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How To Succeed In The Christian Life
Lesson Nine

by R. A. Torrey

Bible Study Part 3

The Bible should be studied as the Word of God.  This involves five things:

1.]  A greater eagerness and more careful and candid study to find out just what it teaches than is given to all other books.  It is important to know the mind of man.  It is absolutely essential to know the mind of God.  The place to discover the mind of God is the Bible.  This is the book in which God reveals His mind.

2.]  A prompt and unquestioning acceptance of, and submission to its teachings when definitely ascertained.  These teachings may appear to us unreasonable or impossible, nevertheless we should accept them.  If this book is the Word of God, how foolish it is to submit its teachings to the criticism of our finite reasoning.  A little boy who discredits his wise father's statements simply because to his infant mind they appear unreasonable, is not a philosopher, but a fool.  But the greatest of human thinkers is only an infant compared with the infinite God.  And to discredit God's statements found in His Word because they appear unreasonable to our infantile minds is not to act the part of the philosopher, but the part of a fool.  When we are once satisfied that the Bible is the Word of God, its clear teachings must be for us the end of all controversy and discussion.

3.]  Absolute reliance upon all its promises in all their length and breadth and depth and height.  The one who studies the Bible as the Word of God will say of any promise, not matter how vast and beyond belief it appears, "God who cannot lie has promised this, so I will claim it for myself."  Mark the promise you thus claim.  Look each day for some new promise from your infinite Father.  He has put "His riches in glory" at your disposal [Phil. 4:19].  I know of no better way to grow rich spiritually than to search daily for promises; and when you find them appropriate them to yourself.

4.]  Obedience.  Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only deceiving your own soul [James 1:22].  Nothing goes farther to help one understand the Bible than the purpose to obey it.  Jesus said,

"If any man wills to do His will, he shall know of the teaching" John 7:17, R.V.].

The surrendered will means the clear eye.  If our eye is single [that is, our will is absolutely surrendered to God] our whole body shall be full of light.  But if our eye be evil [that is, if we are trying to serve two masters and are not absolutely surrendered to one Master, God] our whole body will be full of darkness [Matt. 6:22-24].  Many a passage that looks obscure to you now would become as clear as day if you were willing to obey in all things what the Bible teaches.  Each commandment discovered in the BIble that is really intended as a commandment to us should be obeyed instantly.  It is remarkable how soon one loses his relish for the Bible and how soon the mind becomes obscured to its teachings when we disobey the Bible at any point.  

Many a time I have known persons who have loved their BIbles and have been useful in God's service and clear in their views of the truth who have come to something in the Bible that they were unwilling to obey, some sacrifice was demanded that they were unwilling to make and their love for the BIble has rapidly waned, and their faith in the Bible began to weaken, and soon they were drifting farther and farther away from clear views of the truth.  Nothing clears the mind like obedience; nothing darkens the mind like disobedience.  To obey a truth you see prepares you to see other truths.  To disobey a truth you see darkens your mind to all truths.

Cultivate prompt, exact, unquestioning, joyous obedience to every command that is evident from its context applies to you.  Be on the lookout for new orders from your King.  Blessing lies in the direction of obedience to them.  God's commands are but sign-boards that mark the road to present success and blessedness and to eternal glory.

5.]  Studying the Bible as the Word of God involves studying it as His own voice speaking to directly to you.  When you open the Bible to study realize that you have come into the very presence of God and that now He is going to speak to you.  Realize that it is God who is talking to you as much as if you saw Him standing there.  Say to yourself, "God is now going to speak to me."

Nothing goes farther to give a freshness and gladness to Bible study than the realization that as you read God is actually talking to you.  In this way Bible study becomes personal companionship with God Himself.  That was a wonderful privilege that Mary had one day, of sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His voice, but if we will study the Bible as the Word of God and as if we were in God's very presence, then we shall enjoy the privilege of sitting at the feet of God and having Him talk to us every day.  How often what would otherwise be a mere mechanical performance of a duty would become a wonderfully joyous privilege if one would say as he opens the Bible, "Now God, my Father, is going to speak to me.  Oftentimes it helps us to a realization of the presence of God to read the Bible on our knees.  The Bible became in some measure a new book to me when I took to reading it on my knees.

7.  Study the Bible prayerfully.  God, who is the author of the Bible, is willing to act as interpreter of it.  He does so when you ask Him to.  The one who prays with earnestness and faith the Psalmist's prayer,

"Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things out of Your law [Ps. 119:18]

will get his eyes opened to see new beauties and wonders in the Word of God that he never dreamed of before.  Be very definite about this.  Each time you open the Bible to study it, even though it is but for a few minutes, ask God to give you an open and discerning eye, and expect Him to do it.  Every time you come to a difficulty in the Bible, lay it before God and ask an explanation and expect it.  How often we think as we puzzle over hard passages, "Oh, if I only had some great BIble teacher here to explain that to me!"  God is always present.  He understands the Bible better than any human teacher.  Take your difficulties to Him and ask Him to explain it.  Jesus said,

"When He the Spirit of Truth is come, He shall guide you into all truth" [John 16:13, R.V.].

It is the privilege of the humblest believer in Christ to have the Holy Spirit for his Guide in his study of the Word.  I have known many very humble people, people with almost no education, who got more out of their Bible study than most of the great theological teachers that I have known; simply because they had learned that it was their privilege to have the Holy Spirit for their teacher as they studied the Bible.  Commentaries on the Bible are oftentimes of great value, but one will learn more of real value from the Bible by having the Holy Spirit for his teacher when he studies his Bible than he will from all the commentaries that were ever published.

8.  Improve spare moments for Bible study.  In almost every man's life many minutes each day are lost, while waiting for meals, riding on buses, going from place to place, and so forth.  Carry a pocket Bible or Testament [or have on on your phone] with you and save these golden moments by putting them to the very best use, listening to the voice of God.

9.  Store away the Scripture in your mind and heart.  It will keep you from sin [Ps. 119:11]; from false doctrine [Acts 20: 29-32; 2 Tim. 3:13-15].  It will fill your heart with joy [Jer. 15:16]; and peace [Ps. 85:8].  It will give you victory over the evil one [1 John 2:14]; it will give you power in prayer [John 15:7]; it will make you wiser than the aged and your enemies [Ps. 119:98, 100, 130]; it will make you "complete, furnished completely unto every good work" [2 Tim. 3:16-17, R.V.].  Try it.  Do not memorize at random but memorize Scripture in a connected way;  memorize texts bearing on various subjects in proper order; memorize by chapter and verse that you may know where to put your finger on the text if any one disputes it.  You should have a good BIble for your study - a translation not a paraphrase.  A paraphrase can be good for reading, but study needs an actually translation.

Feed Yourself Assignments

These assignments assume the student has completed the Feed Yourself course.

1. 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
2.  Look up in your Bible each Scripture reference mentioned in this lesson - even the ones that are quoted.
3.  If you have not taken our Feed Yourself Course - 20 Lessons on how to study the Bible for yourself - consider taking it now.  Click here.


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