Yet, more than resources, a man who can handle the Word has a simple method of study, a regular routine that he utilizes to ease the process of investigation. Having a method is useful for two reasons : (1) ensuring that adequate care is taken to discern the meaning of a text and (2) disciple-making. The end goal of every spiritual discipline is always something more than individual growth. The Great Commission is at stake. For Bible study, this means that we ought to develop a method not ony for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of others. =
We need to be compelled forward in Bible study by a gripping vision the man we might become. What will motivate us to consistently skip a show on Netflix or to set the alarm 30 minutes earlier on a Tuesday morning? The answer is a sense of mission, the belief that now is an irreplacable moment that will either advance me toward the horizon of glory or pull me back to the brim of mediocrity.
Most importantly, there is the danger of becoming content with a kindergarten understanding of the Bible because we know that, if needed, we can always rely upon our study Bible to bail us out in a moment of ignorance. Since all of the information is there (on the page), we don’t need it here (on our hearts). Therefore, we grow lax in Bible study because someone else has studied the Bible for us. Since they have already figured out the answers, we don’t need to do the math. With great relief, we can just jump to the answer key without needing to do any homework.
Bible study is like cardio. Every Christian man knows that both are important; most Christian men don’t do either. Guys, this is unacceptable, not regarding cardio, but Bible study. Peter tells us to long for the pure spiritual milk of the word like infants crave milk. God promises us in Psalm 1 that, if we meditate regularly on the word, we will be like mighty trees with deep roots and bountiful fruit. We can’t not do this. Bible study is the basic PT that keeps a Christian soldier fit and ready for action.
There are a lot of men who are hindered from Bible study, or dealing with sin, or evangelism, or prayer, for reasons that are similar to why I struggled to paint a house. They feel a nausea that is caused not by unwillingness, but uncertainty. They avoid the prayer closet because no one has taught them to pray. They keep the Bible closed because no one has taught them how to open it. Competence does not remove the hard work that is involved in discipleship. However, it can alleviate the paralysis that results from feeling inadequate. To keep a ball rolling, two things are needed: impetus from behind and an open path before. Competence may not create the motivation, or impetus, that is required to keep a disciple moving. However, competence goes a long way to clearing the road ahead so that a man feels able and unrestricted.
There are a lot of Christians who are equipped for the Christian life, but who are not competent. They have Bibles and other Bible study resources at home, but they do not know how to handle rightly the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). They attend church with spotless regularity. But they do not know how to participate meaningfully in corporate worship, how to listen well to a sermon, or how to stir up other Christians to love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24-25). The list could go on and on. The problem is not that Christians materially lack the stuff in their life that would promote growth. The problem is that they are unskilled in using, applying, or participating in the resources that are within arm’s reach.