What is Bible Study?

Life presents us with many issues, and ways to respond to those issues. How we respond will often depend on our understanding of the issue at hand. For the Christian, serious Bible study will serve to provide the foundation for dealing which the serious issues of life. Without it, we will find ourselves doing as those “who did that which was right in their own eyes.” (Judg 17:6; 18:1) Let us ask, then, the question “What is Bible study?” We ask this question with two emphases.

First, “What is BIBLE study?” Paul wrote to Timothy “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” Bible study therefore is the study of God’s word, composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments.

Asking the same question again, we change the emphasis and ask “What is Bible STUDY?” The word ‘study’ is used in a number of ways, two of which are important for our consideration.

On one hand it describes the detailed examination of a subject with the intent to learn. When Paul preached to the Bereans, it is stated that they searched the scriptures daily to see if what he said was true. (Act 17:11) Such examination can involve analysis of the text and comparison of it with like texts. The two disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus learned much when he expounded from the scriptures all the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27) Bible study thus serves to enlighten us in our pursuit of God.

Consider also that ‘study’ can refer to meditation on the scriptures. The intent is to ponder and contemplate the meaning of the text so as to understand and commit it to heart. The Psalmist wrote “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) The Lord instructed Joshua “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it…” (Jos 1:8) If we understand what Bible study is, we will grasp the time and attention that it deserves in our lives. It is more than an optional pastime in which we engage, but a vital facet of our lives as children of God.

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