heb. 5:11-14)
The man who is spiritual mature is the one who consistently applies what he knows. Spiritual maturity does not emphasize how much is known but how much is applied and obeyed. (It is possible for a month-old believer to be more mature than a decades old believer.) As time passes, there should be a growing understanding of how to apply Scripture to life. Scripture is not really studied until it is both rightly known and rightly used.
- Bible study is essential to spiritual effectiveness (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17)
Work hard in your life with Christ, so that you are unashamed before Him and able to “cut straight” His revelation of truth, that is so that you understand the Scriptures correctly. And that correct understanding will, with the hard work of application, produce spiritual fruit in your life — Scripture will teach you about God Himself, it will convict (reprove) you of your rebellious spirit against God, it will correct (restore) you, and it will equip and train you to be righteous — and enable you to be adequate for the ministry to which God has called you (cf. 2 Cor. 3:5-6; 4:7).
We study the Scriptures because in the Scriptures we learn of God, ourselves, and God’s plan and means to change us into those who look and live like Christ.
And at GBC, we don’t only teach the Scriptures, but we want every man to know how to study the Scriptures for himself. To that end, on June 6, we will be hosting a half-day seminar, “Bible Study Methods for Every Believer.” In three sessions, you will learn the three fundamental principles in the process of studying the Bible: observation, interpretation, and application.
This seminar begins at 8:00 and ends at noon. And registration is free, but to attend you do need to register here. Please sign up and bring a friend with you!
2 thoughts on “Why read and study the Bible?”
Sadly, we will most likely not be able to attend. Will this be recorded?
Yes, David, it will. As with most of our recordings, the audio and notes should be on the website within a couple of days. I’ll also provide a link on this blog site.