Author: Cody C. Lorance
Category: Scripture Engagement
The following is taken from a Bible Study I taught some time ago on the Bible and why we should study it. I was recently asked for the notes and am posting them here for general use. The PDF is also attached.
Why Study the Bible?
A.) The Bible is God Speaking (Ps. 119:13, 72; 2 Tim. 3:16, 1Pet. 20-21)
Perhaps one of the most common “nicknames” for the Bible is, “God’s Word.” The reason is simple, God is speaking today, and we hear His voice when we study the Bible.
Paul wrote to Timothy that “all Scripture is God-breathed.”
I want to bring in some thoughts here about “verbal plenary inspiration” including the thoughts in the following box and some readings from theology texts.
"Verbal Plenary Inspiration" means "God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression, His Complete and Coherent Message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture: the very words bearing the Authority of Divine Authorship."
So "Verbal" means, "the Bible in its original languages, from first to last (Autograph), is an exact record of the Mind and Will of God as He intended it to be."
So "Plenary" means, "the entire text of the Bible is equally from God, but not necessarily equally-important."
So "Inspiration" means, 2Tim3:16’s "God-breathed" (theopneustos): just as God breathed into Adam’s nostrils AFTER MAKING HIS BODY and that made Adam EXHALE and thus become a living soul, so also God’s breathing of the Word into the Scripture writers produced an ’exhale’ of Canon, without waiving any of their own personal attributes.
I’ll mention here that we’ll come back to the Timothy passage later.
B.) The Bible is our Sustenance (Ps. 119:93; Mt. 4:4)
The following is an excerpt from Your God is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan (2001):
You are what you eat . . . study is ingesting and digesting, the chewing and swallowing and being filled with ideas, images, thoughts, and attitudes. To browse and idea, to skim it and dabble in it--that is like getting a whiff of food, maybe a faint taste on the tongue. But to study: to really plunge into the depth of a thing, to interrogate it and allow it to interrogate you, to probe it and be probed by it--that is study. That is eating.
The Bible often uses the image of eating as a metaphor for study. Jeremiah says that when God’s Word came to him, he ate it . . . The Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II took this literally. Whenever he fell ill, he’d eat actual pages from the Bible in the belief that this would cure him. He died in 1913 after ingesting the entire book of 2 Kings. I want to scoff at his superstition, except that a sliver of warning pricks my skin: I have seen people--myself included--writhe in soul sickness by a refusal to eat the word of God.
I once gave a Muslim man a copy of the Bible in his own language. It was probably the first time he had ever held a Bible in his hands and the first thing he said to me, in his broken English was, “This book is life.” If the non-Christian world around us knows it, shouldn’t we? God’s word is food for our souls. Our physical bodies cannot survive without physical food. Neither can our spirits survive without food from the Bible.
C.) The Bible is our Supreme Authority (Ps. 119:89-91, 106; Mt. 5:19)
The most practical daily duty of a Christian is to obey God. We obey God by obeying His Word. We’ll talk more about this in the next point.
Question: What does it look like to obey God’s Word?
Answer: Let’s look at Hebrews . . .
Since the Bible is God’s word, we are obligated to do three things:
1. Believe and Obey it (4:2)-- or it is of no value to us
2. Grow in it (5:11-6:3)
3. Be changed by it (4:12-13)
We remove the changing power from the Bible by just picking at it. Again Buchanan says, “I propose we practice the holy habit of reading the Bible whole. We are, after all, purportedly the people of the Book. And the whole book is God-Breathed and useful. If this stuff gets in you, down in your guts, it is going to shape you in ways beyond your asking or imagining.”
D.) The Bible will Make a Difference in Your Life (Ps. 119:11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
Look at the four functions of Scripture that Paul points out to Timothy:
1. Teaching— We bring our ignorance to the Bible and God gives us knowledge and wisdom.
2. Rebuking/Reproofing— We bring our false ideas to the Bible and God shows us our errors.
3. Correcting— We bring our immorality and sin to the Bible and God convicts and changes us.
4. Training— We bring our immaturity to the Bible and God raises us up, showing us how to live, makes us more like Jesus.
Of course, there is a presupposition to all this. That is, that you come in humility. Recognizing that in spite of your accomplishments, learning, and experience; that you have ignorance, sin, false beliefs, and immaturity.