Many of you study the Bible every day. If we’re not, we should be. But are you reaching the correct GOAL and OUTCOME for your Bible study?
The Bereans were commended for studying the scriptures of what we now call the “Old Testament” to see if what they were being told was true. And back then, it was much harder, with each book requiring a long scroll. They had no concordances, no various translations on their I-pads, no Holy Bible in one book you could carry in one hand. Most of them couldn’t afford their own scrolls, so they had to go to the synagogues to study. Their study took some time and work, compared to what we can do today. But they did it. See Acts 17:10-11.
And what was the primary TOPIC of what Paul was discussing with them? Go back and look at context. He began in Thessalonica, and then moved to Berea – but the topic was the same: that Yeshua was the Son of God and Messiah, and died and rose again in 3 days (Acts 17:1-3, 7-8). He was teaching them about Yeshua.
But WHY do we study the Word of God? Many of us frankly enjoy learning more “things” about scripture: more data, a fascinating Hebrew word picture, the meaning in the original Greek or Hebrew, some historical tie-in to what we’re reading, and so on. I do too. But here’s where I caution us as well.
WHY did I write this blog? WHY is it important? Because we could be studying for all the wrong reasons and in the end it could be for naught.
Many of you love the scripture, as I do, that prompts us to “grow in grace and knowledge…” (2 Peter 3:18). Some use the verse that says “Study to show yourselves approved unto God…” (2 Timothy 2:15). Actually the word “study” in 2 Tim 2:15 is an old English word meaning “be diligent”. The Greek in 2 Timothy 2: 15 actually has nothing to do with actual Bible Study directly.
Our modern learning system comes from Socrates, Plato and Aristotle - - the Academy, the academic system, where students are expected to just have new information funneled into their brains while one speaks and everyone else listens.
But the learning system in Yeshua’s day was far different. Disciples didn’t just learn the concepts their rabbi was teaching –oh no – they wanted to also learn more about their teacher. They wanted to be just like him. So the rabbi’s disciples watched their actions and copied their reactions to everyday situations. They learned by doing and watching a life. It wasn’t enough to pore over the scrolls by themselves. Their teachers were like a parent running alongside a young child learning to ride his bike for the first time without training wheels. They were in the thick of learning by doing and watching – not just studying documents. The goal was to create a bond between teacher and student. The goal was a deep relationship and coming to KNOW their Teacher.
As you read our God’s BOOK – are we coming to know HIM better? Are you coming to his SON, and coming to know that you know him? Paul said that was one of his major goals: “That I may KNOW HIM, and the power of HIS resurrection…” (Philippians 3:9-11). Paul wasn’t interested just in the words of the Bible, but wanted those words to help him come to know the AUTHOR of the Book much more.
Click on “CONTINUE READING” now to finish this thought-provoking blog.
I find that certain authors are more interesting than others. A strange awakening happened to me some years ago: I started realizing that the more I learned about the author, the more I understood his or her writings. I found a deeper comprehension happening. Once I came to trust the author, I also found I could believe more easily as well. (That’s also a danger with humans; as none of us are perfect yet in this life.)
The same must happen with our Bible study. Don’t just study the Bible, but use Bible study to study HIM, our Messiah, the living Word of God. Almost everything in scripture actually points to him anyway. He’s our Tree of Life. HE’s our ark in the flood, he’s our High Priest, Lamb of God, and he’s our Good Shepherd, he’s our manna – the bread from heaven, He’s our door into the sheep fold, He’s everything the tabernacle or temple pointed to… and I could go on and on.
Even when Yeshua himself talked to the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus, what did he focus on: Luke 24:25-27 – he began from Moses onwards expounding “the things about himself”. HE must be the POINT of our Bible discussions.
The point of Bible study is to come to deeply TRUST in him, love him, fall in love with him, adore him, come to deeply know him as never before and – know you are known intimately by him. That’s why when some of you have asked me some questions that really are a matter of “striving over words”, I may not show a lot of interest in that. I find so many things people spend so much time on, are time wasters.
I am helping my 4th grandson learn to swim without “swimmies” on his arm. For that to happen, he has to trust me. He has to listen to what I’m saying; watch what I do; pay attention – and then believe me, trust me.
I was watching my daughter teach him too and she is great at being the Mom while also encouraging him to “stretch” his goals, to face his fears. He has to believe she or I won’t let him drown. So there’s a balance of having our assurance and presence – and letting him experience some risk on his own. But in this scary time, my grandson is also building a trusting relationship with me, his grandfather – or else he simply won’t be swimming without swimmies any time soon. (Good news: he is trusting and almost “there”.) The more he knows ME, trusts me, loves me – the more readily he’ll let go of the death grip he has on my arm as he knows I’m there beside him, with him, and will never harm him.
What am I getting at?
The goal of Bible study goes far beyond knowing what’s in the Book. It’s about coming to know the Author of the book. Not just coming to know about Him, but to know HIM, directly and personally. Holy Scripture is Yeshua in writing. When we read it, we should be hearing his voice. Everything we read, study or hear should be helping us have a closer walk with our Beloved Savior. The light is focused on HIM. That’s why my website is called Light on the Rock. HE is the light and He is the Rock. We want HIS light to shine through us. All my focus is on him -- not me, not you, not anyone else. My mission is to help everyone love Him more today than yesterday. To know him, and help as many as possible to come to really know Him, is my singular overriding mission in life, as Paul teaches us in Philippians 3, as I mentioned earlier. Let’s read it now.
Philippians 3:8-11 --- “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST Jesus MY LORD, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ AND BE FOUND IN HIM, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; THAT I MAY KNOW HIM and the power of HIS resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
Now what I’m saying – I’m saying because I heard my Master say it to the Jewish religious leaders and teachers of his day 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. Let’s let the Author speak:
John 5:37-40 “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. [then He tells us the POINT of searching scriptures] 40 But you are not willing to COME TO ME that you may have life.”
So there it is, in plain simple language we all understand. COME TO HIM, look to HIM, as the point of your Bible study.
There’s something else. This is it: Knowledge – from the Biblical sense – should not just be knowledge for knowledge sake, but to TRANSFORM us. We should focus on the transformation, not just on the information. Information is to help in the transformation. Sure, 2 Peter 3:18 says we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge”, but of what? Finish the verse: “OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR Jesus CHRIST…” – 2 Peter 3:18.
ALL knowledge from Bible study should result in knowing Him more than ever before. It also should result in having a closer relationship with him AND with all those made in his image. That’s ultimately what the two greatest commandments are: to love God with all your being and heart and soul – and to love fellow mankind as your own self.
ALL of our Bible study should be pointing us into that goal: greater love, a closer relationship with our Maker and our fellow humans – no matter where they live, no matter their nationality or skin color, no matter what they’ve been in the past. If they are a believer, or a potential believer, we are to love them as we love one another and our Maker.
When you’re thrilled with new information, ask yourself: how is this helping me draw closer to my Maker and to my fellow humans? When I bring something new or interesting from the scriptures up to my wife, it’s not unusual for her to ask me, after a minute or two, “And how is this going to help me know and love my Savior more?”
She’s so right! That’s the point! She gets it.
Study to come to Christ. Study to know HIM better. Study to love God and mankind better.
And so remember: the REASON we do Bible study is to come to KNOW HIM (Philippians 3:9-11). It is to grow in the grace and knowledge OF OUR LORD and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
We study God’s book to come to know its AUTHOR better. So we search the scripture, for there’s life there, and HE is our Life. We study to find HIM, to come to Him, to learn about Him and to BE like Him as He comes into our lives and lives again in us – as HE transform us more and more into HIS very image (2 Cor.3:17-18).