The need to study the scriptures is great and necessary. Study of the scriptures is more than just reading – it is examining and mentally ingesting the messages they have for us. Once we have established that daily pattern, it is more difficult to be carried away by unscriptural doctrines.
Take for example the doctrine of using only one cup. One may ask, should the one cup be taken literally? Or does “the cup” speak of its content. Many are stunted in their spiritual growth because they glibly accept everything that is presented to them without thinking or even examining the scriptures as we are trying to do in this on-line Bible study. Such persons do not reason out the scriptures as we are encouraged to do in 2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB):
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman
who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Studying helps us make connections to the problems that we are facing. As we ‘accurately handle the word of truth’, it is an interaction with God. We are doing something by studying God’s revealed Word and God is doing something in us. This is part of the process that propels us towards maturity in the church of Christ. Arguments from the deviators of true scriptural doctrine may not be fruitful for us, for as Rudy ‘the Bear’ commented in todays on-line bible study,
“If we operate within the same limitations that they operate under, [and] then they have a strong argument.”
Therefore the importance of small group Bible study, on-line bible study, adult bible study – whatever the type – bible study helps us to avoid stupid arguments that hinder our spiritual growth. By learning the Scriptures ,we are able to better recognize base ,unbiblical silliness for what it is and it will be less likely that our walk with Christ will be diverted by the latest doctrinal deviation.
Teachers have a very important role to play in ensuring that what is taught by the church of Christ reaches the heart, soul and mind. Even so, in our on-line bible study of the Gospel, we will examine various scriptures that will impress on you what God would have you learn and understand, so that you may experience true spiritual growth and become more like Christ.
Consider, Proverbs 23:7,
For as he [a man] thinks within himself, so he is.
Christ wishes for us to die to sin and the sinful nature, and be re-created in His image. Persons who know you should notice that there is a change in your modus operandi. The new creature will be evident as the Christ-likeness develops more and more and you study more and more.
For instance, giving is not just giving, but giving as 2 Corinthians 9:7 states:
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart,
not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
We give of ourselves, not grudgingly, but cheerfully. The condition of our heart is given importance.
Luke 6:38 says:
Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure —
pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
God isn’t trying to change the way we give. God, through his Gospel, is trying to change who we are, which will naturally change the way we give for the better.
Also, Philippians 1:6:
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Your growth is also dependent on Him. He is able to keep you to the end. He began this work in us when we accepted the gospel. We all keep [Hebrews 12:2]
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…
We rely on Him to help us to the very end.
Being Like Christ
Let us examine Philippians 1:9 – 11:
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Therefore a reminder of an important axiom: Being precedes doing.
Rudy ‘the Bear’ explains this using the issue of giving. It is more important to be Christ like than to do Christ like things. It is more important to have a cheerful attitude about giving than giving a lot in a grudging way.
As we continue our bible studies, we grow in the knowledge of who God wants us to become, leading us to what is excellent.
I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent.
If you do this – sincerity and blamelessness follows.
We can sum up everything as it is expressed in Philippians 2:3 – 8:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, our state of being like Christ will influence or ‘doing like Christ’- again propelling us to the heights of spiritual growth in Him.
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Do remember to visit our website at www.abetterbiblestudy.org, www.abetterbiblestudy.org and that’s the place for your bible study questions. We look forward your contribution to this interesting and free bible study.