We have been looking at the Ten-Point Bible Study Tool, which will help us to understand and apply God’s Word to our lives. Point nine of this tool is to establish a relationship with Christ. This should be the ultimate goal of Bible study.
Ultimately, studying Scripture should lead us to seek the person of Christ, as I have pointed out in some of the other articles.
The Bible is many things. It teaches the origins of the creation and life, it presents a general early history of mankind, and it demonstrates how many different ways God has worked to bring mankind to repentance. But most importantly, in Scripture God reveals Himself, who He is as a Person. Moreover, His Word is revealed through the life and character of the Son, Jesus Christ.
John 1:1, 14: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us; And we beheld His glory…
It is easy to forget that Christianity is more than just a doctrine, more than a mere religion. Believers often get caught up in gaining more Bible knowledge, and miss the Person of Jesus. They end up becoming like the Pharisees, who searched the Scriptures thinking they were the source of eternal life, while rejecting the One whom they pointed to (John 6:39-40).
For example, there are many good studies that examine the attributes of God, such as His holiness, His wrath, His love, and His tri-une nature (the Trinity). But all too often, these studies look at the attributes of God academically, and do not explain how they relate to the believer, or how they are significant in our everyday lives.
The following is an excerpt from a study that I may turn into a book in the future. The first paragraph looks briefly at the doctrine of the omnipresence of God. The second paragraph makes it personal, helps us to know God and draw us into a closer relationship with Him.
Omnipresence: God is also omnipresent, that is, everywhere at the same instant. According to Psalm 139:7-12, no matter where we might go, whether on earth, in the depths of the earth or even into space to the stars and galaxies, God is already present. By default, if God is everywhere and everywhen (eternal), then He must be all-knowing and all-seeing. 139:12 proclaims even the darkest night is no hindrance to God; He sees it all. 139:2-4 adds that He knows even our very thoughts and inward motivations for all we do. Yet, amazingly, He still loves us!
We should thus expect evidence of Jesus’s omnipresence and infinite knowledge in Scripture. Jesus said that wherever two or three people are gathered in His name, He is present with them (Matthew 18:20). Moreover, as He ascended into heaven He promised that He would be with all believers everywhere, even until the end of the world (Matt 28:20). Christ’s omnipresence is one of the greatest comforts given to the believer. No matter what happens in our lives, whether good or bad, Jesus is right there with us. When happy, joyous events happen— the birth of a child, achieving a dream—He rejoices with us. But when things are not so good—when we must struggle and cry and grieve —He is right there holding our hands, even carrying us through. Jesus encourages us as we face life’s challenges, big or small, that we should be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Even in the midst of pain and suffering, abuse and persecution, we can find peace, knowing that our Lord is present and that we have the promise of an eternity of good things in Him. We can find comfort, knowing that Jesus understands our difficulties, having lived as a man on this world Himself. Unlike other religions and cults, our God, in the Person of the Son, chose to come down to our level (apart from committing sin) so He could understand the human condition, could understand life, suffering, pain and death firsthand. Thank You, Jesus!
Thus, the ultimate purpose in studying Scripture is to establish a stronger relationship with Christ, not merely to gain knowledge of the Bible. In the final point of the Ten-Point Bible Study Tool, we will examine how Scripture helps us establish relationships with others.