Theme: Living in the Book: Daily and Systematic Bible Study
This week’s lessons stress the necessity of obedience if one is truly a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Luke 6:46-49
Everything I have been saying so far leads to a practical conclusion, and it is this. If discipleship involves obedience to Jesus Christ, as it certainly does, and if Jesus exercises His Lordship over us so that we can obey Him through the Bible, as we have seen to be the case, then there can be no real discipleship apart from Bible study. The study of the Bible is no option for Christians. It cannot even be a minor, occasional, or “vacation time” pursuit. It must be the most essential ingredient in the believer’s spiritual life. This is because it is only in the study of the Word of God as that is blessed by the Holy Spirit that the Christian hears the word of Christ and discovers what it means to follow Jesus. If you have been called by Christ and therefore sincerely want to hear His voice as He speaks to you through the Bible, you should do the following:
1. Study the Bible daily (Acts 17:11). We can study the Bible more than once each day, of course, and there may be some days when legitimate concerns consume the time we would normally spend studying. But we should discipline our lives to include a normal, daily period of Bible study, just as we discipline ourselves to have regular periods for sleep, brushing our teeth, meals, and so on. In fact, the comparison with regular meals is a good one, for these are necessary if the body is to be healthy and if good work is to be done. On occasion we may miss a meal, but normally we should not. In the same way, we must feed regularly on God’s Word if we are to become and remain spiritually strong. What happens if we neglect such daily Bible reading? We grow indifferent to God and lax in spiritual things. We throw ourselves open to temptation and the sin which easily follows.
The regular time we set aside for Bible study may be long–for those who are mature in faith and who have time for such study, perhaps an hour or two, or even more. It may be shorter—for those who are new in faith or who lead tight schedules, perhaps only ten or fifteen minutes. Whatever the length of time, it should be fixed and at a set period of the day.
2. Study the Bible systematically (Josh. 1:7, 8). Some people read the Bible at random, dipping here or there. This may be characteristic of the way they do most things in life, but it is a mistake in Bible study. It leads to a lack of proportion and depth which is often characteristic of American Christians. A far better system is a regular, disciplined study of certain books of the Bible or even of the Bible as a whole.
New Christians should begin with one of the Gospels, perhaps the Gospel of John or Mark. After that they should study Acts, Ephesians, Galatians, Romans, or an Old Testament book like Genesis. It is always valuable to meditate on the psalms.
What is the practical conclusion that we reach thus far in these studies?
What is the first aspect of Bible study we need to know? Why is it necessary? Why is it important to study the Bible at the same time each day?
What does it mean to study the Bible systematically?
Application: What changes in your Bible reading habits do you perhaps need to make to put into practice these first two elements?