Summary: Will you be ashamed when God tests your knowledge of the Word, both the written and living?
Many bible colleges have found that many kids coming from Christian homes and even in Christian schools from K-4 to 12 lack some basic Bible knowledge and interpretation skills.
Many people leave solid churches and end up in extremely Liberal churches and even cults. One study found that cults get most of their member from Baptist churches. Having been a Baptist pastor, I find that alarming, but not totally shocking. I have heard some pretty strange things over the years. I have asked for chapter and verse and did not always get one.
First good reason to study the Bible is because it is a command.
2Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We are to be diligent or study. Why? To show ourselves approved. We give tests all the time to determine competency and skill in schools and at our jobs. We are called to be ambassadors and servants in the Kingdom so we need to be competent and the Scriptures tell us how to do and live our calling.
Secondly, we want to be God approved.
We are to be approved unto God, not men or ourselves. Men err and we can justify many things if we do not study or take passages out of context. When we are at the BEMA, Christ will ask you what you did with the Word, not just what your pastor or teacher did with it. They will answer for themselves about what they told you.
Think of all the people that listened to the lads in Matt 7:21-25 who Christ never knew. Those leaders went to Hell because they thought they were right and those who followed them also most likely went to Hell because they did not study like the Bereans to see if these things were true.
It will not just be cult leaders. Many groups have also left off from sound doctrine. Some years ago I read where many men coming out of once sound seminaries no longer believe in Hell, the Virgin Birth or the inspiration of the Scriptures. Why they even want to be pastors beats me. In essence, they may be religion based Social Workers, but not really pastors.
Third, we do not want to be ashamed.
I heard the joke in bible college about a saint getting to glory and Habakkuk walks up and asks what the saint thought about his epistle. The saint had never heard of it. Oops! Awkward! I am afraid most of us would be in that place depending on which person asked us that question.
If the Bible is our textbook and tool box for the Christian life we want to be able to use it and use it correctly. Righting dividing or interpreting the Word of Truth is very important. We know the Sadducees did not do that as they did not believe in anything. The Pharisees knew a lot and believed a great deal of right things and yet blew it by twisting the Word to meet their need or greed. They were quite ashamed when they met God. We do not want to be that!
Should I study only the New Testament?
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
There was a time in history when the Christians wanted to burn the Old Testament and forget about it. A lad named Irenaeus had to stand up to stop that and explain why it was still important. When I was in my Homiletics and Expository Preaching classes I was pretty much the only one who regularly used passages from the OT. Most of my peers could not figure out how I could do that. Did God write it? Then in context it still has a lot to say to us. Sometimes that is the only way to understand some of what was said in the NT because Jesus and the Apostles referred back to it many times to teach or prove a point so it is still important.
So how important is detail?
Deuteronomy 5:32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.