God, in his great wisdom, has told us to study. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that neededth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
In the context of this passage, Paul was talking to Timothy; however, the application can be made to all who follow Christ. On one occasion, Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). One should be aware of what the Bible teaches, even if they doubt the Bible. An open mind should be used to examine the Scriptures so that a working knowledge of them can be had, not just assuming that what is said about the Bible is true.
Bible study is a personal thing. It teaches that each person will give account for themselves, not for others actions. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
A study of God’s word will enable the individual to know what God expects, and it will explain how it is to be done. This study must be done carefully, not with predetermined ideas but with an open mind and willing heart.
One must understand the divisions of the Bible. God’s word has been given to man at different times. In the beginning, God spoke to the fathers, this is called the patriarch age.
Later, God gave the first written law to man — the Law of Moses; and in these the last days He has spoken to man by his Son and that word is recorded for all mankind (Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). While it all is inspired (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), not all of it is for man to follow today. The Bible is divided into the Old and New testaments. The New Testament is what man is to follow today. The Hebrew writer told that the old was a shadow of things to come (Hebrews 10:1-22).
With the death of Christ, the New Testament was given to man (Hebrews 9:11-28). If a person were to keep the old covenant today, they would not be able to have the forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:1-4; Galatians 3:16-4:11). Christ took the old law out of the way (Col. 2:14).
Yet, the Old Testament still is important for hope and learning (Romans 15:4). The examples show how God dealt with his people when they were faithful to him and when they were disobedient. It also shows that God always has been in control, and that he is all-knowing and powerful.
God does not ask man today to do the things he asked the patriarchs to do, nor the things that were required of those under the Law of Moses. All three time periods mesh together (Galatians 3:16-29). The psalmist wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105), it has guided man throughout the ages and will guide man today.
The last will and testament of the Lord shows that one must study the word. This study of the word develops faith (Romans 10:17), which leads to repentance (Acts 2:38) and a willingness to confess Christ before men (Matthew 10:32). Then, one realizes the need to be baptized for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38). The word then gives one instruction on how to live the Christian life.
God’s word is for all, but it must be studied.