Now we come to the final point of The Ten-Point Bible Study Tool. The purpose of these ten points is to help you identify how to apply or to understand a given passage of Scripture. The goal of Bible study is not merely to gain more knowledge, but to gain wisdom in how to apply God’s Word to your life.
Point 10 is to help us in our relationship to others. In the last lesson we saw how study of Scripture should develop our relationship with Christ. The greatest evidence of a growing relationship with Him will be manifested in our relationship to others.
1John 4:20-21 reads: If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
In John 14-16, Jesus also taught us about the manifested fruit that would come through our love for Him. One was keeping His commandments, as we have considered in previous lessons. The other was that we should love others in the same manner that He loved us. Jesus laid down His life for us, not merely through His death on the cross, but even through His life. He was willing to do without so that He could go spread the Gospel. He took time out of His day to sit and talk with those who had questions, such as with Nicodemus (John 3). He did not condemn those who had fallen into sin, but He did strongly encourage them to resist sinning in the future. He stood for righteousness and holiness, yet He was often seen spending time with those who had sin issues, trying to reach them without forcing religion down their throats.
My pastor is the one who gave the ten-point tool to the teachers in the church, to help them put together their lessons. The list is in the order he gave it. I don’t know if he was aware of the fact at the time, but the list was in the perfect order to build one upon the next. It is fitting that the last point concerns our relationship to others, for it is the culmination of all the rest of the points.
1Corinthians 13 is the Apostle Paul’s great soliloquy on loving others. He points out that a person can have great knowledge of Scripture and prophecy, exercise spiritual gifts such as tongues – but without love it is all worthless. Even giving away all you own to feed the poor out of a perceived religious obligation, or being martyred, will be of no benefit if you do not have love.
In the course of this series of lessons we have learned many purposes of Scripture. Some are to gain knowledge, others to build our faith; some things we must act upon, and other we must simply believe God. We have learned that we must deny ourselves, our sinful nature, and build up our inner man, our spirit. In the process we will grow our relationship with Christ. Ultimately, all of this should increase our love for others – for fellow believers especially, but also for those who are still in the world.