Bible Study and Why It’s Important"God will become real to you as you start to study His Word, I promise you!"
Whenever I read Exodus 33:7-11, I think about how exciting it would have been to talk with God face-to-face, as one speaks to a friend.
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.
The “tent of meeting” is this intentional place where Moses would meet with God face to face. He would receive His direction, His exhortation and His blessing. Can you imagine how Moses must have felt having this interaction? It had to be an incredible moment for him. What is even more amazing is that we have the same opportunity now—at our dining room table, in our college dorm, sitting in our cars—where WE can have a “tent of meeting.” When we study the living Word of God (Hebrews 4:12), we are privy to “hear” the voice of God, receive God’s direction and know His will just like Moses did. Studying the Bible allows us to grow a deep friendship with God, as we get to know His character and His heart for us.
The account of Jesus’s life is found in the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). In those books, you can see Jesus’s dependency on Scripture. He used the Word to bring correction, to answer those who were testing Him, to combat temptation, tell of what was to come, to bring comfort to those who were close to Him and many other ways. Jesus is God, and He walked among us and was reliant on Scripture. If Jesus studied Scripture during His time here on earth, and used it in His everyday life, how much more should we require it? The Bible is such an integral part of the Christian walk and it is crucial to growing in our knowledge of who God is, and who WE are in Him!
How do we deepen our understanding of the Bible?
- Engage the Holy Spirit. When you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you. The Holy Spirit brings understanding and revelation to you as you read the Bible. Begin your Bible study by asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the deeper truths of God’s Word to you. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). In dry seasons, you can also ask the Holy Spirit to put within you an appetite for the Word, and this helps to get you started in your journey of this spiritual discipline.
- Use the tools. If you are new to the faith, purchase a Bible translation that is easy to understand. I would recommend the New Living Translation or the New International Version. There is also The Message, a paraphrase, that helps the reader to understand the overall theme of a passage; it is easy to understand. If you are further in the faith, grab the NASB or the KJV and compare these with other texts. I also recommend a Bible that has wide margins so you can write down notes, questions or lessons that stand out to you.
- Attend church. God has gifted people in the body of Christ (church) with the gift to preach and teach the Word (Ephesians 4:11-16). God uses these people to communicate His Word to us. When we attend church, God’s Word becomes alive through the service and convicts us, challenges us, edifies us and encourages us.
- Connect (Small) Groups. Meeting with peers in a small group Bible study allows us to grow in a safe and intimate setting while building up a healthy community. In these groups, Scripture can be read and discussed openly. In addition, there is accountability, encouragement and a mutual growth that takes place (Hebrews 10:25).
In the Scripture located at the beginning of this article, Exodus 33:7-11, in which Moses went to meet with God, there was an interesting response by the people. Verse 10 writes that the people stood in the entrance of their tent and worshiped. Moses’s “tent of meeting” drew his community into a place of worship. Let that sink in. When your roommates, family members or coworkers see you making Bible study (personal or corporate) a priority, it draws them into a place of worship. It invites them into fellowship with God. Your study of the Word, and time with the Lord, influences those around you in a positive way, and that should motivate us all to engage in Bible Study.
The Bible is divine revelation. It is spiritual food and necessary for growth as a Christian. Don’t put off your Bible study any longer. Start today! I recommend reading through the letters to the church (Books in the Bible that end in “ians”). Take it a few verses at a time and meditate on that passage. Write down what you learned in a journal or in the margins. As you study, you will find those truths welling up in your soul as you go through your week. You may even see those around you start to follow your example. God will become real to you as you start to study His Word, I promise you!
For Further Study:
- Additional tools for personal Bible Study are: Commentaries, Bible Dictionaries, Lexicons and Concordances. One of my favorite commentaries is the Beacon Bible Commentary. A Lexicon that is easy to use and free is the Blue Letter Bible (application on your phone or online). Ask your Corps Officers/Pastors for other recommendations.
- A Bible reading plan is also a helpful tool. Life Journals have Bible reading plans with instructions on how to journal your Bible Study. Life Journals can be purchased at www.liferesources.cc
- Bible Study Fellowship is an incredible network of believers offering a system of structured bible study. They have online groups and in-person groups across the country. If your corps/church doesn’t offer a deep, engaging Bible Study, visit mybsf.org, and you can find some other options.
- One last recommendation: Daily Audio Bible podcast and application. It reads the Bible to you in a dynamic way and brings the Bible to life. At the end of the daily reading, it breaks down what the Scripture passage is teaching. This tool is helpful if you have a commute. You can spend the first part of your day with the Lord.
Caroline was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up in The Salvation Army, and has loved Jesus since she was 6 years old. She is happily married to Dusty Rowe, and they will be celebrating their 18th year of marriage this year. They have 3 beautiful children: Noah, 15; Lillian, 13; and Maxwell, 8. Caroline loves the mission of the Army, and feels like there is no greater joy than living out the calling that God has placed on her life to be a Salvation Army officer. She currently serves as the Corps Officer of the Phoenix Kroc Center in the Southwest Division.