What a Privilege: The Joy of Personal Bible Study

I believe if you could evaluate all the schemes of the Devil against Christians, the one that would stick out the most is distracting us from time with the Lord.  The easiest way to get believers to stumble is to get them to neglect spending time with God. That is what personal Bible study is, fellowship with God.

Rick Warren in his book Bible Study Methods points out 4 reasons why personal Bible study, or quiet time, is a privilege.  I would like to highlight these for you to consider as you personally devote yourself to Bible study each week in preparing to teach God's word.  It's easy to let time get away from us, and we get to a point where we just don't devote adequate time to preparing to teach. Those of you who are teachers shouldn't just prepare a lesson in order to have something to say on Sunday.  Your Sunday lesson should be an overflow of your own personal time with God and His word during the week. It is a privilege to meet with God and study His word, and we must convey that privilege to our people so they too will be motivated to not neglect time with God during the week as well.

So Warren's 4 reasons Bible study is a privilege are this:

1. We Give Devotion to God

Notice the word "give" there.  We come to our personal time with God with the intention of giving not receiving.  The Psalmist was familiar with this concept.  Psalm 29:2 says "Ascribe to Yahweh the glory due His name...". (HCSB)  Too many people approach worship and time with God with the mind set of "what can I get out of this time".  This is a self-centered mindset.  There isn't any relationship that would thrive if our mindset was only in what we could get out of it.  We come to God prepared to give him devotion.  This should be true for a lot of reasons, but the main reason we give is because He deserves it.

2. We Get Direction From God

So with the first intention of our heart being to give, we recognize we also receive from the Lord.  He is a generous giver, and when we have the right attitude he lavishes us with with all we need to fulfill His purposes.  We refer to Psalms again here.  David over and over again says "Make Your ways known to me" and "Guide me in Your truth". (Psalm 25:4-5, HCSB)  We come to God in Bible study because we long for direction from Him.  We long to understand His word, and we long to know what we must do in obedience to it.  Bible study is a time for us to consider the ways of God and to commit to following them.

3. We Gain Delight From God

More than giving and receiving, personal Bible study is a time to just delight being in the presence of God. This is where true joy is found.  To know God goes beyond head knowledge.  It means to experience Him, to spend time with Him, and to come to understand more about Him.  Psalm 16 says "...in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures". (HCSB) Are you spending time with God because you desire to know Him?  Do your people sense that delight as you lead them on Sundays?

4. We Grown More Like God

This is the ultimate goal for all believers. Romans 8:29 says "for those he foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son...".(HCSB) It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds by His word that this transformation comes about.  You can't expect to be more like Christ if you don't spend time with Him.  Maybe this is the real reason Satan seeks to distract us from this time with God.  It changes us.  If there is one element of humanity that Satan fears it is a believer consumed by a passion for the glory of God.  So if you really want to get Satan on his heels, spend time with the Lord and allow Him to make you more like Jesus.

One final thought here.  Bible study is such a privilege because Jesus died on the cross so that we might be able to have this kind of intimate fellowship with God.  Before the cross, this type of access and intimacy with God was impossible.  Christ shed his blood so that that relationship might be restored and we could once again approach the throne in full confidence God would receive us and allow us to enjoy fellowship with Him once again.  Dare we spurn the sacrifice of Christ by neglecting to enjoy this fellowship on a regular basis? Don't reject that which Jesus died to make possible again.



Warren, Rick. (2006). Bible Study Methods: Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God's Word. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. pp. 232-238


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