It is primarily through our words that we communicate our identities—who we are, our feelings, thoughts, intentions, desires—our very essence. And so it is with God. He communicates to us primarily through His Word, the Bible. In it He reveals to us His thoughts, intentions, and desires—who He is. This is why we study the Bible—that we might truly know the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him.
Christianity is all about knowing God and having an intimate relationship with Him. John 17:3 (NIV) says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
We, who were dead in our sin and enemies of God, were reconciled to Him by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Consider the great lengths God has gone to in order that we may have a relationship with Him.
Have you considered that the God of the Universe desires a relationship with you?
When we first put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the relationship begins, which is wonderful— but God desires that relationship to grow. As in any relationship, to move beyond the initial introduction and the category of “acquaintance,” to become real friends, we must spend time with each other, communicating with one another—sharing our joys, our sorrows, our plans and thoughts—sharing who we truly are.
Although God already knows all about you, He wants you to talk to Him—about everything! But He doesn’t just want you to talk “at” Him; He wants you to talk “to” Him. He will always listen.
Then He wants to speak to you—through His Word. He wants you to listen to what He is saying and to respond. In Mark 4:23-25 (NLT) He says,
Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand! And be sure to pay attention to what you hear. The more you do this, the more you will understand—and even more, besides. To those who are open to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But to those who are not listening, even what they have will be taken away from them.”
Have you ever attempted to become friends with someone, but every time you try to share something about yourself with them they act as if they aren’t interested, or they brush off what you have to say? You finally realize that the person isn’t interested in knowing you. After awhile you finally just back off, or perhaps give up entirely, knowing that the person doesn’t care whether they really know you or not. You may still keep a surface relationship with that person, but the deep friendship that might have been never develops.
What a loss for us, if we fail to develop our relationship with the God of the Universe. He has revealed Himself to us in His Word. It is up to us to read, study, and search the Bible, and then receive what it has to say, in order to build our relationship with Him—the One Who alone is the source of life and love, and of all that fulfills the human soul.
There are countless secondary reasons for studying God’s Word, but they all spring forth from knowing Him, since it is through knowing Him that we are given everything we need for life and godliness (see 2 Peter 1:3).
How Should We Study The Bible?
Excerpted from a lecture by Sharon Simonian, San Clemente Joy of Living Teaching Leader
Psalm 37:4 says,
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
God wants us to delight in Him! We were created for Him, and we will never find anything in the universe as delightful as He is! When my husband and I were first getting to know each other, we wanted to be together all the time. While he was in medical school, he would frequently drive forty-five miles at night to the dorm where I was living to take me out. We wanted to be together every minute we could; we were so in love.
If we want to delight in Someone, we have to spend time with Him.
My husband and I have been blessed with his early retirement, over 8 years ago. I’ve told him that after spending part of a day with other people, I am so glad to get home to him. Why? Because he’s my favorite human being! I want to be with him.
Similarly, when I first came to know the Lord in my 20’s, I couldn’t get enough. I joined Bible studies, church classes, outreach groups, anything I could to get to know Him better. And, I love Him so much more now.
The key to the progress in my relationship with Jesus is the same key to the progress in my relationship with my husband: spending time together. I’ve never stopped going to Bible study, so here I am, 30 years later, convinced God’s Word is the key. Scripture confirms this. In Psalm 119, the psalmist uses the word “delight” nine times to describe his relationship with God’s Word, in passages such as…
- “I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word” (verse 16)
- “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.” (verse 24)
- “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” (verse 35)
- “I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them.” (verses 46, 47)
- “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight.” (verse 143)
Here we see the joy of pursuing God through His Word. The psalmist doesn’t see Bible study as a chore, but a delight. The Bible counsels him. It makes him want to share God’s truth with others. It provides him with comfort when trouble and distress are afflicting him.
So, my first bit of advice in how we should go about studying the Bible is to do it with delight!
Please, please don’t ever let your Bible study become “work.” If your attitude is negative as you sit down to study, stop. Pray, asking God to delight your heart in HIM before anything else, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new and precious way that day. The enemy of your soul will try to rob you of your joy, but your God delights in you!
The Old Testament prophet Zephaniah says in his book,
The Lord your God … will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his Love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
In our noisy world, isn’t it lovely to think that our Lord delights in us and wants to quiet us with His love? Then, when we are quiet, we will have ears that can hear Him rejoicing over us with singing. Don’t miss that. Resolve to delight in your Lord every time you sit down with your Bible, and watch how your love for Him and His Word will grow.
There is another way I think the Lord wants us to go about studying the Bible, and that’s…
One summer, my husband and I spent a night in a motel just south of Lone Pine. We were shocked at 3:30 am when we heard a terrifically loud “Moo!!!” We couldn’t imagine why one of the cows from the pasture across the street was even awake, let alone mooing. After the trip, a friend, who grew up on a ranch, suggested the owner might have taken her year-old calf away from her. He said that always causes the mamas to bawl all night. Not surprising, right? A cow is devoted to her calf. She can’t stand to be away from it.
I have to ask… How is your level of devotion with the Lord?
Can you waltz through a whole busy day without even talking to Him or listening to Him? We should be to be so attached, so devoted to Him that we can’t stand to be away. If our hearts are not growing in devotion to our Lord as we study, we are missing the whole point. So before you even start your time of study or “devotions, ” make sure your heart is ready to respond to the Master’s slightest touch. Pray. If you would like, sing a song to the Lord. Remember, the Bible is for you! Enjoy it! Delight in it, and get ready to be more devoted to your Lord than you’ve ever been in your life.
As you study the Bible, resolve to…
- Approach the Bible with delight, preparing your heart to meet the Lord
- Approach the Bible with devotion, reading with a desire to increase your love for Him.
- Make certain Jesus Christ is your Savior, who will guide you into all truth through His Holy Spirit. (If you are not certain, please click this link.)
- Act upon every truth He reveals to you. The more you receive and act upon what He reveals to you, the more He will give to you (see Mark 4:24-25), and your life will be enriched beyond measure.