In American Christianity, there is no doubt a lack of knowledge when it comes to knowing the Scriptures. I don’t know the statistics about how many American Evangelicals read their Bibles on a daily basis, but from my short experience in college ministry, I can only guess the numbers are low. Some may say that college students aren’t a good sample to examine, but I would argue that in college, one has more free-time available than any other time in life. If a person won’t take intentional time to be with the Lord on a daily basis when there is much free-time, what would change when a person works full-time, is married, has kids, and other responsibilities?
With that said, I want to begin this short series of posts with the question, “Why do we study the Bible.” I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’ll discuss what a time with the Lord looks like, but we’ll do that in a couple of days. Today, the question I just asked needs to be answered. We won’t know how to read, what to read, or what to do when we sit down to spend time with Jesus if we don’t even know why we study the Bible.
Let me first say that I ask this question because studying the Scriptures is essential to how we know God. Second Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” And Psalm 12:6 says, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” Prayer, singing, fellowship, evangelism, fasting, and other spiritual disciplines are all good and essential, but they are void of power and effectiveness without the word of God. We study the Bible because, after all, Jesus is described as the Word itself in John 1. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14)
So, why do we study the Bible? If God’s word is true, lovely, and righteous, then we should read it everyday. If God is truly who he says he is, then we should take heed and read his word. We should make it our lifeblood. We should make it a priority to spend time with him by reading it. In Christianity today, we talk so much, we utter senseless prayers so often, and we seek so much advice from “experts.” Perhaps, if we were connected to Christ at the root — his holy word — then perhaps we would be more devoted to him and we would kill more sin and we would have so much more joy in evangelism, discipleship, and missions.
Jesus said eternal life is knowing God and knowing himself (Jn. 17:3). Jesus is the word (Jn. 1:14). Knowing the word means that we know more of Jesus and will experience the abundant life that he came to give.