Well, now that’s a good question isn’t it, “why study?” I wasn’t always the best student in high school or college, because I studied a lot… but mostly the things I wanted to study, and not all subjects equally. It seems I had “favorite” courses where it was easy to immerse myself in the salient facts of the lessons, memorize them, and regurgitate them onto a “blue book” (yes I know this dates me). Other subjects I took (some more than once, ugh!) only because they were required for my degree. I needed that high school and college diploma to get into Seminary. I thought that once I got to really dive deep into the things that interested me most (God’s Word) then I would have the time of my life. Do you know what I discovered in Seminary? It wasn’t all peaches and cream, like I thought it would be.
For one thing, just like high school and college, it turns out I had my favorites subjects in Seminary too. I found myself falling into old patterns of studying well for what I liked, and not so well, for the things that were boring to me. It’s sad, but true. In the end, the course work for my Doctorate? Yep, same thing.
So here’s the thing, is it possible there are many people just like me, who have a love for God’s Word, and study well those stories they love, and avoid altogether the passages they deem either too hard to understand, or just to offensive to their 21st-century sensibilities?
There is a clear mandate from the Apostle Paul that we should study the whole Bible.
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Word of Truth here is the whole Bible, and if we are approved by God, we will study the whole thing, and find application to our lives in this world today.
God really hasn’t changed His mind about this, from the time Joshua was leading the people of Israel into the promised land.
This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.
Why should we study? So we can know what God expects of us, and do things His way, believing in His provision and protection in life.
The wisest man who ever lived (according to God), Solomon, said that knowledge for the sake of knowledge, was a grievous pursuit.
And I set my mind to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with.
Then, why study?
1 Thessalonians 4:1
Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more.
And there it is…that you may excel still more.
Don’t study just to acquire more knowledge or facts.
Don’t study in pursuit of wisdom, oh the folly of that pursuit!
Pursue the study of God’s Word for a closer and more intimate relationship with the author of the Book!
Pursue the study of God’s Word to be acclaimed “approved!”, and capable of instructing others with what you have learned by application in your own life.
Because it is impossible to know the depths of God, the LORD we serve and love, without knowing what He says about Himself, in the Scriptures.
And trust me when I say, you won’t get it all in a brief and cursory reading from Genesis to Revelation. In fact, it has been my life-long pursuit since the time I could read, and God’s Word reveals more of God to me every single time I open the book.
My prayer for me, and for you today comes from a Michael W. Smith song: