Fall season at Wellspring means the re-launch of many ministries like Oasis, Home Groups, and Awana. As we dive into our in-depth Bible studies together, it's important to consider what the goal is. What is the goal when studying the Bible? This week I had the privilege of sharing with the Oasis ladies as they kicked off the new year with a wonderful luncheon. This is what I had to share with them:
There is nothing more important than studying to know the Word of God so that you truly KNOW the God of the Word. And that is the goal, to KNOW HIM. Bible study isn’t about knowledge for knowledge's sake. It’s not about practical wisdom for wisdom's sake. It’s not about getting certain feelings for the feelings' sake. It’s not about religious ritual for ritual sake, or spiritual discipline for discipline sake. It’s about KNOWING HIM, personally intimately, sincerely, all-consumingly.
This means, that to do Bible study right, we have to keep in mind the correct goal. What is the goal of Bible study? What is it you should be aiming for while you study the Bible this year? Because we all know that if we aim for the wrong target, we are sure to hit the wrong target every time. The ultimate goal of Bible study is WORSHIP. As John Piper says “Our ultimate goal in reading the Bible is that God’s infinite worth and beauty would be exalted in the everlasting, white-hot worship of the blood-bought Bride of Christ.”
This is, in fact, the goal of everything God is doing through history. But also, it is specifically the goal of Bible study. And the way this happens is supernatural, because the Bible is supernatural. And that is what you have to remember, is that you are not merely reading words on a page that go into your eyes and brain and inform you of things. You are reading God’s Word which is self-authenticating and bursting forth with spiritual GLORY that only those with spiritual eyes can see. God’s glory is bursting forth from these pages, and the goal is firstly SEEING that.
Our main problem is a spiritual sight problem. Paul speaks in Ephesians 1:18 of praying for the "eyes of our hearts to be enlightened." Because that is what we need. Why do we need that? Because 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says "The god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." So we are blind and only by God’s grace through salvation is the blindness removed. But it’s not removed perfectly until we get to heaven. We only see in a mirror dimly now, we still have sin clouding our judgment, and that is why we keep studying the word and praying earnestly for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and give us FULL, CLEAR VISION of God’s glory shining in the truth of Scripture.
When that happens is when true transformation happens in our lives. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says "We all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to the next." Becoming a mature Christian does not happen automatically. Someone who reflects the image of Christ is someone who has spent their life STARING at the glory of Christ and having that glory and image IMPRINTED upon them. Where is it that we STARE at the glory of Christ? It is in the Word of God.
So this year, study the Bible with the goal of seeing and savoring the beauty and worth of Christ in the pages of Scripture. This requires humbling yourself, confessing sin, praying fervently for God's help, and reading devotionally in a vertical relationship with God. Don’t make this a mere horizontal exercise, but a vertical pursuit of KNOWING God and being satisfied in Him.
In the love of Christ,