The Importance of Studying
By Benjamin H. Liles
Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching (word) and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror.
They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like. But the truly happy people are those who carefully study God’s perfect law that makes people free (probably refers to the law of Moses as it is fulfilled in Christ), and they continue to study it. They do not forget what they heard, but they obey what God’s teaching says. Those who do this will be made happy. ~ James 1:22-25, Expanded
When we want to master a subject, to either be better informed or even to excel in whichever arena of choice we work in, we study to the best of our abilities to become a master in that field. Some people have a love for math so they study with due and great diligence to become bankers, mathematicians, scientists, musicians, whatever job it is that includes math as a basis. And here's the key, they keep on studying to do even better, to improve their function in that field, possibly even becoming an owner of a business (it's a possibility). What does this have to do with studying the Bible, God's word?
I personally study God's word for a lot of reasons, the main part being to become a better steward of the gifts He's given me. I enjoy writing a great deal. So, it's natural for me to want to articulate the messages I believe He desires me to explain. Yes, I study so that I may not sin against Him; the reason is to be holy just as He is. I may enjoy living my life with everyone, but I'd rather have His mindset, allowing Him and His word to be seen in my life. His word, in my estimation, builds onto my character. What does this have to do with me?
We read, "Now the Bereans were more noble-minded than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true" (Acts 17:11, Berean Study). Paul and Silas were on a missionary journey in Berea (a small city in modern day northern Greece, Macedonia at that time) expounding the word of God to those in the church. The people in the city of Berea not only accepted the word of the Lord but they examined it, applied it to their lives, and lived it out.
Suppose I tell you I see a dark smudge on your face that you forgot to remove on your own. You would go searching for a mirror, look into it, and do your best to get rid of that smudge, correct? Likewise, God's word shows us the extent of the condition of our hearts. Without Him and His word, knowing Him, and listening to Him we can't possibly receive a changed heart wanting to live better lives. The word of God is this way. We have a living hope in Jesus, who not only fulfilled the writings but the words of the prophets as well.
Studying God's word allows us to not just see ourselves as He sees us, but it gives us a hope and sure foundation for the hope we have. It is found in Jesus the Messiah. Without Him, we cannot stand before a holy and just God. He died in our place so that by Him we receive life and have it from everlasting to everlasting. By studying His word, not only are we given "daily bread" (see Matthew 6:11, Luke 11:3) which sustains us, but we are able to call to mind in those dark moments we can rely on God and His promises. Studying His word means not only is it a part of us but that we can better help, to encourage one another, to teach one another better, as well as living holy and pleasing lives before God.
We can study any subject we would like to better ourselves, be it for the job we want or even for pleasure, but the one thing we shouldn't disallow the study of is God's word. For without proper study and understanding of His word we cannot and will not receive Him or His kingdom, which is found in Jesus alone. So, take some time and read a little of the Bible, God's word. It may just change your life.
Father, I truly never understood what it meant to live on your word, which is the bread of life. Yes, I know food and drink help sustain me, but Your word is more adequate in providing for my overall health and primary needs. Your word shows me how to live before and with You as well as with others. Your word shows me which way to go. It shows me how to live my life. It is wisdom and life. And for this, I thank and praise You. In everything I am and do, from today and onward, I will continue to read and study. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.