“Studying God’s Word”
Studying. We all love to do it!!! AmIright?! Huh??? Okay, so maybe only us nerds love studying. And, yes, I am admitting I am a nerd.
I do like to read, and to study what I am reading. It does not matter to me if it is a short article or an in-depth textbook. If I have it before me, I want to know everything about it. I am just inquisitive that way.
So, the task of studying just isn’t as much of a burden to some of us as it is to others. What about the Bible though? Do we have a hard time studying it, or are we even taking the time to do any studying of it? Do we even need to? I would like to look at some passages that show we do, in fact, need to be studying, why we are to study, and see why I think we can get joy out of studying God’s word.
Paul, in his second letter to Timothy says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” There is enough packed into this one verse that we could do an entire study based around it, alone. That is for another time though. Let’s begin by noting that Paul, starts with a simple exhortation; “Study”.
However, Paul does not simply leave with “study,” he goes on to explain why “study” is important. We are to study so that we can show ourselves “approved unto God.” When we study, our goal should never be to impress others with our knowledge, but rather, to please God with the depth and understanding we have of His word and His will. When we have this knowledge, we know how to live according to His will, how to teach others what His will is, and win others to Him.
We are to be “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” How can we make sure to not be ashamed? By reading and studying the scriptures. I like the use of the word “workman” here, because it is indeed work. We cannot learn what we need to know by surface readings and skimming the Bible. We have to the work of studying and thinking about the things written therein.
For instance, Jesus spoke in parables very often. If we just do a surface reading of these parables we may come away thinking they are nice stories, but, more likely than not, we would just be confused. We should take our time and dive into them, learning the meanings that are under the surface, and how we are to apply the lessons of the parables to our lives.
Fortunately, though, there are some passages that do only take a surface reading to understand their menings. Commandments are often, if not always, given to us this way. For example; 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” I could have chosen a shorter command that was more straightforward, but I think this one is good for this study. For how can we be ready, as commanded in this passage, unless we read and study our Bibles? It is easy to see, though, without any real though, that we are to be ready to give an answer to every man.
If we do not read and do this work of studying, how can we then “rightly divide the word of truth.” How do we know if we are applying scripture correctly if we do not spend time studying it? Unfortunately, there are many people that approach, and use, the Scriptures incorrectly. Many have already formed a belief on a topic before they even pick up a Bible. Then they pick scriptures out of their context and fit them with other scriptures, twisting their meanings to fit the belief they started with. What we should be doing is approaching our Bibles to read what is says on a topic, and letting the scriptures tell us what to believe. People like to talk about “interpreting” the Bible, but I think if we approach the Bible to let it tell us what to believe, we will find that there is not a lot that is left up to interpretation!
This is what we are warned of in 1 John, chapter. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God”. John goes on to warn of false prophets. In another study, I will talk about how we know that a man claiming to be a prophet, today, is indeed false. Hint; (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). As for today, we try the spirits, to find out if someone is a false teacher, but how can we know if they are teaching us falsely if we do not know the scriptures? And how do we learn the scriptures if we do not study them?
As stated earlier, studying is a type of work, but that does not mean it must be a boring chore. God’s word contains things that are there to be uplifting and joyous to Christians. They reenergize us in our lives on Earth, giving us things to look forward to. There are passages that show us things that lay in store for those that faithful.
In Revelations 21:10 – 27 John explains to us, as best he can, the city in which we will dwell. The holy Jerusalem, “having the glory of God.” This Jerusalem has no need of a temple as was in the old, earthly Jerusalem, for the “Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it.” It is a glorious city having 12 gates, each a pearl, the wall of pure jasper, and the city pure gold. There are 12 foundations for the city, and each foundation garnished with “all manner of precious stones.” Just a wonderful, glorious city that we have to look forward to, described to us in this passage!
Not just the city, though. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19 – 20 and Luke 12:33 that we should lay our treasures up in heaven where they will not corrupt. What treasures? How can we know what is being talked about here unless we study? And, not just our treasures, for 1 Corinthians 15:50 – 55 tells us that our corruptible bodies, mortal bodies will be made incorruptible and immortal when “Death is swallowed up in victory”!
I will leave you with this. Not only will we have a new, glorious city, treasure that do not corrupt, and bodies that are incorruptible and immortal, there is more. Revelations 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things have passed away.” Hallelujah! These things are here for our edification. If we are having hard times we can turn to these, and other passages like them, to know that this is temporary and there are better times to come.
No, studying is not always easy. Yes, it is a work. Yes, we are told to do it, and it is necessary for us to be able to carry out other commandments and to even know those commandments are there. But, no, studying does not have to be a boring chore. I hope we can all commit to studying. If you feel you need a study partner, please ask until you find someone that will help, but always remember to compare what they are telling you to the scriptures. And if you ever have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them here.