Lately I have been hearing this term used in a somewhat derogatory fashion. Seems that people are starting to see Bible Study as a difficult and unhelpful tool in their walk with the Lord. Seems that more and more we are focusing more on the relational aspect of the body and very little on the relationship that is the head of that body. Sermons are becoming more and more stories and psychology methods than the true Spirit lead preaching of the word of God. Many sermons that I hear today are becoming more and more topical and filled with a lot of fluff. So I wonder…are we seeing the reality of 2 Timothy 4:3-4 play out in our cultures? (At least I see this in american culture)
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4, ESV)
I ask the question in my mind…What is the purpose of the church, or better the ekklesia (called out ones)? Do we still see the body in the way that Paul did when he wrote to the Ephesian church?
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:11–16, ESV)
This is the same writer who penned to Timothy these words…
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14–17, ESV)
Wow, the word of God is profitable for just about everything in our lives, yet we have become so filled with bible cliches and whimsical quoting of scripture in a way that does not build up the body but beats on a person our point of view of the passage. Can we not get back to a place where we have a passion for GOD’s WORD so that we can identify with David when he writes…
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law(Torah) of the Lord, and on his law(Torah) he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1–2, ESV)
Look how beneficial it can be to our lives….
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7–11, ESV)
More desired than Gold? I once knew a person that was a treasure hunter and the passion that he put into seeking out hidden treasures and gold was almost obsessive. Seems to me that our passion for the WORD of GOD should be equally obsessive. Yet what we tend to be obsessive about is usually not His WORD. We can binge watch Netflix, play video games from dusk till dawn, Instagram and twitter until our fingers are numb, but we wrestle to just spend 5 minutes with the Scriptures and then we pat ourselves on the back because we feel like we have accomplished something and done our daily bible study or reading for the day.
So where can we start, maybe we can start with a prayerful desire to know God and learn of the beauty of HIS Words to us. Spend a few weeks or more just pondering Psalm 119. Seek not to think of it as Bible Study but as a time to learn more about our God and the amazing words He has given to us to instruct us on how to live in His presence and in HIS Kingdom and with His people. Kindle in our hearts a healthy fear of the Lord but wrapped in the Love of His presence.
Maybe as we seek His presence and wade deeply into HIS WORDS, the Spirit can quicken in us the same feeling that the disciples had on the road to Emmaus when they said….
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”” (Luke 24:32, ESV)
In my own life, I have personally reflected on some of the words that Jesus prayed in John 17…
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent……..Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:3, ESV) and (John 17:17–19, ESV)
How do get to know the “one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” By a deep Spirit lead desire of HIS WORDS, because it is here that we see who He is and what He desires of our lives. It is in those Words that we are edified and equipped.
My prayer, is that we can feel deeply the words that were penned in Psalm 119…
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.” (Psalm 119:9–16, ESV)