Summary: From the book “How to succeed in the Christian life” by R A Torrey Currently published as: “Your Life in God”. Excerpts from Chapter 7 titled “Bible Study”
From the book “How to succeed in the Christian life” by R A Torrey
Currently published as: “Your Life in God”.
Excerpts from Chapter 7 titled “Bible Study”
There is nothing more important for the development of a Christian’s spiritual life than regular, systematic Bible study. It is as true in the spiritual life as in the physical life, that health depends on what we eat and how much we eat. ‘Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the moth of God’ (Matt. 4:4). The soul’s proper food is found in one book, the Bible.
Of course, a true minister of the gospel will feed us on the Word of God, but that is not enough. He feeds us only one or two days in the week, and we need to be fed every day. Therefore, we must learn to feed ourselves. We live in a day in which false doctrine is everywhere, and only the Christian who studies his Bible for himself, daily, will be safe from being led into error.
Through the study of the Bible, one will be sound in doctrine and led to see his sins and to put them away. He will find discipline in the righteous life and be equipped for all good works. Our spiritual health, growth, strength, victory over sin, soundness in doctrine, joy, and peace in Christ come from study of God’s Word. Cleansing from inward and outward sin and fitness for service all depend on daily study of the Bible.
The one who neglects his Bible is bound to be a failure in the Christian life. The one who studies his Bible in the right spirit and by a constant method is bound to make a success of the Christian life. This brings us face to face with the question, ‘What is the right way to study the Bible?’
A regular time should be set aside each day for Bible study. I do not think it is wise, as a rule, to say that we will study so many chapters a day, because that leads to undue haste, skimming, and thoughtlessness. But it is good to set apart a certain length of time each day for Bible study. Some can give more time to Bible study than others, but no one should devote less than fifteen minutes a day.
I set a short time span so that no one will be discouraged in the beginning. If a young Christian planned to spend an hour or two a day in Bible study, there is a strong probability that he would not keep the resolution and would become discouraged. Nevertheless, I know of many very busy people who have taken the first hour of every day for years for Bible study. Some have even given two hours a day.
It is important that one choose the right time for this study. Whenever possible, the best time for study is immediately after waking up in the morning. Of course, it is good to spend a little time just before we go to bed reading the Bible so that God’s voice will be the last voice we hear.
As you read, mark in your Bible what impresses you most. One does not need an elaborate marking system, simply highlight what impresses you. Think about what you mark. God affirms that the man who meditates on God’s law day and night is blessed (Psalm 1).
Memorize the passages that impress you most. ‘Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee’ (Ps. 119:11). When you memorize a passage of Scripture, memorize its location as well as the words. Study your Bible comparatively. In other words, compare Scripture with Scripture. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Wherever you find a difficult passage in the Bible, there is always another passage that explains its meaning. The best book to use in this comparison is The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. This book gives a large number of references on every verse in the Bible. You may want to take a particular book of the Bible and go through that book verse by verse. Look up and study every reference given in The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge dealing with that book. This is a very fruitful method of Bible study.
(Note: The computer program “PC Study Bible” by Biblesoft contains the same complete Treasury of Scripture Knowledge that Torrey used).
Study your Bible and believe it. The apostle Paul, in writing to the Christians in Thessalonica, said, ‘For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe’ (1 Thess. 2:13). Happy is the one who receives the Word of God as these believers in Thessalonica received it, as the Word of God. In such a person it is especially effective. The Bible is the Word of God, and we get the most out of any book by acknowledging it for what it really is.