Schools offer academic guidance to fulfill the quest for knowledge. Teachers and Professors lead classes in specialized areas of interest. Lectures and verbal instructions dominate the classroom structure. But lectures are never a substitute for personal study. Textbooks are used to develop classroom instruction. The indicator of one’s understanding is how well one performs on the test.
There is a parallel between secular and biblical teaching. The pastor / teacher teaches under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Hopefully your “students” will take notes to help them understand. But for the Christian to fully understand the “subject”, he must also study the “textbook” (Bible). The result of the weekly tests of your faith will show how well the believer has reached understanding.
The Christian is called to study the Word. Through his knowledge, he learns to correctly divide the Word of Truth. (II Timothy 2:15) He realizes that the Word is powerful and “sharper than any two-edged sword.” (Hebrews 4:12) If you don’t know how to handle the sharp Word, you could abuse it trying to benefit your own whims and desires.
It is not enough to listen to a sermon on Sunday and think that one is ready to face life’s challenges. You must collect the information you have heard and incorporate it into the Word of God. Studying the Word exposes one to the concept of Knowledge. Knowledge reveals the workings and intent of the Word. For example, “Grace and peace are multiplied to you by the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (II Peter 1: 2) Believers are given all things pertaining to life and godliness through knowledge of Him. Knowledge reveals that He has given great and precious promises. Knowledge reveals that we are partakers of God’s divine nature. (II Peter 1: 3,4) There is much to learn and the only thing that can prevent the Christian from attaining more and more Truth is to neglect the incorporation of the Written Word with the proclaimed Word. In high school, there are students who just want to get by with the least effort. They attend classes but lack homework. They barely get by on a passing grade. Could that be the mentality of some Christians? They listen to the preaching once a week, but they don’t do their “homework.” When the believer does not study the “textbook” and simply hears the Word from the “stage”, the only title he can hope to receive is Bachelor of Warfare.
The Bible is not a “claim and frame” book, where you choose to choose the Scriptures you want to follow; rather, it is God’s authorized autobiography. His Word changes man so deeply that he wants to please God with all his heart. God recognized that David was a man after His own heart and, as a result, He knew that David would do all of His will. (Acts 13:22)
My prayer is that believers hunger and thirst for the Word. The waters of living Truth are waiting to flow into the cisterns of those thirsty for Truth!