Are you certain of what God says in the Bible, or are you spiritually thrown off balance when you hear something that seems to contradict what you thought was true? God wants us to know what He says, and to be sure of it—to be firmly grounded in truth. But how can we make sure that we really know the truth?
“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” (Ephesians 4:14)
The way to really know what God says is by studying His Word. They say that Treasury agents are trained to recognize counterfeit bills not by being shown examples of fraudulent money, but by studying, over and over, the real thing. After spending so many hours examining every aspect of genuine bills, anything that doesn’t measure up stands out. It is exactly the same with truth. Jesus said, “…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) When we spend enough time studying the Bible, we can detect anything that doesn’t measure up to what God says. But why should we put so much effort into this—why should we spend the time to thoroughly understand what God says in the Bible?
One of the reasons we need to really know what God says is to avoid deception. Humans are amazing, yet because of sin our innate abilities frequently become skewed. Instead of honoring God with the brilliance they are endowed with, they can become deceived, deceiving others along with them. That is why there is such a variety of ideas out there, and so many different philosophies being taught. And while not all of them are necessarily bad, they do have to be carefully vetted against what the Bible says before we cluelessly buy into them and get hurt. Ultimately, whenever something doesn’t sound quite right, we always need to go back to the source—to do as the Bereans in the New Testament did when confronted with the teaching of the apostles, and search “the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things…[are] so.” (Acts 17:11)
Another reason for studying what God says is for confidence and spiritual wisdom. When we really know what God says, it doesn’t matter what others say, because we’ve gotten our information directly from the Source. We will confidently be able to say with David:
“You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies;
For they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
Because I keep Your precepts.” (Psalm 119:98-100)
Finally, perhaps the most important reason for faithfully and consistently studying the Bible is for personal assurance. At the moment of death we will stand before God on our own, so it is absolutely necessary that each of us individually search the Bible now to assure ourselves that we really believe what God says, not what someone said God says. We surely don’t want to be surprised at that point to find out that we misunderstood what He said. Hebrews 9:27, 31 tells us, “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment…It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” and 2 Corinthians 13:5a warns, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” We need to really know what God says so we can live our lives rightly in light of it, and the way to really know is by personal and regular Bible study!
Help us no longer “be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” Rather, help us “come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” In Your name, Amen.