Why Should We Study the Bible?

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 119:9-16
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statues;
I will not forget your word.

“his delight is in the law of the Lord” – can we say that? In this context, it is likely that the psalmist is referring to the first 5 books of the Old Testament, called the Pentateuch – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Do we delight in these books? Do we store them in our hearts and ponder them?

“I will delight in your statutes” – does our heart beat faster at the thought of God’s Word? Do we look forward to digging into its pages? Bible study is often neglected these days because it takes time. Time that is precious and rare in our busy, Western lives. Not only does it take time, but it takes effort and discipline. We live in an instant gratification society and Bible study does not lend itself to quick and easy answers. Yet if we only read our Bibles and don’t actually study them to extract its truths, we will not grow in our walk with God as we should. The Bible was written in a different culture and a different time and studying the background of the authors and recipients is crucial to understanding the meaning behind its words. Knowing the genre helps us to better make sense of what it is saying. A prominent Bible study method is the inductive method, which involves 3 steps: Observation, Interpretation, and Application. Notice the order – observation must come first before we can interpret what we are reading. And we need to interpret the meaning before we can apply it properly. Most people try to jump right into application in their studying instead of properly observing, then interpreting and then applying. Many books have been written on how to properly observe the text, then move on to interpretation and application. One that is a quick, easy read is Knowable Word by Peter Krol. Or check out Living By the Book by Howard Hendricks.

For an excellent sermon by John MacArthur about How to Study the Bible, check out Grace to You.

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