10 Things You Should Know about Studying the Bible

We study the Bible because it is God’s word to the world. We want to hear him.

You may read Ephesians 1:1-14 in thirty seconds, but you can study it for years. You may come to the end of reading the gospel of John in two hours. But you can never come to the end of searching its depths. This means we can expect a lifetime of happily moving deeper and deeper into God’s word. We give ourselves to study—that’s diligence. But we must also pray for God to open our minds to understand—that’s dependence.

 

This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series.

1. Studying the Bible matters because God matters.

We study the Bible because it is God’s word to the world. We want to hear him. We want to slow down and carefully, thoughtfully, and reverently hear what he has to say to us.

How valuable are these words? “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). Two of the greatest pleasures our world pursues—money and food—and the Bible satisfies us more than both.

The apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). Just as you “breathe out” every word of yours, God “breathes out” every word in the Bible. It alone is inspired in this sense. We cannot say this about any other book on any other shelf anywhere in the world—only the Bible.

2. Studying the Bible is different than reading the Bible.

When we read the Bible, we move through a text at a natural reading pace. But when we study the Bible, we slow down and we think things through. We ask questions and we search out meaning. We consider implications.

You may read Ephesians 1:1-14 in thirty seconds, but you can study it for years. You may come to the end of reading the gospel of John in two hours. But you can never come to the end of searching its depths.

This means we can expect a lifetime of happily moving deeper and deeper into God’s word.

3. Studying the Bible requires diligence and dependence.

We give ourselves to study—that’s diligence. But we must also pray for God to open our minds to understand—that’s dependence.

Paul said to Timothy, “think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Tim. 2:7). We do the thinking, God gives the understanding.

When the evangelist George Whitefield became a Christian, he started to read the Scriptures with intense, daily devotion. Notice his humble posture: “I began to read the Holy Scriptures upon my knees, laying aside all other books and praying over, if possible, every line and word. . . I daily received fresh life, light and power from above.”1

Whether we choose to kneel when we study or not, that should be the posture of our hearts.

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Content adapted from Isaiah by  Drew Hunter. The article  appeared on Crossway.org; used with permission.