Reasons for Studying the Bible – Fred E. Dennis

Fred E. Dennis

Many sermons have been preached and many articles have been written using 2 Tim. 2:15 for the text. That old familiar verse reads: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Why should we be diligent, careful students of the word?

To Know God

Those who do not know the Bible do not know God. God has told us all he wants us to know about himself in the Bible. It is possible to be highly educated, refined, and polished in the modern sense without knowing God. In fact, some of the most highly educated and gifted people of our generation do not know God. The reason they do not know God is that they have not been students of the book in which God reveals himself to the human family. Paul went to Athens to preach. Those Athenian philosophers spent their time in learning some new thing, and then imparting this knowledge to others.

But they did not know God! It was not that they were ignoramuses, but they were not Bible students. Because of their lack of knowledge of the true God they were idolaters. Paul said to them:

Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription. To THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you (Acts 17:22-23).

These fellows knew much, but they did not know God. There are many of our day who know much, but of the important thing—that of knowing God— they are ignorant. And this is willful ignorance, and willful ignorance is the worst kind of ignorance. It is inexcusable.

The world by its own wisdom will never know God. The world by wisdom cannot know God. “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). God gave us the Bible so that we may know him. Of course we have the book of nature. We read: “The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Ps. 19:1-2). Give man nature without the Bible, and he becomes a worshiper of nature.

To Know Jesus

There is no way of knowing Jesus except through the Bible. It testifies of him. Because of their ignorance the Jews put him to death. Their ignorance did not excuse them. “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:17). Why were they thus ignorant? They were not sufficiently acquainted with their own Scriptures. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

Many today are just as ignorant of the real Jesus as were these ancient Jews; and the cause of their ignorance is the same, and the remedy for their sins is the same. They will have to be converted, or turned to the Lord; and the power to bring about this conversion inheres in the word.

To Know the Plan of Salvation

Not one of us would know how to save ourselves if it were not for the Bible. Our feelings are very deceptive. We cannot know by our feelings whether we are right or not. “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). We cannot afford to risk the salvation of our souls upon the word of any man or any set of men. They may be false teachers and blind guides. And if we follow these “leaders,” we shall fall into the ditch. Jesus said: “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). And what an awful fall that will be! And there is just one way that we can know that we are not blind and following blind leaders. We must study for ourselves. We must know what the Lord has spoken.

Its Good Fruit

We ought to study the Bible because of the fruit that it bears. The things of civilization that are worth while are the products of the Bible. These good things are brought about by the word of God. The sins and bad things of the world are here because folks are not willing to be guided by the Bible. We ought to count our many blessings, naming them one by one, and then get down on our knees and thank God for giving us a book that will bring about such blessings in our lives.

It is Living and Eternal

Men write many good books, but they pass away. Not so many even survive the generation that produced them. Their readers become fewer and fewer. God gave us a book that will never pass away. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:25). When this old world is wrapped in flames, the Bible will survive. All other things are passing away. Death and decay are written upon everything. Death is on our track. It will soon catch up with us. The word of God will not die.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).

A book that will endure forever certainly should demand our most careful study.

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