Some Christians seem excited about Bible study, while others seem scared of the concept. Why should we invest time in studying the Bible? Here are five good reasons!
1. For spiritual life. Some years ago, I was pointed to a fascinating book about conversions in the Muslim world. I am sure you have heard of how God is using dreams and visions to bring Muslims to Jesus. The book’s author pointed out that when these testimonies are investigated, the dreams are a key link in a chain, but they are not the whole chain. In each case, the person had to encounter God’s written word before coming to faith in Christ.
When Jesus spoke to the religious leaders in John 5, he shocked them by saying they did not know God or have his word in them. These were men who spent hours in their scrolls every day. Jesus pointed out that they thought they could find life in the scriptures themselves, but actually, those scriptures were pointing to a person – him! (John 5:39) As we study the Bible, it points us to Jesus. As we meet Jesus, we find spiritual life itself. Knowing God the Father, through Jesus the Son, is the very essence of eternal life. (John 17:3)
2. For spiritual growth. Six times we have had the joy and privilege of bringing a newborn into our family. Life is relatively simple for the baby. Eat and sleep. And those regular meals with Mum result in the biggest growth spurt of their lives (even more than a teenage boy!) So Peter positively uses the analogy of milk to describe how the Bible will nourish us and grow us as believers. We should long for that sustenance so we can grow spiritually. (1Peter 2:2)
3. For spiritual maturity. That same analogy is also used in Hebrews but in a negative sense. The preacher to the Hebrews is concerned because these believers have not matured as they should. Instead of solid food, they are still on a liquid diet. Mature believers can discern between good and evil because they have been trained for the challenges of spiritual adulthood. Where should we look for solid food if the Bible provides spiritual milk? Still, the Bible – that part of the analogy remains consistent! (Hebrews 5:11-14) Have you ever met a genuinely mature believer who had arrived at that stage without a steady diet of the Bible shaping their life and character? No, nor me.
4. For spiritual effectiveness. We live in an era of unlimited opportunities. Where do you go if you want thorough equipping for ministry in the church, home, and workplace? There are so many seminars, workshops, books, courses and institutions inviting us to come along and learn. Paul wrote to Timothy and described the God-breathed usefulness of Scripture. It teaches, reproves, corrects and trains us. What is the result of that biblical influence in our lives? It is that we may be complete, equipped for every good work. That is quite the promise! (2Tim.3:16-17)
The Bible offers us salvation, spiritual growth, maturity and equipping for all aspects of life and ministry. Some might stop there, but there is another reason to study the Bible:
5. For spiritual delight. Psalm 1 introduces us to the righteous man who doesn’t allow the world’s message to shape his life. Instead, his delight is in the revelation of the Lord; on that word, he meditates day and night. Have you ever paused to ponder the word “delight” in Psalm 1:2? He does not merely concern himself with the message or even simply find his life instructions there. He delights in it. There is something about God’s very character, and therefore his inspired Word, that means we can read and study it for sheer delight. The ultimate reason to spend time in God’s Word is not that we have to, but because we get to! The heart of eternal joy and never-fading delight is opened toward us in the revelation of Scripture!
There are more reasons to read and study the Bible, but that’s a good starting point.