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Summary: Study for most is not fun but what can be learned by real study of Scripture?

THE IMPORTANCE OF BIBLE STUDY

Anyone who claims to be a Christian and bases that claim on a knowledge gained from the Bible will also have a desire to be pleasing to the One Who has provided the salvation promised in the Bible.

The desire to be pleasing to our Lord is not only something which we may wish to do in appreciation of what has been done for us, but primarily should be the result of what God has asked of those who believe His Word. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

The question of how to be pleasing to our Lord is one that should be considered very carefully.

Nowhere in the Word of God do we find a statement such as, "Do the best you can, and God will be pleased."

God does say in Hebrews 11:6, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." So, then, it is most important that we find out how to have faith. God answers in Romans 10:17, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Since God has declared faith necessary in order to please Him, and that this faith must come from His Word, then it follows that we must spend much time with the Word of God in order to be pleasing.

Many times we have heard Christians make the statement, "I would read and study my Bible more if it wasn't so hard to understand." Others, who do not claim to be Christians, will point to what they see as contradictions in the Bible as an excuse for not reading it.

The difficulty common to both of these groups is found in the approach taken when reading or studying the Bible.

In the first place, the Bible was not written as a novel. It is the inspired record of God's dealing with man since the foundation of the world. The Bible omits many of the details, but consistently maintains a word picture of the condition, as well as relationship, of man to his Creator. The Bible is used of God as a means of revealing Himself to men. Much of the Bible is a God-breathed history of His dealing with man. This history covers many thousands of years. It is written in the setting of the periods which it covers. Since the past ages differ so radically from our present, it is many times difficult to understand the setting of certain Scriptures. Just because we have never experienced certain events does not make them false. We human beings have a tendency to question any record of events which are outside the realm of our own experience. This is the point where faith must suffice. We must take God at His Word and believe it, even though we have never personally experienced anything of a similar nature.

Of course, there are those who go to an extreme and say, "There is no need for Bible research, for God has spoken and we must believe what He has declared without trying to understand." This statement is in direct disobedience of II Timothy 2:15, which states, "Study to show thyself approved unto God...."

Then there are those who insist that everything in the Bible is spoken directly to them, and therefore must be applied to their lives. Usually these give up in despair, or turn to pretense after a short period of diligent effort.

Faith is not reason, but God most certainly desires that our faith be reasonable enough to apply in our everyday Christian life. If we are clinging to some belief that cannot be made to fit into a practical Christian life, then it is possible that we are in error. (CAUTION) Do not spiritualize any portion...

...of God's Word in order to make it apply. Leave it in its own context and let God mean exactly what He says.

We maintain that the key to reading the Bible with understanding is found in the dispensational approach. Sometimes this method of Bible study is referred to as "Right Division" (II Timothy 2:15).

There are several types of Dispensational Bible Study. Differences arise over the definition of the term, "dispensation." We believe the Greek word oikonomia (translated dispensation) is most nearly expressed in English by the term "household with its management." Therefore, when we speak of dispensational Bible study, we are referring to that principle of Bible study which insists that any Scripture being considered must be related to the specific household being managed at that time. The context and setting in which any Scripture appears will establish the household under consideration.

One very important point to remember is that God may alter His management with any specific household many times, but if the same household is being managed, then it is still the same dispensation. In other words, there is a change in "household managements" only when there is a change in the household that is being managed. The word "management" alone will not fulfill the requirements necessary to be synonymous with "dispensation." There must be a "household" also. Many Bible teachers overlook this very important fact when they seek to define the term "dispensation."

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