The bible can be quite intimidating to many believers, both new and seasoned. Its sheer size is enough to put anyone off, its age-old stories and sometimes cultural-specific instructions can lead us to question its relevance and applicability to our modern lives. But the Bible is more than stories and more than a list of do’s and don’ts, it is a glimpse into the mind and heart of God. By studying the scriptures, we start to understand how God desires us to live in relation to Him, to others, and even to ourselves.
When we read the Bible, we hear what God has to say. One of the many ways that God speaks to us as individuals is through His Word, how then will we hear Him personally if we don’t know what He says? With the rise of mega-churches and celebrity pastors and cults and false teachings and everything in between, it’s very easy to be fooled into believing the wrong thing, or believing the twisted version of the truth. And when we are satisfied by what we hear on Sunday mornings from our pastors or from the books they write, then we are allowing others to become the only source of our knowledge of God. But when we study the Bible for ourselves, then we discover the truth for ourselves and we are able to question or confirm what we hear from others. “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 for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
The word of God is spiritual food that brings about spiritual growth and maturity. We cannot grow without the word of God. And just like we eat food on a regular basis for our physical survival, we should also feed on God’s word on a regular basis for our spiritual survival. In the times we’re living in today, there’s so much junk we voluntarily and involuntarily feed on – from entertainment to social media to mainstream media – that puts our spiritual health at risk. There are so many clever lies that convincingly pass for truth. If we don’t deliberately feed on the word of God, we are sure to become malnourished.
One of the best way to understand the Bible better and make it relevant to our individual lives, and even make it ‘more interesting’, is to use a bible study guide. A guide breaks down the Scripture into more manageable ‘pieces’ that we can easily digest.
Reading the word of God cleanses us from the inside out. Coupled with meditation, it challenges our deep-set attitudes and exposes hypocritical mindsets. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).” When we familiarize ourselves with Scripture, we gradually change the way we think and the way we act and the way we speak. We read and hear so many things from so many sources and we can easily be clogged up with information. Regularly reading of Scriptures sieves out the garbage and brings the truth into light.
Even if we go to church every Sunday, pray every day and do ministry, without studying the Bible intentionally and intimately, there’s a good chance of becoming stagnant. Understanding scripture, not just reading for the sake of it, is what takes us from being disciples to apostles, from students to teachers, from complaining to contentment, from hope to hope. “Like newborn infants, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (1 Peter 2:2).”