Christians, Do you really need your Bible?
If so, when do you study it? How do you study The Bible? Have you ever been taught how to study your Bible from someone who was qualified to do so? Have you ever thought about the 2000 years of Church History that came before us? Does your preacher ever discuss church history or are the sermons all about now? Is your denomination/sect/network only 10, 50 or 100 years old? Does that tradition have any doctrinal-historical connection to actual church history? Not an interpretation assumed to be historical, without proof, but actual church history. Are you sure? What exactly, do you believe and why? These questions are important for every believer, and I have often struggled with them myself.
I ask you all of that not to be pushy or condemning but to encourage you to do good. Bible study is useful, essential, life-changing work for believers. Nothing will change your life into the image of Christ more than consuming God’s written word, in faith, and living it out by the power of the Holy Spirit. The sad thing is that many churches are empty on “Bible Study” services. Some churches don’t even offer bible study times at all. Today’s church buildings are fullest on the days that people feel they will get the biggest performance from singers, dancers, dramatist and others; but what about clear, exegetical, expository, historical BIBLE STUDY. I mean Bible truth is the foundation of our faith, right?
Every Christian believer should have constant contact with the written pages of Holy Scripture. They were given to the New Testament Church by God and are mandatory for right believing.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB says “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
How else are we to know what we believe unless we study and examine the text often? I understand it’s not easy or convenient, but IT IS NECESSARY to remain in God’s will. How can you know God’s will for sure if you don’t read what was left for that purpose? We live in the most heretical, Ignostic culture since Apostle Paul’s day. Atheism, Modernism, Yoga, Ignosticism, Christian Motivational-Self-Help, Mysticism, Pantheism, and Islamism (just to name a few) are all competing for our attentions. There are many “alternative” gospels being re-taught (Old heresies being repackaged) out there right now but we, as real biblical Christians, are called to know and defend the original Biblical gospel preached by Christ himself and by the Apostles and Prophets. (The Bible)
All believers today (including me) need to understand the doctrines (teachings) and false teachings (heresies or errors) found in church history. Every lie and misrepresentation taught today in pulpits and tv has already been debated, examined and debunked, in some form, by holy men of God in the past, including The Apostles and their first-century agents.
“8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8-9
The sad thing is many of us are born into heretical-and self-contradicting sects of Christianity and do not realize it because we don’t know Christian history. That is not an accusation of your group but a warning to do your research. It’s like being an African-American today, without knowing anything about The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade or The Civil Rights era. Every Christian should have some basic understanding of Church History and Biblical Theology as well as the Historical Doctrines of God’s Church. We don’t want to fall into modern day traps that are actually old traps, old misunderstandings and old deceptions.
You can do this. Studying the bible accurately is not as hard as you may think. You are already reading thousands of words per day anyway. If you are under 40yrs old like me you read thousands of words per day just on Facebook alone. So I won’t leave you high and dry on how to go about doing this. Here are some books I recommend to get started:
“Knowing God” by J.I Packer (Theology Proper)
The Moody Handbook of Theology will give you a brief, easy-to-read summary of all the different types of theology that exist and a bibliography of further reading to get a deeper understanding of any particular theology. (i.e Systematic, Historical, Biblical, Dogmatic etc..) Knowing God is simply a classic evangelical book by one of the great scholars of the 21st century about the nature and attributes of God himself.
If you haven’t been reading your Bible much, take this opportunity to start a consistent reading plan. i.e two chapters per day or one book per week etc…If your boss gives you a manual on your first day at work and tells you that it is essential for you to know the manual’s contents and meaning if you want to keep your job and that you would be tested often on its content and your application of it, then I’m sure you would at least read it. Well, that is exactly what happened when you gave your life to Christ. The Bible is our life manual.
My encouragement is this “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;” 1 Peter 3:15
YOU CAN DO THIS!