Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bible Study: Why Bother?

Why "study" the Bible?  I ask that question often, with multiple reasons.  This morning, I thought of two.  First, compare faithful living to working out (even if you hate the gym).  Too often, we consider living faithfully as having a gym membership, shoes and workout clothes and going to the gym or outside for a leisurely walk on a treadmill or flat surface.  While it is a far better option than lounging on a couch, watching TV and eating Frito's--it is not enough to change the health, the shape or the effectiveness of our bodies. 

It won't produce a stronger more efficient,  more powerful body.  A strong study is like a personal trainer, one who pushes, directs, challenges and irritates the body to maximize its abilities and trim the fat.  Regular exercise under the direction of an instructor of sorts will lead to significant, tangible results.  Bible study does that by reminding us of what is really true, and what is really important. 

Bible study humbles us before God, shows the path and benefit of confession and direction to take for repentance. Example:  I just leaned in Bible study that repentance is not just confession of sins, but it is also turning in a new, Godly direction.  A change of direction might not be walking away from a specific sin, but still its a change to walk in obedience--this opened up new thoughts about repentance and faithfulness. 

Another beneift of  Bible study:  it focuses our minds, and keeps us from wandering.  In the NY Times yesterday was an article about the dangers of mind wandering.  The thrust was daydreaming leads to unhappiness.  

"Even if you are doing something that's really enjoyabe," Mr Killngsworth, Harvard researcher said, "that doesn't seem to protect against negative thoughts. Whatever people were doing they tended to be happier if they focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else."

Personally, too frequently, day dreaming is often mulling over what was said, what needs to be said, who did not focuses on disappointments in my relationships and how I wish...This does lead to unhappiness.  I am thinking in exaggerated and negative terms and I am not tending to things that are real and also important.  
Study occupies my mind in a direction that is always healthy, never exaggerated and even if the lesson is frustrating or I disagree, it is not the same as dwelling on a real or perceived offense.  Why not mull over what God says, or how a study applies what God says?
I like to keep a running list of the reasons people should take on a Bible study.  It helps to have different views to encourage different people.  What reasons do you have for doing a study?

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Roswell, GA
Loves to find the answers to three questions of a sound Bible study: what does it say, what does it mean, what difference does it make?