A Learning Church Emphasizes Personal Bible Study
Success or failure in the Christian life depends upon how much of the Word of God you get into your heart and mind on a regular basis, and how obedient you are to it. In the Book of Acts, we read of those who lived in Berea and had the privilege of hearing the great apostle Paul preach. Rather than taking what he said at face value, “They received the message with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
If the Bereans did this with the apostle Paul, how much more should we do this with our modern so-called apostles and prophets! The apostle John told his fellow believers, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
Like the Bereans, we need to receive what we hear preached with eagerness, then examine, or scrutinize, the Scriptures daily to see if what we hear is so. If we have a good working knowledge of the Bible, we will be better equipped to identify false teachings and concepts that are contrary to Scripture. The more familiar we are with the real thing, the easier it will be to detect counterfeits.
Getting back to the Bible
If we are missing the right spiritual ingredients, which can only be found in the Bible, then we are bound to be spiritually deficient and malnourished. As a result, we will also become spiritually weak and vulnerable.
By and large, it seems that the art of Bible teaching has been lost in the church, and the art of Bible study has been lost by many individuals. The remedy to this perilous spiritual situation is to follow the example of Israel. They, too, lost the Scriptures and were influenced by pagan cultures around them. Yet, under the reign of King Josiah, they rediscovered the Scriptures in the Temple, and a revival resulted (see 2 Chronicles 34:14–33).
We see the same power of God’s Word in Luke 24, where we read the story of the two discouraged disciples traveling on the Emmaus road. Their hearts, which had once burned brightly for Jesus, had cooled down. Their passion had greatly diminished. Yet, Jesus found them and walked along beside them. He then did something that spiritually reignited them: He spoke to them from His Word (Luke 24:27). After their meeting with Jesus, they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”(Luke 24:32).
“The Bible is alive; it speaks to me.
It has feet; it runs after me.
It has hands; it lays hold of me!”
If we want to turn our world upside down like the early church, we must get back to the principles they lived by. That includes continuing in the apostles’ doctrine by being learners of God’s Word. May His Word become part and parcel of our lives.