The Importance of Bible Study
By Andrew Burns
It seems in recent years that for many people Sunday morning Bible class has become unnecessary and a waste of time. They would rather sleep in or simply have a slow morning until worship time or they simply do not see the need. However, when carefully planned and well orchestrated a congregation’s Bible study time can encourage its church family and cause meaningful connections between members.
The very concept of Bible study, whether collectively with the church or a personal study, is to encourage and strengthen a deep relationship with God. Paul told the Thessalonian Christians they needed to remain firm in both what saved their souls and what causes belief in Jesus as the Christ (2 Thess. 2.13; Psa 119.66). God works through our faith in Christ as we continue to study and strengthen our belief in Christ (1 Thess. 2:13).
In addition, Bible study aids our ability to be sure of what we know about Christ and our faith. Peter stated that we should continue to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3.18). This knowledge is coupled by Peter with God’s grace. In other words, our continued growth in God’s Word encourages and strengthens our awareness of God’s grace for our lives. We are strengthened in our knowledge of what truly saves us, God’s grace, as we continue to study our Bibles (Eph. 2:8).
In our present culture of quick commercials, instant cell phones and movies that feed our wants and lusts, Bible study often times becomes a contradiction of that culture. We are called to sit down and think through God’s Word as it relates to what we already know, what we can learn and how we must improve to walk closer to Jesus. We must then practice self-control, humility and a desire to walk with Jesus. Bible study enables us to continually improve our belief in Jesus.
Paul told the Corinthians that our natural progression from believing and understanding our relationship with God is to be holy in our thoughts and actions (2 Cor. 7:1). His words specifically are to purify and perfect. The term purify is to cleanse and the term perfect is to continually keep the object complete. Continual Bible study facilitates our ability to purify our hearts in order to perfect our walk with God.
This process directly affects our behavior before God, before His people and before this world. The Psalmist writes that a young man can keep his behavior pure continually by “living according to God’s Words” and “hiding God’s Word in his heart” (Psalm 119:9,11). In taking time to study God’s Word we find that our behavior before God and toward our fellow man is purified and affected by that study. This study continues to affect our behavior and our mentality to God’s glory.
Finally, community Bible study can greatly encourage church bonds among its members. These bonds are found in four possible areas: 1) our shared confidence, 2) our deep connection, 3) our genuine commitment and 4) needed communication. First, in our collective study together as God’s family, our confidence as a family of God and shared faith together is surely amplified. And each time God’s family studies together that shared faith increases exponentially (Heb. 4:16; Rom. 8:15,16; Eph. 3:12). Second, our actual connections to each other as Christians has greater intensity as we habitually study God’s Word together. Through this shared study we are reminded of our shared precious faith (2 Peter 1.1). This reminder highlights our connection with God as His people and our connection to Him together.
Third, our commitment to God and each other is enhanced by our time in Bible study. Together we settle our commitment to God and His truth through our collective study (1 John 3:18,19). Fourth, our faith communication with each other is advanced by our time in Bible study together. God calls us to encourage each other toward love and good works each time fellowship (Heb. 10:24,25). Bible study then aids and strengthens our ability to obey God by being together, encouraged by Truth and verbally helping the advancement of outreach.
Are you involved in collective Bible study with the church? If not, why not? For all the reasons set out above, you are encouraged to involve yourself with Bible study and settle your beliefs, strengthen Godly behavior and encourage the bonding in Christ with God’s family.