How to Study the Bible


TABLETALK DEVOTIONS WITH RC SPROUL

How to Study the Bible
======================
2 Timothy 3:14–17 “Continue in what you have
learned… the sacred writings,
which are able to make you wise for salvation
through faith in Christ Jesus”
(vv. 14–15).

Beginning next week we
will examine the Sermon on the Mount, which gives us
some of the most
important teaching on Christian discipleship in all of
Scripture. As a preface to this study of the Christian life we will now spend
five days looking at a few of the ways God has given us to help us fulfill His
mandate
so that we “go on to maturity” (Heb. 6:1). Dr. R.C. Sproul’s teaching
series
Five Things Every Christian Should Know will guide our study.

The five
topics we will cover — Bible study, prayer, worship, service, and
stewardship
— are what some theologians have called “means of grace,” or those
things God
has given to help us grow spiritually. In the Reformed tradition,
the
sacraments and preaching have been considered the primary means of
grace.

Growing into Christian maturity requires us to know and imitate
the character
of our Father (Eph. 5:1), which is revealed in Scripture. It is
imperative
that we read the Bible rightly, and today’s passage points us to
the
foundational principle for our reading of God’s Word. Paul tells Timothy
that
the Scriptures are able to make him “wise for salvation” (2 Tim.
3:14–15). Our
first step in studying the Bible is to recognize that we sit
under Scripture
as the source of all wisdom. We have taken the first step
down the road to
unbelief if we try to judge the Bible instead of seeking to
have it judge us.
Sitting under Scripture requires the fear of the Lord,
without which we cannot
find wisdom (Prov. 1:7).

Therefore, we open
the text with reverence, expecting the Spirit to illumine
its meaning for us.
But reverence is not passivity. We must study to present
ourselves to God as
those approved to handle His revelation (2 Tim. 2:15).
This requires diligent
work and relying on the wisdom of those Christians who
have come before us.
Reading commentaries by men like John Calvin and Matthew
Henry is an
excellent way to learn from those godly scholars whose work still
greatly
benefits the church centuries after they lived. Of course, the
teaching
ministry of the local church is indispensable to our personal study
of
Scripture. Studying the Bible in a community that affirms historic,
biblical
Christianity will help us avoid common mistakes in the interpretation
of
God’s Word.

Coram deo: Living before the face of
God
========================================
Many people find the study of
Scripture to be an intimidating, if not
impossible, endeavor. But God
encourages us to put His Word on our hearts
(Deut. 6:6), and He will open His
Word to us if we are faithful to study it
with diligence and humility.
Consider joining a Bible study or class offered
by your church so that you
may learn from other Christians. Be sure to make
some time each week for the
study and contemplation of God’s Word.

For further study:

Ezra
7:10

The Bible in a year:

Leviticus 13–15

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