All gas internal combustion engines require three things to operate: fuel, spark, and compression. If one of the three is working improperly, a number of symptoms can arise. This is an oversimplification, of course, but those three systems must be mostly operable in order to be usable.
Troubleshooting can be expensive if a person has little or no experience with this common engine type. Learning to maintain a vehicle and enact basic repairs saves an enormous amount of money! Relying on someone else to do it is often very costly.
We fully understand that not everyone is equipped to be a scholar-level theologian. However, many Christians take this idea and swing the opposite direction. How many have been Christians for decades and have just a basic understanding of scripture? How many multi-generational Christians snore at the thought of advanced biblical studies? How many have only the knowledge they retain from a sermon? How many base their understanding and beliefs on the values held by respected friends or family?
No one is perfect; the more a person learns through deep bible study, the more they are confronted with their own inadequacies. But a dedicated student of the scriptures also gains this:
A profound appreciation for grace and its role in our practical lives.
Mind-blowing discoveries and realizations about the nature of God and eternity that bullet-proof our faith.
The full emotional and intellectual impact of biblical principles.
A deeper understanding of the goals, message(s), meaning, and practical applications of a book.
A heartwarming and emotion-eliciting appreciation for the role of The Word, Jesus, and His hand in creation, sustaining the genetic line that brought about His physical death, the timeless sacrifice He made by subjecting Himself eternally to the Father, and the role He plays today on our behalf.
An ability to defend the faith, refute false doctrine, convert a lost soul, and build faith in others.
An ability to avoid sin more effectively.
A far lesser likelihood of accepting false doctrines or harmful practices.
Excitement, joy, and fulfillment about being a Christian!
A great disdain for arguments over petty issues that are weakening the church, and the ability to shut them down and refute them soundly.
As a bonus, learning to read and translate Greek or Hebrew (at least with the help of a lexicon, a decent understanding of rules of each language, and their proper application in each context) will give even more profound insight into words and concepts we read in our native translations.
Relying on what others tell us is not sufficient! We may find that the cost, eternally, is far steeper than what we would pay to the most expensive mechanic for repairs we could do at a fraction of the cost. Not only will we gain a great appreciation for what we know and live by becoming true Bible students, but it also greatly enhances our ability to live a faithful Christian life.
Lies closest to the truth do the most damage. It can be easy to deceive the average person because many simply will not question what they hear or read. Whether the subject is politics, science, religion, or urban legends, many have opinions based primarily on a cursory understanding of the subject matter.
In most areas of life, this lack of investigation or study is benign. Our eternity is not remotely impacted by (erroneously) thinking that Kalashnikov’s rifles are inherently inaccurate.
When it comes to our faith, however, we are left without excuse. Christians have an obligation to investigate what is taught (Acts 17). In order to effectively do so, we must have the desire to become serious bible students.
Depth of study is not just for theologians! The ability to analyze and accurately draw meaning from God’s word is something each Christian should pursue. Phrases like, “That’s too smart for me,” or, “Not everyone’s a preacher,” or, “It’s all Greek to me,” or any other excuse we may use will not fly at judgment.
The Spirit expects us to be knowledgeable enough in His words that we could teach on the subject (Hebrews 5.12). Teachers are proficient or expert in their subjects, not just vaguely familiar with them.
A great place to start in one’s journey to proficiency is to take the responsibility of learning seriously. We expect those who work with nuclear power to have some knowledge in their field because of the risk potential. With the Bible, souls and eternal destinations are at stake; if we appreciate this, it should drive us to become dedicated students of the word.
Many know that Psalm 119 is the greatest, inspired tribute to the Word of God known to man. 176 verses, eight verses under the heading of every Hebrew letter, grace these pages of our Bibles. All but a few verses mention some synonym for God’s Word. So many individual studies can be made of themes and thrusts in Psalm 119, but by reading it one discovers David giving many benefits or needs for studying the Bible. Consider what is no doubt an inexhaustible study.
To keep from sinning against God (11)
I am a stranger in the earth (19)
The influential can be against us at times (23)
Our soul often melts from heaviness (28)
To keep our eyes from worthless things (37)
To have an answer for him who reproaches us (42)
It causes hope (49)
For comfort in affliction (50, 76)
It causes righteous indignation (53)
It leads us to seek God’s favor with our whole heart (58)
It makes us choose better companions (63)
It brings good judgment and knowledge (66)
It prevents apostasy (67)
It makes us more attractive to the God-fearing (74)
That I may live (77, 93, etc.)
For revival (88)
For greater understanding (99)
To be upheld and safe (117)
To have a proper sense of self (125)
For a proper sense of values (128)
For proper emotional investment (136)
For righteous zeal (139)
For a proper sense of dependency (147)
It brings confidence (152)
It gives us the proper sentiment toward the world (158)