“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 NASB
The foundation of a building determines its fate. In the same way, the method and approach to Bible study determine the quality of one’s understanding.
Some Christians grew up with the motto “a proverb a day keeps the fool in me away” as their approach to bible study. This is true. As it applies to the Bible, daily reading or studying keeps foolishness at bay.
Studying the Bible leads us to a deeper understanding of our blessings in Christ. It also saves us from teaching or endorsing false doctrines because we will grow in discernment.
A common phrase in Christian circles is “As the Bible says, money is the root of all evil”. This teaching has prevented many believers from pursuing success as they do not want ‘to be evil’. Yet, a good Bible student knows the verse found in 1 Timothy 6:10 says it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. A better student notices, from the surrounding text, that the things people do while using godliness as a get-rich-quick scheme defines “all evil”.
So, what then does diligent Bible study look like? Many people portray diligence as consistency. Yet, it is possible to consistently do the wrong thing. Diligent Bible study is not only consistent, it is also being careful, patient, and seeking to understand and discover the meaning of a text.
A good place to start in understanding the word is to see that the Bible has Christ at its centre. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that the person and work of Jesus Christ reveal the wholeness of God’s communication. This means that if our Bible study does not point us to Christ in any way, we may be doing it wrong.
Another thing to note is that the New Testament (NT) reveals the Old Testament (OT). That is to say that many things in the Old Testament are only pointers to what the New Testament conveys. For example, Hebrews 10 explains that the sacrificing of animals for atonement of sin was a pointer to Jesus Christ shedding His blood as atonement for our sin. We understand the OT better when we read in the light of the NT.
Finally, get yourself a good teacher of the word. Ephesians 4:11 emphasizes that God has given ministry gifts in apostles, teachers, evangelists, prophets and pastors to teach the word and build up believers until we reach unity of faith. When it comes to understanding the word, a good Bible teacher is not the icing on the cake but is the flour that makes the cake.
Dearest believer, examine your approach to Bible study today. Take steps to right what is wrong and see growth in understanding.
Bible Reading Plan:
Mark 2:13-17, I Corinthians 5, Psalm 77, Joshua 13-14