How many times have you started your Bible study and, after only a few minutes, you find it hard to concentrate? Maybe you think of something else that “must” be done first. Or you suddenly get sleepy. Or you’re just plain bored with studying the Bible.
It doesn’t have to be that way! Your personal Bible study can and should be the most exciting activity of your day. You can be like the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily with a ready mind (Acts 17:11). God says they were more noble than the Thessalonians simply because of their approach to Bible study.
People often ask us how they can better support God’s trumpet-blowing work. What can you do personally to contribute more to this global effort—and to promote more growth in your individual life? Diligently search God’s Word every day! Here are four important guidelines to remember:
1. God commands daily Bible study.
This is not something we do only if there is enough time—or if we feel like doing it. God’s Word says plainly, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Bible study is not optional. God commands that we educate, train and develop our minds. And that takes daily work.
Jesus told us to ask God for bread daily (Luke 11:3). In John 6:48, Christ said, “I am that bread of life.” Christ is the bread of life—He is the Word of God. And the Bible is that Word in print. That means we must feed on that Word daily—just like the Israelites fed on manna from heaven daily. Study the instructions God gave the Israelites in Exodus 16. They had to gather manna daily. As Jesus explains in John 6, that lesson is for us. If we don’t partake of spiritual bread every day, it will lead to spiritual malnourishment, even death.
2. Labor for spiritual food.
It takes planning, effort and time to prepare a nutritious physical meal. Should we expect it to be any different with spiritual food? Jesus said, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life …” (John 6:27). It takes diligent work to get a lot out of our Bible study. Remember, we have to be a good workman in study.
3. Seek correction in your Bible study.
The Apostle Paul praised his assistant Timothy for having “known” the Scriptures from his earliest years. He went on to describe the many wonderful benefits that come with studying the Bible: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We need loving reproof and correction if we are to obtain perfection in God’s Family (see also Matthew 5:48).
Did you know that one of God’s most effective methods to correct His children is through our personal Bible study? He will provide other correction at times, perhaps from lectures or counseling sessions. But to get the personalized correction you need daily, you have to take the initiative and seek reproof in your study.
4. Study in order to teach others.
God has a plan for all men to come to the knowledge of His truth and ultimately be saved, as it says in 1 Timothy 2:4. And He’s bringing some few along first in order to help Jesus Christ teach the world His truth. God doesn’t bring people into His work only to save them. When God calls you, He has a job for you to do! That means your personal Bible study sessions are actually intended to help other people—ultimately to help all of mankind.
Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). God wants this hopeless, dying world to see your good works. How will we have any good works for people to see if we aren’t regularly applying what we study daily in God’s Word?
Maybe you’ve been neglecting your Bible study because you only think of yourself. Or maybe you aren’t thinking far enough ahead—or not thinking big enough! Fast forward 10 or 15 years from now. Think about the others you might be responsible for then. Maybe you’ll even be in God’s Kingdom. Whatever the case, you will be expected to teach others what you are learning now! That means your overall effectiveness as a future parent, grandparent, teacher, minister or member of the bride of Christ will depend largely on the personal Bible study sessions you are having right now.
That’s the “readiness of mind” we all need when we sit down to study God’s Word. With that far-reaching vision in mind, we can make our daily Bible study the most exciting activity of the day!