Value of Bible Study
Value of Bible Study
I Peter 1:23-2:3
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's minister once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak.
"A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story.
He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life....to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw the line to his son's friend.
By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man's mouth.
"The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us."
With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side.
"That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."
"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it?
But I'm standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see....I was his son's friend."
God expects His people to study His Word.
Babies in third world countries that are starving actually begin to lose their appetites due to malnourishment. A lack of appetite indicates a serious illness. A lot of times when relief workers will go over to these places and bring food to those that are starving and malnourished they have to force the people because they have lost their appetites.
There are many Christians that are seriously spiritually malnourished, and they have lost their appetites for the Word of God. The Bible is our source of spiritual nourishment.
We cannot expect to grow and stay strong in our faith apart from a regular diet of the Word of God. We as a church obviously cannot force-feed you, but we want to inspire a desire within you to desire and crave the word of God.
The Word of God was written for a purpose, and it wasn’t just because God thought it would be a neat thing to do, he wrote it so His people could know him better and know what He expects.
Text: I Peter 1:23-2:3
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
2 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
I. Study God’s Word Together
We have Sunday Morning Bible studies aimed at trying to equip us with the knowledge and the tools necessary to stand strong in our faith.
While it is important that you study God’s Word on your own, and you can understand many aspects of God’s Word on your own, there is something special when a group of people meet together for the study of God’s Word. I would like to encourage each member of Chardon to try their best to be a part of our Bible Study. I believe you will find that you are blessed because of it and you will also be a blessing to others.
There are several reasons that I feel that it is important to study God’s Word together...
A. Teachers Can Often Reveal New Information. As you read through the Bible some concepts you can catch and understand on your own, the Bible wasn’t intended to be incredibly complex and hard to understand.
But sometimes you may need the help and understanding of someone who might have a deeper understanding of the scriptures.
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
There are some people that God has gifted with the ability to get great insight out of a passage.
Also, though you may have read a passage or story countless times we can always learn and grow from people.
The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 has been in Jerusalem worshipping, and he probably had heard some things about Jesus, and he was reading from Isaiah 53 about the suffering servant. He could not understand that particular Scripture on his own, he needed some help.
Phillip explained to him that the passage was talking about Jesus. There are times we can learn simple truth all over again or something that is taught may give us new insight into a particular passage.
The basic stuff is important and can nourish us spiritually; it doesn’t have to be a deep and new teaching for us to grow from it. Sometimes we simply need to be reminded of great Bible truths that we may be familiar with.
Some people feel that they have no need for the basic stuff, or they feel once they have read the Bible some they have read it enough.
Imagine if one day you came home and you had been working all day long, and you were starving. You asked what was for dinner, and you heard you were having the same meal you had 2 weeks ago. It is highly unlikely you would refuse that meal because you had it before. You still enjoy the basic foods that you eat. How many times have you eaten pancakes, steak, bacon & eggs?
B. Others Can Benefit From Our experiences
Maybe you are a new Christian and think that you cannot bring much to a study,
but your questions and insight helps others to see God’s word more clearly and drives people to study.
I have learned that every person has some great insight,
every person has a different background, and different experiences that they can bring to the table.
When we meet and study, a class is better when we all share our insight. Your insight may not seem like much to you, but what you say and share can greatly benefit and encourage others who are present.
We all are at different points in our lives; we are at different points in our Christian walks.
Some people have not been Christians long; some have been for a long while.
We have different experiences which makes us who we are.
We have all been through different trials and different roads.
Our experiences pooled together in a study can help a whole group grow and learn something they otherwise wouldn’t have learned.
I want to encourage you if you don’t regularly attend a group study here at Chardon, please consider doing so because others of us can grow, benefit, and be blessed by your insight and experiences even if it may not seem like much to you.
C. It Makes You Accountable For...
i. Having Godly Attitude
Hopefully all of us want to be the best people that we can possibly be. Hopefully we all want to please God in everything that we do. When we examine ourselves we see clearly that we fall short. We always need to be in the process of checking ourselves, and we should value the times when it is revealed to us that we are doing something wrong.
When we meet together and Study God’s Word in community sometimes our shortcomings are revealed to us. God’s Word reveals things about our attitudes that may need to change. The Spirit works through the Word and other people sometimes to help us see right from wrong.
Do you remember how David benefited from the accountability he received from other people? David’s sin with Bathsheba was not pleasing to God. The prophet Nathan came to David and confronted him about his ungodly action and that confrontation lead to repentance. It was hard for David to accept the fact that he had messed up, but in the end it leads him to a closer relationship with God.
We do not like learning that we are wrong about something. We may even get angry or frustrated, but in the end when we learn our faults it can lead to positive changes. Studying God’s Word together holds us accountable for having a godly attitude.
Your attendance at church is important because it is an opportunity to worship God, it is also important because it is an opportunity for you to learn from the Word of God. Sometimes being at church and coming to Bible studies is inconvenient and difficult. It may be tough for you because you have a busy schedule, because you have a lot going on, but I think studying God’s Word together with a group of people is a blessing to our faith.
I believe God expects His people to study His Word.
Coming to Bible study is not a burden that we have, but it is an opportunity.
The early Christians were always eager to meet together and study together. Studying God’s Word together holds us accountable to being faithful in attendance and faithful in our daily Bible study times.
iii. Sound Doctrine
Studying God’s Word can also help us to be held accountable for our doctrine. Despite what many say, it really does matter what we believe, and there are many false teachers who would like to deceive you.
2 Peter 2: 1-3
2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
There is a reason Paul told Timothy to watch his life and doctrine closely. Perhaps you could be listening to a preacher and hear them say something of how Proverbs says that if you are generous you will surely prosper.
You may fall into believing that, but if you are part of a group that studies God’s Word someone may remind you that it may be talking about spiritual prosperity.
If you have a group of people ... most likely there are people that understand different concepts and have retained different knowledge.
When you pool knowledge together it may be easier for each of us to learn and understand what God wants us to know about him and our salvation.
Ultimately what it comes down to is the Word of God is our measure of right and wrong and our measure of what Truth is.
If we do not search the Scriptures regularly and together we are subject to fall into a false teaching.
11 These were more [a]fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
Being part of a group study holds us accountable to what we believe.
D. Develops Strong Relationships
You read in the book of Acts about groups of people who were incredibly close and had deep strong relationships. There is a reason for that...
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
We can do things together all day long, but studying God’s Word builds strong relationships faster than anything you can do. Another reason why you should study together is because of the bonds and the relationships that are formed through those studies.
I have seen in small group studies how barriers can be broken, and relationships can be formed as people study God’s Word together.
II. Study God’s Word Privately
If you attend one hour of worship a week, I think you can grow and learn some Bible, but I think that you are missing out on something great. We cannot get enough spiritual nourishment by hearing one sermon a week.
A USA Today Poll reported that 11% of American read the Bible every day. The Barna research group reports that among those claiming to be Christians only 18% read the Bible every day and 23% admit that they never read the Bible.
1 Timothy 4:7-8
7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
As we mature in Christ our appetites may change, we start to desire solid food instead of milk. That is what it means to grow in our faith. We need realize there is more to our faith than just being saved; there is a lifestyle that glorifies God and brings joy to us.
Bible Study never grows old and no matter how long we have been Christians... God’s Word is still relevant because God’s Word discusses many things we need.
It discusses building relationships, preparing for the second coming, handling our finances, how we are to live and how we can know God.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
People after hurricanes read and reread their insurance policies to see if they are covered and to see what help they can get. They want to know if their homes were covered if the things inside their homes were covered, if their hotel stays were covered. They do that to make sure that they do not fail to claim something that the insurance would pay, they don’t want to miss out on something
How much more vital is the word of God though? It is through the Word of God that we see and can claim promises that God offers us, it is in the Word of God that we read what God expects of us, yet so many people are living their lives based on how they feel God is and will be at judgment.
Sadly, many of those thoughts are based on preconceived ideas rather than the Truth of the Word of God.
Perhaps occasionally we need to ask ourselves some painful questions like: if your growth in Christ were measured by your amount of Bible intake where would you stand?
If you come to the conclusion that you have neglected the Word of God, then you need to determine what you are going to do to fix the problem? I think it begins by making intentional steps to read the Word.
I can make this promise to you...
if you read God’s Word regularly for an extended period of time with an open mind and heart it will change your life for the better.
Always remember though, that there is no one that is above the need to be in the Word of God.
God invited us to come and know Him better, and he has revealed himself in his Word, let us make the most of that opportunity so that we do not miss out on something that he has to offer. That is why God expects members of His Church to read the Word.
6 Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
Where and when we meet
Chardon, Ohio 44024