3 Reasons Studying Scripture is an Absolute Necessity

woman-studyingMany Christian women today are searching.  I hear women say they are searching for “freedom,” “a word from God,” “purpose,” “calling,” etc.

Unfortunately, too many Christian women today are not being told they already are free and they need to live like it (Romans 6), they already have a Word from God and they need to believe and obey it (Psalm 119), and they already have a calling and they need to fulfill it (Titus 2).

Instead, women are often told by well-meaning Christian authors, bloggers, and leaders that what they need is something more or a little different than what they have already been given in God’s Word.  They need a different community or mystical experience, a different spiritual tactic, a different worship style or event, etc.  The list goes on and on; and so does the search, leaving women spiritually dissatisfied and longing for the next mountain-top experience to soothe their clamoring souls.

I believe this sad search stems from a faulty view of the Word of God:  the Bible is true, but not sufficient; it is accurate, but not authoritative.  Many Christian sisters seek and place their hopes in things such as feelings, experiences, or signs from God as means or evidence of spiritual growth in lieu of diligently studying and applying the Scriptures—the very words of their God, whom they so desperately, and rightly, desire to know.

I can only scratch the surface here about the urgent need for Christian women to grasp the sufficiency and authority of Scripture in their lives, but I do want to mention three crucial reasons why the study and knowledge of the Scriptures (above all else) is absolutely necessary for spiritual growth and life in Christ:

  1. To know the certainty of your salvation

By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the disciple John gave this reason (twice!) for his writing of Scripture.  First, he said he wrote “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).  And secondly he wrote, “I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (I John 5:13).  Are you one who struggles with knowing for certain that you are saved, forgiven of your sin, and eternally loved and received by God?  Study the Scriptures!  See who Christ is in the revealed Word of God.  Do not settle for a feeling or an experience.  Instead, settle yourself on the person and work of Christ as found in the Scriptures.  Study them so that you will have the faith to believe and the assurance of your salvation.

2.  To be equipped to do what God wants you to do

I love this verse!  It is such a strength to me!  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).  Not only do I love what God says His Word is for, I am thankful for its result!  His Word will make you able to do everything God has called you to do. Theologian Matthew Henry put it this way, “Whatever duty we have to do, whatever service is required from us, we may find enough in the Scriptures to furnish us for it.”  Do not rely upon a poetic sentiment, a “sign,” or human method to equip you for faithful obedience or to direct your path.  Do you have a trial to walk through?  Do you have a sin to overcome? Do you have a burden to bear?  Do you have a relationship to mend?  Do you have a decision to make?  Do you have a service or sacrifice to render?  Do you have mundane responsibilities to undertake?  Find out how the Scriptures address your situation and then obey in faith.  The Scriptures alone, by the power of His Spirit, will equip you and teach you in the way you should go.  

3. To know God more deeply

A gem of a verse is found in Exodus 33:13.  Interceding on behalf of the wayward Israelites in the wilderness, Moses prays to God, “If I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You . . . ”  Hmm.  Let me know your ways that I may know You. Do you want to know God more deeply?  Then know His ways.  Do you want to love God more?  Then know His ways.  Do you want to walk with Him in life-changing faith?  Then know His ways.  Where do we find the most complete display of the ways of God on this side of eternity?  Not in well-marketed Christian books and conferences.  Not in ourselves.  Not even in nature.  The perfect display of the ways of God is found in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.  There He reveals Himself to us (Hebrews. 1:1-2).  As we study the Scriptures and come to better see, understand, and believe the Lord’s ways, character, and thoughts, then our faith and love for Him grows (II Peter. 1:2-4).  If you long for a a closer relationship with the Lord, spend consistent time carefully and prayerfully studying His Word.  He is faithful and will not disappoint you, so don’t settle for gimmicks or short-cuts. Through the Scriptures you will come to intimately know and walk with Him.

Finally, I Thessalonians 2:13 says, “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”  Are you willing to receive what God says about his own Word?  Are you willing to base your spiritual growth and life on his Word instead of your emotions and experiences?  Are you willing to accept the Scriptures as the very words of the Lord of the universe to you? Then take comfort and courage knowing that the Bible “performs its work in you who believe.”   Receive and believe God’s Word, and it will perform it’s work in you.

How do you study the Bible?  What have you found helpful in personal Bible study?  Share with others in the comment section!

Discerning Truth from Error

erase_errorsHave you ever read a Christian book, and something about it made you feel uneasy, but you couldn’t tell exactly what the problem was?

Have you ever heard a Christian speaker, and something about her message seemed “off,” but you weren’t sure what was wrong with what she said?

Has a friend or spiritual leader recommended a Christian book, devotional, or bible study, and you want to “check it out” to know if it is truly biblical and spiritually profitable?

How is one to know?  How is one to discern between truth and error among the myriad of Christian resources and media that bombard women in the Church today?

There is no short-cut answer.  We must be women of the Word.  We must not only read, meditate upon, and memorize the Bible.  We must study it.  We must be like the Bereans of old who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  We must heed Paul’s plea with Timothy to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).  Like a jeweler who is so very familiar with the “real thing” that “fakes” are easily identified, we also must become thoroughly acquainted with Scripture so that error is quickly detected—and denied.

I have found these two items helpful for learning to discern truth from error:

1.  Questions to Help You Discern Truth from Error.  This list of twelve questions written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss draws attention to the most important issues to consider when discerning Christian books and other resources.  It’s a very helpful list to print and keep near your own stack of books or to share with a friend.

2.  The New How to Study Your Bible or Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days.  If you want to learn how to study the Bible for yourself without taking a seminary course, I highly recommend these two books by Kay Arthur.  Her faithful and accessible Bible study methods will help you gain a thorough understanding of Scripture.  As you prayerfully study Scripture, you will grow in your ability to personally discern truth from error.

If we are His children and are abiding in His Word, we can be confident that God is teaching and sanctifying us.  Jesus prayed for us, “Sanctify them in truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).  With His Word and by His Spirit, He is transforming our hearts and minds to reflect His own.

Have you ever experienced a major change of understanding about God or His Word?  What passage(s) of Scripture did He use to teach or transform you?  What was the error you left behind, and what was the truth you found?