Why is knowing the Bible important? Why should we invest time in studying the Word of God? Are we not simply “led by the Spirit?” Doesn't God speak directly to us to let us know what to do?
The Bible is the Word of God to us. It is the only objective standard we have to live by. Being “led by the Spirit” is important. There are times when we are guided by the "still small voice" within, times when we simply feel God wants to go somewhere or do something. However, in many ways, being "led by the Spirit" is subjective. It is easy to get our own thoughts and desires mixed in and end up on a wrong track or even with a destroyed life. Ironically, those who know the Word of God best are often able to hear the "still small voice" the clearest and discover the will of God with confidence. That is because everything we say, do or even think must be tested by the objective Word of God taken in context.
Bible reading and memorization are important, but they do not replace knowing the Bible. Bible study is the analyzing and comparing of Scripture with Scripture. It is examining the context. It is discovering and applying what God teaches on any given subject. One Bible scholar has said, “The more I study one verse, the more I discover that I need the whole Bible to explain it.” The Bible is one unit and it all fits together [we discover this in the Covenants study].
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 2 Tim. 2:15, NIV
As we work on knowing the Bible we “input” knowledge that the Holy Spirit can then take and turn into wisdom. The Holy Spirit takes what we have, not what we don’t have, and uses it. The more our knowledge of Scripture and how it works together, the more material the Holy Spirit has to use and the more He can use our lives. This does not mean we have to study the Bible to earn degrees from man's organizations. Some men and women who failed in formal Bible School have been mightily used by God. But they still had a love and a desire for knowing the Bible that could not be quenched by academic failure.
Knowing the Bible exposes areas in our lives in which we have been living Satan’s lies. We are all born into the world and have been trained in Satan’s way of doing things. When we come to Christ we accept His Lordship. However, in many things we have become so used of doing things Satan’s way that we don’t even realize that they are wrong. It is as we work on knowing the Bible that Satan’s lies in our lives are revealed and we can then abandoned them for the Truth. We all have blind spots. The conflict comes in when we see God’s Truth, but prefer the way we have been trained. Then what are we going to do? Obey God or continue on the way we always done it before?
God wants us to work on knowing the Bible to reveal how serious we are. He does not give His pearls to swine. It is the honour of kings to search out a matter. God gives us that honour. He wants us to show our seriousness by putting effort into knowing the Bible to understand Who He is and what He wants done on this planet. The way of salvation is simple so that anyone can understand it, but to have the riches of God takes work. We have to compare Scripture with Scripture. We have to look at the Big Picture as well as the details. We have to put effort and sweat into it! As God sees us working at understanding His ways, He blesses us with revelation. In other words, when we put in the sweat God opens our eyes to many glorious Truths.
We must also remember that Satan and his workers can quote Scripture, too. We see this at the temptation of Christ in Luke 4. Because Jesus had studied Scripture, He knew the context and the issues involved and could answer with Scripture. As we work on knowing the Bible we will be able to recognize when it is abused or misused. We will not be deceived by every wind of doctrine or sensational theories. Our roots will be firmly planted by the River of Life and we will grow into a healthy and fruitful tree in the orchard of God.
"Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night.
You're a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom."
Ps. 1:2-3, The Message