Thursday, August 17, 2017

Why Study the Bible?

If we press people for a reason for not studying the Bible, usually they say, “Frankly the book bores me to death.” This statement reflects not so much an inability to understand what is read as a preference for what one finds interesting and exciting.

R.C. Sproul tells a story of how this idea of boredom and Bible study came home to him one year when teaching. He writes,
Several years ago when I was hired to teach the Scriptures at a Christian college. The president of the institution phoned me and said, “We need someone young and exciting, with a dynamic method who will ‘make the Bible come alive.’ ” I had to swallow my words. I wanted to say, “You want me to make the Bible come alive? I didn’t know that it had died. In fact, I never heard that it was ill.”
No, we can’t make the Bible come alive for anyone. The Bible is already alive. It makes me come alive. When people say the Bible is dull it makes me wonder why. Biblical characters are full of life. There is a unique quality of passion about them. Their lives reveal drama, pathos, lust, crime, devotion, and every aspect of human existence. There is rebuke, remorse, consolation, practical wisdom, philosophical reflection, and, most of all, truth. Perhaps the dullness some experience is due to the antiquity of the material. How does the life of Abraham—lived so long ago and so far away—relate to us? But biblical characters are real. Though their life settings are different from ours, their struggles and concerns are very much like ours.

God’s plan of redemption is for the whole of His creation. Redeeming people, however, becomes the major focus of the Scriptures as they reveal His plan of salvation. What could be more exciting than to read of the conversion of people facing concerns that are essentially the same as those we face today?

Try studying some of the major biblical figures. Suggestions of those with a vitality of life and faith are Abraham (Genesis 12–25); Jacob and Joseph (Genesis 25–50); Ruth; David (1 Samuel 16–1 Kings 2); Nehemiah; Paul (Acts 9–28). Choose one person to study and ask yourself the following questions as you read:

  • What common desires, experiences, hopes and relational problems do I share with this person? 
  • Was their coming to faith similar to mine? How was it different? 
  • What were the major events of this person’s life, and how did God use them to develop their faith? How has God done that in my life? 
  • How did this person influence others for the faith? How can I?
  • If I could speak with this person today, I would most like to discuss ____________ .