What are the benefits of Bible study? What’s in it for me? If I invest my time in this manner, what’s the payoff? What difference will it make in my life? I want to suggest three benefits you can expect when you invest in a study of God’s Word, which are available nowhere else. And frankly, they’re not luxuries, but necessities. Let’s look at three passages that conspire to build a convincing case for why we must study the Bible. It’s not an option – it’s an essential.
Bible Study is Essential to Growth
1 Peter 2:2 says that like new-born babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
Let me give you three words to unpack the truth contained here. Write them in the margin of your Bible, next to this verse. The first one is attitude. Peter is describing the attitude of a new-born baby. Just as the baby grabs for the bottle, so you grab for the Book. The baby has to have milk to sustain its life physically; you have to have the Scripture to sustain your life spiritually.
He also says a word about your appetite for the Word. You should “long” for it, he says. You’re to crave the spiritual milk of God’s Word. Psalm 19:10 says that Scripture is sweeter than honey, but you’d never know that judging by some believers. You see, there three basic kinds of Bible students. There is the “nasty medicine” type. To them the Word is bitter – yech! – but it’s good for what ails them. Then there is the “shredded wheat” kind. To them Scripture is nourishing but dry. It’s like eating a bale of hay. But the third kind is what I call the “strawberries-and-cream” folks. They just can’t get enough of the stuff. How did they acquire that taste? By feasting on the Word. They’ve cultivated what Peter describes here—an insatiable appetite for spiritual truth. Which of these three types are you?
There’s a purpose to all of this, which brings us to the third word, aim. What is the aim of the Bible? The text tells us: in order that you might grow. Please note—it is not only that you may know. Certainly you can’t grow without knowing. But you can know and not grow. The Bible was written not to satisfy your curiosity but to help you conform to Christ’s image. Not to make you a smarter sinner but to make you like the Saviour. Not to fill your head with a collection of biblical facts but to transform your life.
So the first reason for studying Scripture is that it is a means of spiritual growth. There is none apart from the Word. It is God’s primary tool to develop you as an individual.
Bible Study is Essential to Spiritual Maturity
Hebrews 5:11-14 says that “Concerning (Christ) we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
This is an instructive passage in terms of studying Scripture. The writer says he’s got a lot to say, but it is “hard to explain.” Why? Is it the difficulty of the revelation? No, it’s the density of the reception. There’s a “learning disability.” Peter says, “You have become dull of hearing,” meaning you are slow to learn.
The key word in this passage is time. Underline it in your Bible. The writer tells his readers, when by virtue of the passing of time you ought to be entering college, you’ve got to go back to kindergarten and learn your ABC’s all over again. When you should be communicating the truth to others as teachers, you need to have someone communicate the truth to you.
In fact, he says you still need milk, not solid food. Solid food is for the mature. Who are the mature? Are they the people who go to seminary? Who can whip anyone in a theological duel? Who know the most Bible verses? No, the writer says you are mature if you’ve trained yourself through constant use of Scripture to distinguish good from evil. The mark of spiritual maturity is not how much you understand, but how much you use. In the spiritual realm, the opposite of ignorance is not knowledge but obedience. So that is a second reason Bible study is essential. The Bible is the divine means of developing spiritual maturity. There is no other way.
Bible Study is Essential to Spiritual Effectiveness
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
“All Scripture.” That includes 2 Chronicles and Deuteronomy and so on. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11), He defeated the devil three times by saying, “It is written.” All three responses are quotations from the book of Deuteronomy.
Paul says all Scripture is profitable. But profitable for what? He mentions four things. First, for doctrine, or teaching. That is, it will structure your thinking. That’s crucial, because if you are not thinking correctly, you are not living correctly. What you believe will determine how you behave. He also says the Bible is profitable for rebuke. That is, it will tell you where you are out-of-bounds. It’s like an umpire who cries, “Out!” or, “Safe!” It tells you what is sin. It tells you what God wants for your life.
Third, it is profitable for correction. Do you have a closet where you put all the junk you can’t find room for anywhere else? You cram it in, and then one day you forget and open the door and—whoosh!—it all comes out. You say, “Good night, I’d better clean this thing up.” The Bible is like that. It opens up the doors in your life, and provides a purifying dynamic to help you clean out sin and learn to conform to God’s will.
A fourth advantage of the Bible is that it is profitable for training in righteous living. God uses it to show you how to live. Having corrected you on the negatives, He gives you positive guidelines to follow as you go through life. What is the overall purpose? In order that you might be equipped for every good work. Have you ever said, “I wish my life were more effective for Jesus Christ?” If so, what have you done to prepare yourself? Bible study is a primary means to becoming an effective servant of Jesus Christ.
Now the ball is in your court. God wants to communicate with you in the twenty-first century. He wrote His message in a Book. He asks you to come and study that Book for three compelling reasons: It’s essential to growth. It’s essential to maturity. It’s essential for equipping you, training you, so that you might be an available, clean, sharp instrument in His hands to accomplish His purposes.
So the real question confronting you now is: How can you afford not to be in God’s Word?
Category: Walk of Faith (154)