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There is no practice available to mankind that is more rewarding, more beneficial, and more enlightening that the diligent pursuit of God. Solomon has written in Ecclesiastes that:
This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.
Mankind was created by God to enjoy fellowship with Him but the rebellion of our first parents in the Garden of Eden (and man's continual rebellion ever since that time) erected a barrier between God and man that will only be completely removed when Christ returns to claim His own. Until that time one of the most time honoured means of enhancing our fellowship with God is through the study of the Bible yet there seem to be fewer practices that are more consistently ignored. All too often Christians seem more than willing to uncritically accept Bible teaching from others and little motivated to perform even the most elementary of studies and so miss out on the great good that may be enjoyed as we immerse ourselves in the study of the word of our God.
The Bible has been called the Christian’s sword. It is one of our primary tools in the proclamation and defence of the Gospel of Christ. However, if we cannot use it with skill and dexterity we are like a carpenter who is unable to build a structure that will stand the test of time because he is cannot properly use the tools of his trade. Our own ineffectiveness in our handling of the Word will have a similar result in making us less effective Christians and we likewise will be unable to produce a work that will stand the test of time since our understanding of God and His involvement in the activities of man will have been built upon a shoddy foundation and our teaching of others will be equally questionable.
It is the purpose of this study to encourage each of us to devote ourselves more thoroughly to Bible study and to set out some basic principles by which we may put to better use the time that we spend on Bible study. Various methods of Bible study will be introduced so that a structured study may take place which will make use of study practices that have been developed, tested, and found valuable by other Christians. When properly done Bible study is an enjoyable and rewarding task that will bring us nearer to our God. It is my hope that this study will permit that joy as you enter into the study of God’s Word and help you to think the thoughts of God.
The underlying premise of this study is that Bible study is not an end unto itself but is a method by which we come to learn more of God. Salvation rests not on knowledge of the Bible but on Jesus who died in our place. If Bible study does not help us appreciate more the glory of our God and the love God has for us then it is a fruitless occupation filling us with false hope and proud knowledge. The ultimate purpose of Bible study is to draw us nearer God, to help us be amazed at who He is and what He does and to fall to our knees in adoration of the One who loves us so much that He did all that needed to be done to reconcile us to Him. Study the Bible and in doing so love God.
This study is best summarized as follows: Come to the Bible with questions, not answers. If you read no further than this, I want to leave you with this: Read the Bible. Read the Bible in prayer, much and regularly.