But is knowing God’s Word the purpose of Bible study? I would hope we all know better than that. There may well be theological knowledge we must all have to appreciate our salvation and keep our faith strong, but the practical purpose for Bible study is to learn how God wants us to live our lives. If your Bible study does not affect your life, why do you bother?
So how are you doing in the practical application of your study? Here is a test for you. When you hear a sermon, does something about you change? When you learn something in a Bible class, do you think about it and perhaps alter your schedule, toss a few things out of your wardrobe, raise your contribution, pray more often, or put a few TV shows on your family’s verboten list? Do you forgive a wrong, pray for an enemy, or stand up for the truth in a room full of atheists? Does what you learn affect you in any way at all? And does it go past a onetime thing to a life-changing habit?
All right, so maybe you have been a Christian for a few decades instead of just a few weeks, and you have already made many changes. Good for you. But do you think there is nothing you can make better, that you already have all your ducks in a row, perfectly aligned so they waddle in step and quack in unison? I’m not there yet. Surely even you can make a few adjustments, tweaking your life just a bit.
Sometimes the changes you make can be a little more philosophical and effect the genuineness of worship. I passed my Psalms lesson book on to a Bible class teacher in another church many miles from here. He told me that it has made a definite difference in his prayer life—the Psalms may be poems set to music for both individual and group worship, but they are also prayers. And, since he also leads singing, he told me it has changed how he does that as well.
The class had just finished Psalm 89, a long psalm that praises God by discussing His attributes—love, faithfulness, righteousness, justice, power, holiness. So the next Sunday he chose his songs according to that pattern, God’s attributes. They sang “Wonderful Grace,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “Because He Loved Me So.” He told the good people there what he was doing and why. They paid more attention to the words they were singing and their song service was, in spite of singing “boring old songs” as some these days might call them, more moving and admonishing, and sung with much more “understanding” than usual.
Just a little Bible study caused a whole church to worship more sincerely than they had in a long, long time. What has your Bible study done for you lately? It’s up to you how much you get out of it and what you do with what you learn.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. Ps 119:34-38