The Purpose of Bible Study

One question that is the same from new believers as it is from those who have been Christians for a while is, “how do I study the Bible?”  There are countless numbers of books that have been written on this subject.  Some methods of study include reading one book at a time, others are a topical method (where you pick a topic such as love and read all the references to love), there is the word study method (this is where you pick out a key word of a verse and then to fully understand what it means you find all the other places in Scripture that that word is mentioned), and of course the ever popular “let me just open my Bible and see where I open it to and I will read and study from there” method.

However, the correct Bible study method doesn’t revolve around a methodology, but rather proper Bible study is the result of asking the right question.  Many people study the Bible because they want to become a better Christian or they want to be a better teacher or preacher.  Those reasons by themselves are not necessarily wrong, but they flow from the question, “what does this Bible story or passage teach me?”  Again please understand that we should all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18).  But is that to be the sole reason for our Bible study?  I believe the answer to that question is a resounding “no.”  If were to look at Colossians 1:12-29 I believe we see an entirely different purpose for study.  At the outset let me say this text is not the primary teaching text for why we should study the Word of God, but I do believe it holds something valuable for us.  Notice the end of Colossians 1:16 where it says, “All things were created by Him, and for Him.”  Did you catch that, we were created by God and for God.  If we were to read the entire context of Colossians 1:12-29, Paul is revealing many truths about who is God, specifically Paul reveals things about Jesus Christ.  If we are going to learn the most and enjoy reading God’s Word while getting the most out of it we must ask ourselves the question, “what does this story or passage teach me about God?”  Do you see the difference between the question we ask many times and the question that we should really be asking?  When ask “what can I….”  That question places the focus on us.  However, God wasn’t created by us or for us.  Rather by asking what we learn about God in this passage, we make God the focus.  It is when we ask this question and approach our Bible study from this perspective that we really learn the Bible and grow spiritually.  The entire Bible is about God, and if we are going to grow spiritually, then we must know who we are to grow more like.  Remember we are made in the image of God (Gen. 1:16), we are His workmanship (Eph. 2:10).  At the time of Passover, Jesus was in the Temple and His disciples were with Him.  The time of His crucifixion was fast approaching.  There were these Gentiles that came looking for Jesus.  When Philip met them and asked them what they wanted, they had one simple desire, “Sir, we would see Jesus.”  Dear pastor, Sunday school teacher, Bible study leader, and all Christians, let’s make that our aim as we study, preach, or teach the Word of God, to simply know Him more as He has chosen to reveal Himself to us through His Word.  Knowing God, what He is like, what He expects, how He deals with sinners and the sinners saved by grace is a pursuit that will last a lifetime, but when we get to the end of our life, we will know what lies ahead of us because we will know the One who created the heavens and the earth.

By His grace and through His strength, may we live for Him!

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