by Robert M. West
To study the Bible purposefully means that we should be clear in our minds why we are spending part of our day studying. We’d know why we were studying if we were to give a devotional message or share our thoughts about a biblical topic with a group. But why should we be consistent in our everyday study habits? What is it that motivates us to study like the Berean Christians in Acts 17:11, who “searched the Scriptures daily”? Here are the Top Ten Reasons for Personal Bible Study:
- To settle the issue of our own salvation
As we think about our conversion, we may be able to identify Bible verses that God used in our lives to save us. Many Christians experience doubts about their own conversion, and through learning those portions of scripture that address this subject, we can have a deepening confidence about our own salvation.
- To grow spiritually
New Christians are sometimes described as babes in Christ, and of course, all babies need to grow. Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). This is a picture representing intense hunger for God’s Word. Just as our bodies need food to survive, our souls need the spiritual food of the Bible.
- To receive personal blessing and encouragement
We can learn about His power to transform our lives by the power of His Word. Reading about how He pardoned and delivered others—and then us—gives us hope. The God of patience and comfort wants us to be encouraged. Since the Bible was written for our education, the more we learn, the more we can be encouraged.
- To receive personal guidance
When faced with many of life’s decisions, we often wonder, What should I do now? Learning the Bible can be helpful in answering this question. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The psalmist pictured the effect of learning God’s Word as having a lamp for life that lights the way before us so we can see where we’re going.
- To defend ourselves against the devil
In Ephesians 6, Paul instructs believers, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11). The Christian’s defense against this assault is putting on the spiritual armor of God. A vital part of this armor is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (verse 17).
- To effectively teach God’s truth to the next generation
Deuteronomy 6:6–7 says, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up”. Parents teaching their children is God’s pattern for the Christian home and studying the Bible ourselves helps us in this important task.
- To be able to counsel others
God wants to use us to provide knowledge about what He has said in His Word to others. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another” (Colossians 3:16). In time, God wants to use you to help others who may be newer to the faith.
- To be ready to speak with unbelievers about Christ
The concern of Christians shouldn’t be winning arguments but winning people. We should be able to answer questions when we’re asked and to give an explanation about our faith. The more we learn through studying, the more effective we’ll become in sharing God’s truth with others.
- To verify that the teaching of others is the truth of God
It’s a mistake for us to accept the message of Christian teachers just because they’re humorous, dynamic, on television or radio, or have written books. The content of their message must be true, and it’s good for us to validate it from our own study. Bible teachers should never be offended that people do this; they should encourage it.
- To present ourselves approved to God
Like divers who work to locate pearls in the ocean, Christians are workers who study the Bible to discover God’s truth. We live our lives before God, and as servants we’re to regularly present our lives to Him to be examined. We hope to have a sense of His approval, which comes from diligently studying God’s Word so we can accurately share it with others.
Taken from How to Study the Bible by Robert M. West with permission of Barbour Publishing.
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