Believing that grace trains us in righteousness, let’s look now at the aspect of Bible study that speaks guidance into our lives.
We’ve talked at length about the Bible being primarily about Jesus living perfectly since we never could, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t speak to our lives on a personal and practical level to lead us in the right ways to live. The Bible does contain a roadmap for our living; it’s just that now we obey it for a different reason and from a new heart.
Which leads us to the next grace-gift of Bible study we’re counting throughout this series:
Gift #2: Bible study provides direction, training us in the grace of God and teaching us the right way to live.
Here’s the deal. This one isn’t new. If there’s one of these graces we already know, it’s probably that His Word tells us what we’re supposed to be doing. Even if we’re not in the business of applying it to our lives, I doubt a Christ-follower would miss this purpose of God’s Word to lead and direct. We get it, don’t we?
While we may not exactly miss this purpose of Bible study, I do think we sometimes overlook its goodness. We do this in a couple of ways. The first is something we’ve already talked a lot about – forgetting to read it through gospel-glasses. But beyond applying grace to Bible study, we can also approach it with a selfishness that prevents us from seeing how good God is to give us these commands and guardrails in His Word.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tell us,
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
To be honest, this isn’t good news if I’m living for my own kingdom. If I’m looking at Scripture with SELF-eyes, I won’t even want the equipping it offers. Not only that, but I’m more likely to misinterpret what it says if I’m only looking for how it affects me and then, of course, I’d misapply its direction for my life.
I cringe thinking about how often I’ve done this. I can think of times I had to make decisions about committing my time to various projects, but I was more immersed in my own kingdom and had made my leisure time an idol, so I used verses like Matthew 11:28-30 as an excuse to indulge my selfishness and avoid serving – all in the name of the “rest” I felt God was inviting me to. Never mind that those verses speak of a spiritual rest that had nothing to do with my circumstances at the time!
I allowed my selfishness to be the lens through which I looked at Scripture. Sometimes that selfishness causes me to twist the meaning of His Words into what I want them to be, but often it’s mere naivety that leads me there. From where has this naivety stemmed? It comes from rejecting the discipline of pursuing a systematic understanding of who God is and how worthy HIS kingdom is to live for. Our problem comes from both biblical illiteracy and a self-centered heart.
With what feelings do you embrace the commands of God for your life? The psalmist said it like this,
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119: 103)
Are His words sweetness to you?
And thinking about the 2 Timothy 3 passage above, let me ask you this: Who decides on the good works in your life? Are you pursuing equipping for what you have determined are good works in your life, or are you allowing the Father to define those for you?