Untitled Sermon (12)
Why Bible Study Matters
After this section, you should be able to:
• Understand why it’s important to study the Bible, not just read it
Engaging God’s Word
We should begin the course by asking the question, why does Bible study matter? And if you sit and think about it just briefly, you’ll get there pretty quickly, actually. The difference between “Bible reading” and “studying the Bible” is the difference between night and day. Many people often pick up their Bible, just read it and look for a verse that will encourage them, or just absorb themselves in the Word periodically. But that’s different than sitting down and preparing to study the Bible—to actually put some resources around you that will be helpful, to stop and pause and reflect on what it is that you’re reading, to engage in resources that can help you get oriented to what’s going on in the passage. All these things add depth to your time in God’s Word.
And of course Bible study matters because the Bible is God’s Word to the world and to His people. And so this engagement that you are in the process of moving into is an engagement with listening to how God has encouraged us to walk with Him, and how we should live our lives in front of Him. So Bible study is very, very important in orienting us toward life.
Storing Up God’s Word
Of course since we’re going to study the Bible, we should probably look at a passage or two that’s in it, that helps us get oriented to what it is that we’re going to do. A passage that I really love is in the book of Proverbs, and it kind of says why Bible study matters: because it is the pursuit of wisdom that we are concerned to discover and to learn from. The passage is in Prov 2, and I’m going to read it to you so you can get the feel of what it is that God’s Word has to say about the study of the Bible. Here’s Proverbs 2:1–5:
My child, if you receive my words,
and store up my commands within you,
by making your ear attentive to wisdom,
and by turning your heart to understanding,
indeed, if you call out for discernment—
raise your voice for understanding—
if you seek it like silver,
and search for it like hidden treasure,
then you will understand how to fear the LORD,
and you will discover knowledge about God.
The passage is an exhortation, an exhortation to us to pursue wisdom: to pursue wisdom with the same kind of energy and the same kind of dedication that many people pursue wealth—they pursue silver and gold and hidden treasure. And the reward on the other end is the reception of knowledge about God and the deepening of the fear or respect for God. In other words, our hearts are shaped, as well as our minds.
And so when we engage with God’s Word in Bible study, we not only are reading the text and simply taking a look at what the Word of God has for us, but we’re actually engaged in a time where we are reflecting on what it is that God would have us be and what God would have us do.