God’s Outsiders: The Called-Out Ones (A Biblical Look at God’s Ecclesia), Part 39

The Personal Nature of Bible Study

The study of the Scriptures (“Bible study”) is an extremely personal matter. Paul told Timothy, “Study to show yourself approved.” He was not here advocating group, but personal Bible study.

Sometimes believers will gather together for what they call “Bible Study.” The whole concept of “Bible Study” as a meeting is as foreign to the Scriptures as having “Worship” as a meeting. “Bible Study” as a meeting is a man-made religious invention to divert from the real study of Scripture, just as “Worship” as a meeting diverts from true worship.

There are only three occurrences of the word “study” in the Bible, two of which are Paul’s. These two instructions to study could not possibly be any more personal or private in nature:

Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15).

And that you study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you (I Thessalonians 4:11).

The divine purpose of the gathering of believers was never designed to be centered on what we commonly refer to as “Bible Study.” The study of the Scriptures is not an occasional group activity. It is an extremely personal thing.

We each have a responsibility to become acquainted with the Scriptures on a personal level. We can’t hide in a sea of faces at a “Bible Study.” Even those Bereans who gathered to hear Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, the divinely appointed spokesman for the Body of Christ, would “prove all things” by “searching the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

This is what set the Bereans apart as noble:

These [those of Berea] 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).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2000, 2009

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