The right motive is essential to profitable Bible study. We must desire to learn the truth that makes us free (John 8:31-32), to attain the wisdom that leads to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).
The right motive is just one aspect of the right attitude in Bible study, however. Consider three other essential components.
Jesus said of some students in His day, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive” (Matthew 13:14, ESV). Their problem was closed minds which made them unteachable. We must not be afraid to admit that we are ignorant or to learn that what we have thought is wrong. We must be willing to accept the truth, along with the changes it requires us to make.
Willingness to Work
Have you ever said about someone, “I wish I knew the Bible as well as he or she did”? Well, there was probably a time when that person said the same thing about someone else. Then, he started to work. The Bible contains 66 books, 1,189 chapters, over 31,000 verses, or about 800,000 words. Obviously, no one will master all that in a few sessions! It takes work — consistent effort over a long period of time. In fact, even the best Bible students are constantly learning throughout their lives.
The point is, you won’t get much out of Bible study if you don’t put much into it. A hit-and-miss approach yields little. (You can’t learn much about history or science or mathematics or anything else that way, either.) To thoroughly learn the Bible you have to invest some time and effort. The noble-minded Bereans “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). The blessed man meditates on what he reads (Psalm 1:2).
Expectation of Success
While learning the Bible might seem overwhelming at the beginning, when we break it down into segments and approach it in a systematic way, it is really not so difficult at all.
To be sure there are some challenging parts; the Bible says so (2 Peter 3:16). Nevertheless, it promises us that we can understand it (Ephesians 3:4). God commands us to know His will (Ephesians 5:17), and He does not require the impossible. You can learn! Why not get started today?
- by Frank Himmel