Why should you study the Bible? Are there actually any good reasons why we should commit at least some time out of our busy schedules too try to figure out what it’s really saying? There are many excellent reasons we should be intentional about acquainting ourselves with what the Bible says, but an obvious one is so we don’t think it says something it doesn’t really say.
“In whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:21)
In John 15:7 Jesus promises, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you,” yet how many of us have ever prayed for something that we did not get? This is one of those verses it’s easy to misunderstand unless you read what comes immediately after: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit…” (John 15:8) Jesus not only tells us what we are to do (bear much fruit) and why (so that the Father would be glorified by this), but He also gave us the means to accomplish it—the promise that when we ask for what we desire it will be done for us.
Yet this promise is not a stand-alone phrase—it is contingent upon our abiding in Jesus and upon His words abiding in us. So what Jesus is really saying is that if we stay in Jesus and His words stay in us, our desires will be the desires of God, which God is pleased to grant. We won’t be asking for a new Ferrari in our driveway, and if we do ask for money, it will more than likely be to accomplish something good for someone else.
This is just one example of why we need to spend time getting to know what God says in the Bible. Otherwise we might erroneously believe Jesus is giving us a blank check, and when we don’t get the wrong desires we ask for conclude that either He lied or that God doesn’t have the power or desire to give us what we ask for.
Another reason why we should get to know what the Bible says is so that we would understand our place within the church in God’s economy. Many people think of a church building—a local congregation—when they think of a church. But many times when the Bible talks about a church it is referring to all true followers of Christ, or what some have called the church universal. This group of believers is referred to in the Bible as both the body of Christ and as a building. Today’s verse says that all of God’s people are fitted together so that we are growing into a holy temple.
Being fitted together is an interesting phrase. It implies that someone is doing the fitting together, and it is, indeed, Jesus who is the one who is fitting us together as is best. There are specific tasks we get assigned individually within the Christian community which He expects us to do. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 teaches us that, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.” The Holy Spirit gives us gifts that enable us to accomplish the work God has laid out for us. And we know that we do have work to accomplish during our lives on earth because Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
And we see that we are being fitted together for a reason: the good works God has prepared beforehand for us to do. As we spend more time studying what God says and submitting to Him, our love for and appreciation of Him grows and we begin to desire more and more the things He desires. When we ask the Father for these things, He is happy to give them to us, because we are bearing fruit (doing the works prepared beforehand) which glorify the Father!
When you take the time to not just read, but actually spend some time putting it all together and trying to understand how it fits, you start to see that God’s Word comes together incredibly. The experience is like looking at something from various angles—it’s the same object, you’re just looking at it from a different perspective each time. Not only do we come to understand not what we think God says, but what He really does say, but we also comprehend our duty as a follower of God within His church better, so we can actually do it!
Help us spend time finding out what You want us to know in Your Word. Thank You that as we do so, You fit us all together into a holy temple in You! Amen.