How Should I Study My Bible?
How long does it take to read the Bible all the way through? If you were to read the Bible at pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood), it would take about 71 hours. If you were to break that down into minutes and divide it by 365, you could read the entire Bible through in one year by reading about 12 minutes a day.
Sadly, many of us do not take the time to read through the Bible. Other things take our time–TV programs, work, school events, dinner with some friends. Our attendance at public Bible study is not near where it should be.
Paul serves as an excellent model for Bible study. Paul asked Timothy to bring “the books, especially the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13). Many believe that these “books and parchments” were part of Scripture. Paul is at the end of his life, and he still wants to study.
Let’s examine why we should study our Bibles.
The Bible is God’s Revelation
The Bible claims to be God’s Word. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16). “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).
The Bible, therefore, contains the mind of God. God has revealed in his word everything we need to know about him. In Scripture, we learn what pleases God and what does not please God. Our bodies do not belong to us; they belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Therefore, we need to know the best ways to use our bodies. God is our Creator; therefore, he has a right to tell us how to live.
The Bible tells us what God expects from us. The Bible serves as a light guiding us in God’s direction. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). “The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple” (Ps. 119:130). Are you following the Bible as your light?
We Need Rightly to Divide the Word of Truth
We must rightly divide the truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
The idea behind “rightly dividing” is one of handling correctly. We need to handle the Bible in the correct way. We need to keep Scripture in its proper context. Taking a passage out of its context can bring trouble. Our “anti” brethren misunderstand 1 Corinthians 11:34. They understand the passage to mean that one cannot eat in the church building. However, the context is dealing with abuses at the Lord’s supper. The rich were coming and eating a large meal in front of brethren who couldn’t afford as much. Paul is telling the church not to have such abuses at the Lord’s supper.
In order to handle correctly the Word, we must study.
We Need to Convert the Lost
The Bible teaches us to convert those lost in sin. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Mt. 28:19). “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk. 16:15). “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away” (Jn. 15:2). If we refuse to share the Gospel, men’s blood will be on our hands (Acts 20:26-27).
Without a knowledge of Scripture, we can’t convert the lost. How can you explain that baptism is essential if you can’t find the passage? How can you show that a woman can’t preach if you don’t know the Bible?
We must be prepared to answer any question about Scripture. “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). Could you defend your faith?
We Need to Recognize False Doctrine
False doctrine is dangerous. If one were to teach false doctrine, he is accursed (Gal. 1:8). Jesus told the church in Pergamos to get rid of false teachers or he would remove that church’s lampstand (Rev. 2:15-16).
False doctrine can easily come into a church. Jesus warned against false teachers who wore sheep’s clothing (Mt. 7:15). Those who teach false doctrine serve their own belly; they use smooth words to convert people to their doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18).
We must search the Scriptures to see if what we are being taught is true. Those in Berea searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true (Acts 17:11). Unless we study, we won’t be able to search the Scriptures. Unless we have an understanding of the Bible, how will we know if something is true or false?
The Bible Will Judge Us
We will be judged as to whether or not we’ve lived according to the Bible. The words of Jesus will judge us at the last day (Jn. 12:48)–The words of Jesus are now found in Scripture. When the dead are judged, the books shall be opened (Rev. 20:12). Surely one of those books is Scripture. If we refuse to study, we may be living in sin and never realize it. Are you ready to be judged by the words of Jesus?
The Bible Will Allow Me to Resist Temptation
The Bible plays a role in overcoming temptation. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You” (Ps 119:11). When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, Jesus replied, “It is written” (Matt. 4:1-11).
Temptation leads to sin which leads to death. Temptation leads to sin which leads to death (Js. 1:15). The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Do you use the Bible in your fight against temptation?
The Bible Gives Hope When We Hurt
Anyone who has ever stood beside the casket of a loved one knows hurt. Without Scripture to help in such times, we don’t know where to turn.
Our hearts can trust in the words of Scripture. The Thessalonian church was concerned about their loved ones who died in the Lord. They were afraid that those loved ones might not be resurrected. Paul told the church that the Lord would bring with him those who sleep in Jesus (1 Thess. 4:14). Paul concludes his discussion: “Comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:18). If I don’t study Scripture, how can I be comforted by the words of Scripture?
Many will object to what’s been said this morning. Some will say that Bible classes are just too boring. “I love Your commandments More than gold, yes than fine gold” (Ps. 119:127). How can that which we love be boring?
Some will say that they just don’t have time. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). If God is first, I’ll make time. Are you studying Scripture?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.