Give Attention To Reading

It is dangerous not to study the Bible! We must study, we must study diligently. Our salvation depends on it. "Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). There is only one way that the word becomes implanted, and that is by prayerful study.

Paul admonished Timothy: "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you" (1 Timothy 4:13-16).

Timothy was to give himself entirely to various activities, including reading. His own salvation and that of his hearers depended on it.

The last charge given by Peter was: "Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:17,18).

But someone says: Are we not justified by faith? Yes, we are justified by faith. But how do we get faith? "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Our faith can be no greater than our knowledge. We only know what we have learned.

Paul was one of the greatest preachers of all time. He spoke by inspiration. Yet he was anxious to learn. He was a student until the end. Even after saying that the time of his departure had come (2 Timothy 4:6), he wrote: "Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come - and the books, especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:13). Paul was an ardent student. This can be an example to us.

Do Christians need to study the Old Testament?

"The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:24,25). Some claim this passage teaches that we do not need to study the Old Testament. What it teaches, however, is that we are no longer under the Old Covenant as law.

We must study the Old Testament. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). Again we read: "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Corinthians 10:11).

A Christian must study both the Old and the New Testament: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).

We cannot teach others what we do not know ourselves. What was true in the Old Testament is just as true today: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:6).

"His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). "For this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge" (2 Peter 1:5). God has provided all we need, but we must apply ourselves to grow in knowledge.

When God wanted to send the gospel to Africa, He picked out a studious man. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to read in a chariot? "Behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, 'Go near and overtake this chariot.' So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, 'Do you understand what you are reading?' And he said, 'How can I, unless someone guides me?' And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him" (Acts 8:27-31). God sent help to this man who was reading the Scriptures as he jostled along in his chariot.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7,8).

Let us follow the example of the Jews at Berea: "These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed" (Acts 17:11,12).

J. C. Bailey

Published in The Old Paths Archive (