Studying the Bible ! Even for me as a pastor, the flesh doesn’t normally wish to gravitate towards that. The very word “study” means there is going to be some work involved and conjures up images and memories of long nights, tedious memorizing and thinking through and searching out things, long bouts of reading and writing, etc. But ahh, once you “mine” a nugget it’s exciting !! I think most Christians today would rather be spoon fed when it comes to study, “let someone else do it for me, I’m way too busy and it all seems too intimidating and exhausting to do.” Isn’t that what you pastors get paid to do? On and on the excuses go.
When Paul wrote to his protege, Timothy, he exhorted him to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2Tim.2:15) but it was authored by the Lord for us as well ! How can you “approve yourself to God” in this respect? There are great tools for study today, I’ve used “Online Bible” for years. A simple to use yet powerful program to help you study the Scriptures. And there are many more good ones. Grab something like a Nave’s Topical Bible and work on better understanding a certain subject like Eternal Security, Sanctification, Angels, etc. Work your way slowly through Proverbs or obtain an Inductive Study Bible and put a little effort in to better understanding exactly what God has said in His Word. Read carefully through a book of Scripture and figure out its theme and subjects addressed and how it applies to your life. It will pay off tremendously.
Paul wanted Timothy, the Lord wants you to “rightly divide” His Word. To know what He means by what He’s said. And though we won’t know everything about the Bible, we should be striving always to learn more so we aren’t ashamed before Him or others as to what the Bible teaches. Today I was reading an article about Joel Osteen, who pastors a mega-mega church in Texas, and has written quite a few best selling books now. Its evident he needs to study the Word as he is claiming on the simple basis that if a man who has been Mormon his entire life yet says he believes Jesus is the Son of God then that man is a Christian and Mormons, says Osteen, are our brothers in Christ. I find as I study my Bible that the “devils also believe (in God)” [James 2:19]. Like Osteen, when we don’t put the time and effort in to study what God has said we can easily go off into heresy and all kinds of erroneous doctrines which will affect our thinking, then actions, then finally our destinies ! So its important to do what God’s commanded: “Study to show thyself approved”, the effort pay will pay off big time !!