If reading the Bible is compared to looking up at the sky, then studying the Bible is like looking through a telescope into outer space. It is in the study of the Word that when learning truths about our father in heaven.
Let’s look at three examples in the Bible of a heart to study the Word of God. Our first example is Ezra in the Old Testament. “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and do it and teach his statues and rules in Israel” Ezra 7:10. There is a progression in this verse. First, Ezra “set his heart.” Ezra made up his mind and disciplined himself to “study the Law of the Lord.” Second, he decided to apply what he learned in the scriptures “and to do it.” Ezra didn’t just read the Word; he applied it to his life and became obedient to God. Lastly, Ezra determined to teach Israel God’s law. Before he taught the Bible to Israel, he applied it to his own life; he taught himself. In all of this, Ezra disciplined himself to study the Bible.
A second example is Acts 17:11. Paul and Silas barely escaped Thessalonica after proclaiming Christ. When they went to Berea, the Jews responded differently, “Now these Jews were nobler than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” In verse 12, it says that many of them believed. The readiness to study the scriptures is applauded for a noble character. Paul emphasizes Timothy studying the Word of God in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” He instructs Timothy to study the Bible so that he won’t be ashamed. Also, in Paul’s final letter to Timothy, Paul urges him to bring with him the parchments. “2 Timothy 4:13 “When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” The parchments were the scrolls of scripture. Above all, Paul wanted the Bible to bring comfort to himself.
If studying the scripture is so important, why don’t we? R. C. Sproul says it best, “ Here is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.” Another possible reason for our lack of study is insecurity on how to study or where to begin. The primary difference between Bible reading and Bible study is a pen and some paper. Write down your observations. Record questions as they come to you. If your Bible has cross-references, look them up and record your insights. Don’t let a feeling of inadequacy or laziness stop you from exploring God’s Word.