Be Equipped with God’s Word
FF Chong—London, United Kingdom
A PERSONAL DUTY
The church invests tremendous
effort to equip believers with God’s word, with the hope that they will grow
into spiritual maturity. Towards this end, the church organizes trainings for
all ages, from religious education (RE) for school-aged children and youths to
classes for the newly baptized, and Bible seminars for adults.
But the church faces a great
challenge: despite these efforts, we continue to see believers drifting from the
faith. Even those who have gone through the church’s religious education system
and training programs are not spared.
Sometimes it is not that the
church has done insufficient work to help her flock mature spiritually. Rather,
the individuals themselves lack the willingness to practice biblical teachings
in their daily lives and the persistence to continue learning the word of God
after seminars and RE classes.
The reasons vary but an essential
point remains—how to maintain personal Bible study after communal learning.
There is a need to reshape our mindset: although the church’s instruction is
important, we cannot totally rely on others for constant spiritual growth.
Passive reception of God’s word, owning a Bible but rarely or never reading it,
is being irresponsible for our own spiritual health. Maintaining our spiritual
vitality requires us to have a Berean motivation that comes from within to
study the word (Acts 17:10-11). When we understand how important it is to study
the Bible, we will make an effort to do so and in the process, realize that we
can derive much joy from God’s word. By abiding in His word, we are firmly
anchored in Him and His church.
A PRACTICAL REALITY
Besides God’s help, our
conscientious effort is needed to make daily Bible study a reality. Having a
daily Bible reading habit is a helpful start. Making time for personal Bible
study is vital in the continual learning process. Wake up half an hour earlier
or go to bed half an hour later to read God’s word.
Start by reading small portions of
Scriptures. It is important to understand what we are reading; otherwise,
interest cannot be sustained. Reading the Scriptures is different from reading other books. It is an exercise of godliness
that must be worked into our daily routine. We need to prayerfully get into a
frame of mind that is open to God’s voice and be determined to heed what we
read (1 Tim 4:6; cf. 2 Tim 3:10). When we get into the habit of regular Bible
reading, we will not do it on the spur of the moment, rushing through several
chapters in one sitting and neglecting it altogether on another day
Motivation to learn more results
from daily contact with the Scriptures. So we should move on to gradually
increase our Bible-reading time. Don’t be content with inspirational reading
only, but progress to studying the Bible in-depth, to be equipped with the word
as spiritual weaponry.
This interest can be fostered by
having a spiritual companion, such as our spouse, a friend, or a church
co-worker, who either reads on the same schedule or shares the same keenness to
search out common topics of interest. Knowing that someone is reading the Bible
as we do is a huge boost to our persistence and confidence, and brings us
As the Bible states, “Two are
better than one” (Eccl 4:9). When one becomes slack the other can give him a
lift. Studying the word together provides the opportunity to talk about our
readings in greater depth, to build on each other’s insights and develop our
understanding of the Scriptures. This is much more rewarding than studying
A RIGHT ATTITUDE
Determination to study the word of
God must be founded on an understanding that this activity fortifies us against
spiritual attacks and helps us to comprehend God’s will better. Our diligent
study must never be just an intellectual exercise; it should follow from our
acceptance of the Bible as absolute truth. We seek to understand challenging
passages not to fulfill our quest for knowledge but because we want to know God
through His word. Thus we meditate on the word as much as we do the necessary
research, and we measure ourselves against the standard of God as much as we
expound the mysteries of God.
We know that it is never easy to
admit our imperfections, but when we set the goal to understand ourselves
better and figure out God’s purpose for us (Ps 119:97-104), the word of God
softens our heart to accept our shortcomings and motivates us to change. When
we constantly come under the spotlight of God’s word through study and
reflection we cannot but come under its control and direction.
Throughout His earthly ministry,
right up to the point of crucifixion, Jesus constantly did what He was taught
by the Father (Jn 8:28). We must likewise have a teachable heart in our service
to Him. (cf. Isa 50:4, 5). When we allow the Bible to teach us, it shapes our
character as we serve God, benefiting others and ourselves (1 Tim 4:16).
end—Keep the Word by the Holy Spirit
The word of God is the sword of
the Spirit (Eph 6:17), and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (Jn 16:13).
The Holy Spirit is thus both the revealer and executer of God’s word. After
receiving God’s word and being saved by it, we have to honor it to the end. If
we trample it down, it will be snatched away by the wicked one (Mt 13:4, 19; Lk
Sometimes believers and even
church workers, though baptized in infancy, are ignorant of the basic truth,
and they even argue over fundamental beliefs.
For this reason we must understand that the word is given
in a pattern (Rom 2:20, 6:17, 18; 2 Tim 1:13), which is passed down from one
generation to another. It is not given to change; hence “the deeps things of
God” do not refer to new truths that will alter previously revealed truth (Gal
1:8-9). Instead, it means that the Holy Spirit deepens our understanding of the
revealed truth. In fact, since the church is the pillar of the truth (1 Tim 3:15), and the fullness
of the Spirit (Eph 1:23), all truth has been given to the church.
Finally, we rely on the Spirit to
perform and preserve the word that we have received. The Bible is profitable in
many ways to the man of God, equipping him for every form of good work (2 Tim
3:16-17) because it is living and active, a sharp effective sword by the
working of the Spirit in the inner man (Heb 4:12).