Why Bible Study Is Necessary for Spiritual Growth
Paul scolded the Corinthian Christians for their unspiritual attitudes and conduct (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). He explained that their problems were caused partly by some of them having too little knowledge of God's ways. He wrote: "Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame" (1 Corinthians 15:34).
We cannot properly honor and serve God or His Son, Jesus Christ, unless we have knowledge of His will (Romans 12:2; Colossians 4:12; Hebrews 10:36). We acquire that knowledge through regular, diligent Bible study. Paul says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15, New American Standard Bible).
He explained to Timothy, "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
What makes the Scriptures so necessary to our salvation? Paul continues: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (verses 16-17).
We learn God's ways by carefully reading and reflecting on the meaning of His instructions. Consider the attitude toward God's Word and His law expressed in Psalm 119:97-104:
"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.
"I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path" (NIV).
Notice this criticism of some who had not taken the time to accurately discern God's will from diligent study of His Word:
"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14, NIV).
Paul sums up the importance he placed on our growing spiritually through regular and meaningful personal Bible study: "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9, NIV).
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