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#1a. WHY STUDY THE WORD OF GOD?

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Introduction 1a

When we first become believers in salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ, studying the word of God is essential in order for us to grow, to be set free from sin, and to consolidate our faith. The malefactor on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) died within a few hours of becoming a believer in Jesus, and had no time to study the word of God or do anything more than confess his belief, and endure to the end. Although this was God's will for him, it won't be for most of us, so when God, by his grace, gives us more time than this, he will undoubtedly expect us to use it to find out his will for our lives, and to do it. Our sincerity will be proven by our willingness to study God's word and conform our lives to be obedient to it. Six hundred thousand Israelite men came out of Egypt with the promise of the promised land (Exodus 12:37), and all except two failed to receive it because of disobedience (Numbers 14:26-30). In the same way, those of us who are saved out of the world and given the promise of the kingdom of God, will fail to receive it if we are disobedient. All of us who can see, read and hear, will be expected to use our abilities to enable us to grow spiritually by studying the word of God, so that God can fulfil his purpose in our lives. Our fate if we do not is revealed in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27), so we need to consider carefully these reasons for studying the word of God. This bible study gives you plenty of scriptural reasons why we should study the word of God.

#1.02 BECAUSE GOD WROTE IT

JOHN 8:26-28, 38 (Jesus)
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he who sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
27 They did not understand that he spoke to them of the Father.
28 Then Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.
38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do that which you have seen with your Father.

JOHN 12:50 (Jesus)
50 I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak.

JOHN 14:10 (Jesus)
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father who dwells in me, he does the works.

ACTS 1:16 (Peter)
16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus.

2 TIMOTHY 3:16 (Paul)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

HEBREWS 1:1-2 (Paul)
1 God, who in many parts and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the ages;

2 PETER 1:20-21
20 Knowing this first, that no prophesy of the scripture is of its own interpretation.
21 For prophesy did not come in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Note: If Jesus spoke only those things which the Father gave him (John 8:26-28, 38; 12:50; 14:10), so that God "Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son," (Hebrews 1:2), David prophesied through the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:16), and God "spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets," (Hebrews 1:1), who "spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:21), then truly the writing of Paul, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God," (2 Timothy 3:16), is thoroughly verified by the other scriptures. Thus scripture must be just as if God had picked up a pen and written it himself. It is considered a great compliment to an author to say when we meet him, that we have read his book, but if we haven't read it, we are just expressing our indifference to what the author has to say. The audio tapes of the whole bible have a playing time of just over 86 hours. How many of us professing to be Christians have never even read the bible once, let alone studied it? What excuse will the Lord accept on the day of judgement? Why do so many of us seem to spend endless hours reading the thoughts and opinions of people, who could not even create one grain of sand, and ignore the words of God who created the heavens (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 96:5), the earth (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 119:90), the sun and moon (Genesis 1:14-18), and every living creature on this earth (Genesis 1:21-27)? Why spend our lives learning the wisdom of men, which is "foolishness with God:" (1 Corinthians 3:19), and ignore the perfect wisdom that comes through God's word (Psalm 19:7; Proverbs 1:1-5; Proverbs 19:20)? If God is so great that he can do all these things, then surely what he has to say must be worth taking note of.

#1.04 IN ORDER TO ENSURE SALVATION

MATTHEW 4:4 (Jesus)
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

2 TIMOTHY 1:10 (Paul)
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2 TIMOTHY 3:15 (Paul)
15 And that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

JAMES 1:21
21 Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Note: Nobody has salvation yet in a manifested sense, that is still future according to the word of God:

(Mark 16:16) "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved ;"
(Acts 15:11) "But we believe that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved , even as they."
(Romans 13:11) "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed ."
(Philippians 2:12) "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
(1 Peter 1:5) "Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time ."
(1 Peter 1:9) "Receiving at the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls ."

We receive salvation now through faith (Ephesians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:5), but as "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1), we cannot see it in a manifested sense as yet, but we hope to receive it when our dead body is resurrected at the second coming of Jesus (1 Corinthians 5:5; 15:50-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; Hebrews 9:28). The scriptures make it clear that studying the word of God is essential for salvation. Jesus said, "every word" (Matthew 4:4), and James said, "the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21); engrafted meaning that it should be in our hearts. The Israelites in the wilderness received the law of Moses engraved on "tables of stone" (Exodus 31:18) by the finger of God, but we today should receive the "law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2), engrafted onto the "fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:3), with the Holy Spirit. This is not received automatically when we first believe, but it is a gradual process performed by the Holy Spirit as we study God's word the way he tells us to study it (See #1.28 Note), so how can we ensure our salvation without studying the word of God?

#1.06 IN ORDER TO OBTAIN HOPE

ROMANS 15:4 (Paul)
4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Note: Clearly we cannot be saved without hope, for Paul said, "We are saved by hope" (Romans 8:24), and as one way that hope comes is through patient study of the scriptures (Romans 15:4), how can we ensure our salvation if we don't study the word of God?

#1.08 IN ORDER TO AVOID DECEPTION

MARK 13:5
5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceives you:

EPHESIANS 5:6 (Paul)
6 Do not let any man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience.

COLOSSIANS 2:8 (Paul)
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

2 TIMOTHY 3:13 (Paul)
13 But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

Note: There are many warnings in the word of God to guard ourselves against deception, and it is clear from scripture that if we fail to recognize error, and follow false teachers, we can certainly be lost:

(Isaiah 9:16) "For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and those who are led of them are destroyed."
(Matthew 15:14) "Let them alone: they are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."

There are hundreds of denominations in the world, all teaching different things, and all believing that they are right. How can we know which one is the true church of God? Jesus only established one church, and as "God is not the author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33), it must be obvious that the others are under an evil influence in some areas. There are some genuine Christians currently in various denominations, but they will transfer to the true church before Jesus returns, as he said:

(John 10:16) "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also must I bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

If our reason for believing that we have the truth is just an inward knowing in our hearts that we are right, then we need to be warned!

(Jeremiah 17:9) "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
(Proverbs 28:26) "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoever walks wisely, he shall be delivered."
(Proverbs 14:12; 16:25) "There is a way that seems right to a man; but the end of it are the ways of death."
To walk wisely (Proverbs 28:26), and to discern error when it is taught, we need to have God's word in our hearts, but as we cannot do this if we don't study the word of God, how can we ensure our salvation without studying it?

#1.10 IN ORDER TO OBTAIN FAITH

ROMANS 10:17 (Paul)
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Note: Studying the word of God is not the only requirement to retain or increase our initial faith, but it is the first essential step. Just as natural babies will die if they are not fed, so as new-born "babes in Christ", we will die spiritually if we do not "desire the sincere milk of the word" (1 Peter 2:2), which is our spiritual food. Faith is very important to God, we cannot please him without it (Hebrews 11:6), and "whatever is not of faith is sin." (Romans 14:23). As God obviously wishes us to please him and avoid sin, he has called Christians everywhere to "live by faith." (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). Faith is very important to us too, because through faith we can obtain justification (Romans 3:28; 5:1), freedom from sickness for ourselves (Matthew 9:22; 9:29; Luke 17:19), and our loved ones (Matthew 8:13; 15:28). Faith is the most important part of our spiritual armour to resist the devil (Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 5:8-9), but above all else, it is through faith that we obtain our salvation (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:9). As "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17), how can any of us survive if we do not feed our spirits with the word of God?

#1.12 IN ORDER TO OBTAIN ANSWERS TO PRAYER

PROVERBS 28:9 (Solomon)
9 He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

JOHN 15:7 (Jesus)
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you.

Note: Obtaining answers to prayers is very important in order to give us an assurance of the reality and presence of God in our lives. One of the conditions to obtaining answers is that the words of Jesus abide in us (John 15:7), and they won't abide in us until we meditate them in through studying the scriptures. God is gracious to many new born babes in Christ, and answers their initial prayers (sometimes through the faith of others), but they may find that the answers don't continue to come if they refuse to study God's word; "his prayer shall be abomination." (Proverbs 28:9).

#1.14 IN ORDER TO PLEASE GOD

HEBREWS 11:6 (Paul)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.

Note: We know that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17), but if we fail to hear the word of God our initial faith will die, and as we cannot please God without faith, how can we please him without studying the word of God?

#1.16 IN ORDER TO SHOW OURSELVES APPROVED UNTO GOD

2 TIMOTHY 2:15 (Paul)
15 Study to show yourself approved1 to God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Note: The adjective translated approved1 (Gr. δόκιμος, Gtr. dokimos) means to be proved, or tried, like metals are by fire when they are purified. The same Greek word is used by James, "for when he is tried1, he shall receive the crown of life" (James 1:12), and shows that if we are approved or tried, we will be saved. It is also translated "approved" (Romans 14:18 KJV, 16:10, 1 Corinthians 11:19, 2 Corinthians 10:18, 13:7). The opposite "unapproved" (Gr. ἀδόκιμος, Gtr. adokimos) means also unworthy, worthless, rejected, or castaway, and is translated "castaway" (1 Corinthians 9:27 KJV), "rejected" (Hebrews 6:8 KJV), "reprobates" (2 Corinthians 13:5-7 KJV, 2 Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:16). It seems clear that we will not be saved if we are unapproved, and as we need to study to show ourselves approved to God, how can we ensure our salvation if we fail to study the word of God?

#1.18 IN ORDER TO CLEANSE/PURIFY OUR SOULS THROUGH OBEDIENCE

PSALMS 119:9
9 By what shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to your word.

JOHN 15:3 (Jesus to his disciples)
3 Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.

JOHN 17:6 (Jesus to the Father)
6 I have manifested your name to the men which you gave to me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them to me; and they have kept your word.

ROMANS 6:16-18 (Paul)
16 Do you not know, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.

1 PETER 1:22
22 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit to sincere love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently.

Note: Once we become believers, we need sin to be cleansed out of our hearts in order to become justified (See #1.22 Note), sanctified, and allow the spirit of Christ to grow in us. This is done as we conform our lives to obey the word of God from the heart, as these scriptures show, and is not manifested in our hearts the day that we first believe. Every one of us, who is a true believer, will obtain the forgiveness of our sins because we will conform our lives to obey God's word; we will overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5), receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39), and do the works of Jesus (John 14:12). These thing will come to pass in our lives, if God gives us the time, but not all on the day that we first believe.

#1.20 IN ORDER TO BECOME WISE

PSALMS 19:7 (David)
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

PROVERBS 8:33 (Solomon)
33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and do not refuse it.

PROVERBS 23:19 (Solomon)
19 Hear, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the way.

2 TIMOTHY 3:15 (Paul)
15 And that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Note: Not only did Paul say that the scriptures could "make you wise to salvation" (2 Timothy 3:15), but Solomon also said, "keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life to your soul," (Proverbs 3:21-22), "The wise shall inherit glory:" (Proverbs 3:35), and "wisdom gives life to those who have it." (Ecclesiastes 7:12). In the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), the unwise virgins were unprepared when the Lord returned, and were shut out of the marriage feast (Matthew 25:10). They were not allowed entrance after (Matthew 25:11-12), which is equivalent to being unsaved, so obtaining God's wisdom is very important. As God's wisdom comes through studying the scriptures, how can we ensure our salvation if we don't do it?

#1.22 IN ORDER TO LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS

ISAIAH 26:9
9 With my soul have I desired you in the night; yes, with my spirit within me will I seek you early: for when your judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

2 TIMOTHY 3:16 (Paul)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

Note: Justification or righteousness (which are just different translations of the same Hebrew and Greek words) can be claimed by any Christian, but this does not mean that it is immediately manifested in our lives. Justification is a promise which we receive by faith (Romans 3:28; 5:1; 9:30; Hebrews 11:7), and faith is "the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). The manifestation of it in our lives is brought about through chastisement (Hebrews 12:11), as we seek for it (Psalm 24:5-6; Zephaniah 2:3; Matthew 5:6; 6:33; Galatians 2:17), as we learn it through the scriptures (Psalm 119:7; Proverbs 2:1-9; Isaiah 26:9; Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Timothy 3:16), and as we obey God's word from the heart (Deuteronomy 6:25; Isaiah 48:18; Ezekiel 18:5-9; Romans 2:8; 6:16-18). Clearly if we are righteous we will be saved (Psalm 15:1-2; 37:29; Proverbs 10:2; 11:4; 12:28; 21:21; Matthew 25:46; Romans 5:21), but as Paul said "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9), how can we ensure our salvation if we do not study the word of God?

#1.24 IN ORDER TO BECOME SANCTIFIED

JOHN 17:17 (Jesus)
17 Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.

ACTS 20:32 (Paul)
32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Note: Just as part of the consecration of the priests under the law of Moses, was to eat "the flesh of the ram, and the bread ... those things with which the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them:" (Exodus 29:32-33), so we must eat the flesh and the bread with which our atonement was made. Jesus said:

(John 6:48-58) "I am that bread of life.
Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it, and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
... Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him.
As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father; so he who eats me, even he shall live by me.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers ate manna and are dead: he who eats of this bread shall live for ever."

To become spiritually sanctified, we must eat the spiritual food, "the living bread, and the flesh of Jesus," who is the word of God (John 1:1, 1:14, Revelation 19:13). As Jesus said, "Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth." (John 17:17), how can we become sanctified if we do not feed on this spiritual food, which is the word of God? The scripture indicates that sanctification (or holiness) is required for eternal life (Matthew 7:21 with 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Romans 6:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 12:14), so how can we be sanctified, and ensure our salvation if we do not study the word of God?

#1.26 BECAUSE THE WORD WILL JUDGE YOU ON THE LAST DAY

1 CORINTHIANS 3:11-15 (Paul)
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall test every mans work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abides which he has built on it, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved yet as by fire.

JEREMIAH 23:29
29 Is not my word like as a fire? says the LORD; like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

JOHN 12:48 (Jesus)
48 He who rejects me and does not receive my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Note: The judgement day will not be a pleasant experience for many people, because Jesus said, "That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned." (Matthew 12:36-37), and Paul also said, "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he has done, whether it is good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10). None of us will escape this, every word that we speak and every deed that we do is going to be compared with what we should have said or done according to the word of God. The only way to avoid the "loss" (1 Corinthians 3:15), is to conform our lives now to what God's word says, and how can we do this without studying the word of God?

#1.28 IN ORDER TO AVOID SIN

JOB 22:22-23 (Eliphaz)
22 Receive, I pray you, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the almighty, you shall be built up, you shall put away iniquity far from your tabernacles.

PSALMS 119:11
11 Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

PSALMS 119:133
133 Order my steps in your word: and let not iniquity have dominion over me.

1 JOHN 3:9
9 Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Note: When Paul said, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." (Romans 7:22), he was not talking about an unregenerate sinner, but someone who believed in God, and had a strong desire to do right, just as a new Christian might be today. The whole section (Romans 7:14-25) deals with a man, who desires to do good but lacks God's word in his heart, and because all thoughts, words and deeds come from the heart (Matthew 12:24-35; 15:19; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 2:14-15), he finds it impossible not to sin. Jesus said, "the words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63), and when his words are in our heart, they enable what Paul called, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," (Romans 8:2) to be set in motion. This means obeying God's word from the heart, which he also referred to as "being led by the Spirit of God," (Romans 8:14), "walk .. after the spirit." (Romans 8:1), "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16), and it is the only way to avoid sin. The reason why a fully mature born again Christian does not sin is because, "his seed remains in him:" (1 John 3:9), and the seed is the word of God (Mark 4:14; Luke 8:11. Thus it is impossible for us when we are a new Christian to avoid ignorant sin, until after diligent study, we have God's word written in our hearts according to his promise under the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:10, 10:16). God has indicated that writing his word in our hearts will be a gradual process:

(Deuteronomy 32:2) "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as showers upon the grass:"
(Isaiah 28:9-10) "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little."

This is done as we study the word of God, so studying it is not only essential to avoid sin, but as God said, "The soul who sins, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20), and Paul said, "the wages of sin is death;" (Romans 6:23), how can we escape spiritual death if we do not study the word of God?

#1.30 IN ORDER TO SAVE OTHERS

1 TIMOTHY 4:15-16 (Paul)
15 Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed to yourself, and to the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and those who hear you.

Note: These verses make it clear that meditating on the scriptures is profitable, and necessary to save ourselves and others. John the Baptist said, "every tree therefore which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire." (Luke 3:9). Jesus also said, "Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." (Matthew 7:19), and "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away:" (John 15:2). So we need to bear fruit, which can include saving others, at some time during our Christian lives, and as saving others requires that we study the word of God, how can we ensure our salvation without doing it?

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