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A Student of God's Word

by Russell Hafner

One of the first lessons we learned as school children was the importance of study. If we were going to score well on an up-coming exam, we had to study. If we did not study, we did not do well, and perhaps even failed the test completely. The final outcome was determined by our dedication to study.

I wonder if we, as children of God, have forgotten this simple lesson. In a sense, the Bible is a textbook for this life. If we are going to be pleasing to God, we must study the text. How can we obey the will of our God if we don't even know what His will is?

In God's word, we are told the importance of study. In 2 Peter 3:18, we find: "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The knowledge of our Lord is found in the Bible. We cannot grow if we do not study.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:21 we are told to: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." This means that we must put things to the test to see if they are good and right. The standard by which we decide is God's word. In the Bible we find what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. We cannot prove all things if we do not study.

John wrote in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." In this passage, the "spirits" that John refers to are teachers. Some will stay true to God, preaching the truth, but others will be false prophets, proclaiming error and falsehoods. How can we tell the difference? The truth is determined by a study of God's law.

The problem that the church is having with false teachers today is a result of a lack of study. When the heretics of our day begin to spew out false doctrine, the brethren should instantly recognize its contradiction with truth. We must also have the courage to confront the false teacher with his error and show from the scriptures where it is wrong. The false teaching cannot be allowed to continue (Titus 1:10-13).

God will look down upon us with favor when we dedicate ourselves to the study of His word. He is our Father and as good children, we should always listen to His commands.

During Paul's second missionary journey, he commended the Bereans for their diligent attitude toward study. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so," Acts 17:11. The implications of this statement are that the Thessalonians were not as receptive to God's word and were not as diligent in their searching of the scriptures. If Paul were to see us today, would he compare us to the Thessalonians or to the noble Bereans? In which category would you place yourself?

It amazes me when I see brethren arrive for services without a Bible. Can you imagine being a student and never bringing your textbook to class? Does our lax attitude meet with God's approval? In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul said, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." If we are going to gain God's approval, we must study. The shame will be ours if we cannot rightly divide the truth. If you have not done so, buy yourself a good study Bible and become a student of God's word.

"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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