II Timothy 2:15, Study to show thyself approved unto God
a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing
the word of truth.
Pastor Tony Bispo teaching a class of students.
11 Reasons To Study The Bible
By Loren on April 23, 2012
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)
The goal and mission of this website is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ through the diligent and orderly study of His Word. “Answers From The Book” exists for the purpose of Bible study. But why do we study the Bible in the first place and what do we hope to gain from it? Within the Scriptures themselves are contained several passages that tell us specifically what we can achieve through the regular reading and study of the Word of God. No other book promises so many advantages and benefits to the one who examines it and believes what it says. Let’s take a closer look at some of the rewards of studying the Bible:
2 Timothy 3:16 lists four “profitable” things that can be obtained through the study of Scripture. The first of these is doctrine. Doctrine is the body of beliefs, principles, and teachings foundational to the Christian Faith. It is the core tenets that comprise the basic, indisputable precepts that define what every Christian should believe. The fundamental doctrines of Christianity are based in what the Bible teaches and can be supported by specific Scriptures verifying their legitimacy.
If we wish to know what we believe and why we believe it, we should make Bible study a regular habit in our Christian walk. Every Christian should be able to articulate the basic tenets of what they believe and should be able to locate supporting Bible verses to demonstrate why they believe what they do. It is unfortunate that so many believers are unfamiliar with the Word of God. Some churches and denominations have accepted and promoted erroneous doctrines over time that find no basis or foundation in the Bible, but are rather the traditions of men that have replaced the authority of Scripture (cf. Mark 7:13, Col. 2:8). Which brings us to our second benefit:
While there might be some subtle distinctions between what might constitute a reproof as opposed to a correction, for our purposes here, I am grouping them together. The idea is that the study of God’s Word can set us straight when we are either doing or believing something that violates its teachings. It can show us where we are wrong, so long as we are willing to look at the Bible objectively and with an open heart. Many of those false doctrines we considered in the last section can be corrected if we believe that the Bible has a higher authority than the traditions of men. If we are willing to concede that , whenever we are in disagreement with the Word of God in our beliefs or actions, it is the Bible that is right and we who are wrong, then the study of Scripture can help us to be renewed by the transforming of our minds as we are conformed to be more like our Lord (Rom. 12:2, 8:29).
Instruction In Righteousness
Those first baby steps for a newborn Christian can be both very exciting and very confusing. There is a joy and zeal that elates the new believer as they contemplate a life in Christ that is free from guilt and condemnation. Yet there is also a realization that many of the aspects of the old life simply cannot continue in the new. What is permissible, what is not? What pleases God and what offends Him? In short, how now do we live?
Diligent study of the Word, along with the indwelling conviction of the Spirit of God Who wrote the it, can clarify these concerns. We discover by examining the Bible those things that please the Lord and those things which do not. The Bible instructs the Christian in righteousness by showing him how he can live a God-honoring life and fulfill the Lord’s purposes in his own walk.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)
On the flip side of “Instruction in righteousness” is the avoidance of sin. The Bible not only shows the Christian what to do but also what not to do. Scripture should not be viewed as a guidebook of rules and regulations to be rigorously complied with, but when we diligently study it, when we hide it in our hearts, making its teachings an integral part of who we are, our sensitivity to those things that offend God and displease Him becomes far more acute. Regular, meaningful time spent in the Word will do much to keep us from sinning against the Lord. It is the power of the Holy Spirit within the believer that overcomes the power of sin and temptation, and a working knowledge of His Word brings a closeness that keeps us “plugged into” that power Source.
Light To Our Path
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
The answers to all of life’s problems and challenges can be found in the Bible. God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, showing us which way to go. In times of crisis, some have randomly flipped to a verse of Scripture, hoping to find a word of direction as one might seek to know the future through the opening of a fortune cookie. But it is not in the moments of desperation that we should decide to turn that light on any more than we would drive for miles in the dark, waiting to turn on our car’s headlights only after we have already crashed into something. God never intended His people to wait for an emergency situation in order to consult His Word, but to walk daily in the light of it. It is through the knowledge of the precepts of Scripture that we continuously walk in the illumination of the Light of the Word.
“The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;” (Proverbs 1:1-2)
So opens the Book of Proverbs. The express purpose of this book of the Bible is to impart wisdom on its readers, and the same can really be said for the study of any book of the Bible. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 tells us that God has revealed to us the mind of Jesus Christ through the teachings of the Holy Spirit. The teachings of the Holy Spirit can be found in His Word. If anyone wants to know what Jesus thinks about a particular subject or what Jesus would do in a given situation, we need look no further than the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, the Bible. The Bible contains the thoughts and wisdom of God Almighty. Study of Scripture can actually cause us to begin to think like He does and see things from His perspective.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)
Do you lack faith or is your faith weak? All of us can experience a crisis of faith from time to time. Where do we go that our faith might be strengthened? Straight into the Word because that’s where faith begins! A strong and vibrant faith in God is exercised through the regular study of His Word. Spending quality time in Scripture has a way of fortifying our faith against the doubts and fears that can test it.
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31)
Isn’t that a wonderful passage from John’s Gospel? John tells us specifically why he has taken the time to write this book. The reason given here is really the same reason that the entire bible was written: so that we might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that we might be saved by believing on Him. Neither the Gospel of John nor any other portion of Scripture was written simply to inform, entertain, or satisfy curiosity. The Bible is not intended to be a scientific textbook, historical primer, or dramatic narrative for the purpose of amusement. It is a book to be read thoughtfully and carefully, a book to be believed and trusted. Its primary purpose is to bring the reader to faith in Jesus Christ so that, believing, they will have Eternal Life.
“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)
After recounting several of the pitfalls that befell the Hebrews in their experience in the Wilderness, the Apostle Paul explains that these were all recorded in the Old Testament as examples for us to learn from. The reason that we read about so many of the shortcomings of people in the Bible is so that we might learn from their mistakes, lest we commit the same errors. It has been said that life is too short to make all of the mistakes ourselves, so the wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Not only does the Bible provide several examples of people who pleased God, but many who did not. We can learn much from the experiences of both.
“And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:4)
What can be more exciting, more joyous than learning about the wonderful things that God has in store for those who trust Him? What joy it brings to contemplate that the Lord is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). People will spend hours poring over every word of the driest, most boring legal and technical documents if they believe that they stand to gain a little money by doing so. If a person believes that they might inherit something, they have no problem reading every detail of a relative’s last will and testament. Yet how many people will spend that kind of time reading the Book that guarantees so much more than money that is quickly spent and riches that do not last?
“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)
The Apostle John wrote his Gospel so that we might believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and his First Epistle so that we might be filled with joy. But it is in the Book of Revelation that he promises blessings from the Lord to all who read and keep the words of it. A lot of people, even many Christians, are absolutely terrified to read through the Book of Revelation with its sometimes disturbing imagery. But this is the only book of the Bible that specifically promises a blessing for the diligent study of it.
Honestly, we could really extrapolate this promise to include the entire Bible because blessings are certainly in store for the one who reads and studies every portion of it. Looking back to the verse from 2 Timothy that we began with, we see that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable… (2 Tim. 3:16). We have looked at just a few of the blessings and benefits promised to those who make serious Bible study an integral part of their Christian walk. Spending prayerful time in the Word of God is really the only way to grow spiritually and become the people that God wants us to be.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth - #2
by C.I. Scofield
The Seven Dispensations
- See also a chart of the Seven Dispensations (opens in new browser window, with chart at top and scripture references in lower windows), or, same chart in full window (without lower windows).
The Scriptures divide time (by which is meant the entire period from the creation of Adam to the "new heaven and a new earth" of Rev 21:1) into seven unequal periods, usually called dispensations (Eph 3:2), although these periods are also called ages (Eph 2:7) and days, as in "day of the Lord".
These periods are marked off in Scripture by some change in God's method of dealing with mankind, or a portion of mankind, in respect of the two questions:  of sin, and  of man's responsibility. Each of the dispensations may be regarded as a new test of the natural man, and each ends in judgment, marking his utter failure in every dispensation. Five of these dispensations, or periods of time, have been fulfilled; we are living in the sixth, probably toward its close, and have before us the seventh, and last: the millenium.
- [NOTE (from the editor): The changing order, from one dispensation to the next, demonstrates again and again man's sinful condition and need for salvation. However, contrary to a common misunderstanding, the various dispensations do not represent differing ways of salvation. As the last column in the accompanying chart shows, personal salvation has always been by Grace through Faith. In all ages, the basis of salvation is the death of Christ. The means of access to salvation is faith. The object of faith is God. The content of faith depends on the revelation given to that time. The essential elements, running through all ages, are: (1) the substitutionary blood sacrifice, and (2) the promised Seed, the Savior.]
- 1. Man Innocent-
- This dispensation extends from the creation of Adam in Genesis 2:7 to the expulsion from Eden. Adam, created innocent and ignorant of good and evil, was placed in the garden of Eden with his wife, Eve, and put under responsibility to abstain from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The dispensation of innocence resulted in the first failure of man, and in its far-reaching effects, the most disastrous. It closed in judgment: "So He drove out the man."
See Gen 1:26, Gen 2:16,17, Gen 3:6, Gen 3:22-24.
- 2. Man under conscience-
- By the fall, Adam and Eve acquired and transmitted to the race the knowledge of good and evil. This gave conscience a basis for right moral judgment, and hence the race came under this measure of responsibility - to do good and eschew evil. The result of the dispensation of conscience, from Eden to the flood (while there was no institution of government and of law), was that "all flesh had corrupted his way on the earth", that "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually", and God closed the second testing of the natural man with judgment: the flood. See Gen 3:7,22, Gen 6:5,11-12, Gen 7:11-12,23.
- 3. Man in authority over the earth-
- Out of the fearful judgment of the flood, God saved eight persons, to whom, after the waters were assuaged, He gave the purified earth with ample power to govern it. This, Noah and his descendants were responsible to do. The dispensation of human government resulted, upon the plain of Shinar, in the impious attempt to become independent of God, and closed in judgment: the confusion of tongues. See Gen 9:1,2, Gen 11:1-4, Gen 11:5-8.
- 4. Man under promise-
- Out of the dispersed decendants of the builders of Babel, God called one man, Abram, with whom He enters into covenant. Some of the promises to Abram and his descendants were purely gracious and unconditional. These either have been or will yet be literally fulfilled. Other promises were conditional upon the faithfulness and obedience of the Israelites. Every one of these conditions was violated, and the dispensation of promise resulted in the failure of Israel and closed in the judgment of bondage in Egypt.
The book of Genesis, which opens with the sublime words, "In the beginning God created", closes with "in a coffin in Egypt". See Gen 12:1-3, Gen 13:14-17, Gen 15:5, Gen 26:3, Gen 28:12-13, Ex 1:13-14
- 5. Man under the law-
- Again the grace of God came to the help of helpless man and redeemed the chosen people out of the hand of the oppressor. In the wilderness of Sinai, He proposed to them the covenant of the law. Instead of humbly pleading for a continued relation of grace, they presumptuously answered: "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." The history of Israel in the wilderness and in the land is one long record of flagrant, persistent violation of the law, and at last, after multiplied warnings, God closed the testing of man by law in judgment: first Israel, then Judah, were driven out of the land into a dispersion which still continues. A feeble remnant returned under Ezra and Nehemiah, of which, in due time, Christ came: "Born of a woman - made under the law." Both Jews and Gentiles conspired to crucify Him. See Ex 19:1-8, 2King 17:1-18, 2King 25:1-11, Act 2:22-23, Act 7:51-52, Rom 3:19-20, Rom 10:5, Gal 3:10.
- 6. Man under grace-
- The sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ introduced the dispensation of pure grace, which means undeserved favor, or God giving righteousness, instead of God requiring righteousness, as under the law. Salvation, perfect and eternal, is now freely offered to Jew and Gentile upon the acknowledgment of sin (ie., repentance), with faith in Christ.
"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." (Joh 6:29) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life..." (Joh 6:47) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth Him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life." (Joh 5:24, RV) "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish." (Joh 10:27-28) "For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, that no man should glory." (Eph 2:8-9, RV)
The predicted result of this testing of man under grace is judgment upon an unbelieving world and an apostate church. See Luke 17:26-30, Luke 18:8, 2The 2:7-12, Rev 3:15-16.
The first event in the closing of this dispensation will be the descent of the Lord from heaven, when sleeping saints will be raised and, together with believers then living, caught up "to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1The 4:16-17)
Then follows the brief period called "the great tribulation". See Jer 30:5-7, Dan 12:1, Zeph 1:15-18, Mat 24:21-22.
[Note (from the editor): Some teachers number the Tribulation as one of the dispensations, while combining the dispensations of Promise & Law. However, we see the Tribulation as a period of culmination, during which human civilization crumbles under the weight of the combined features of its ages long rejection of God. The Lord has limited this period to a short 7 years, to prevent man's self-destruction.]
After this, the personal return of the Lord to earth in power and great glory occurs, and the judgments which introduce the seventh, and last dispensation. See Mat 25:31-46 and Mat 24:29-30.
- 7. Man under the personal reign of Christ-
- After the purifying judgments which attend the personal return of Christ to the earth, He will reign over restored Israel and over the earth for one thousand years. This is the period commonly called "the millenium". The seat of His power will be Jerusalem. The saints, including the saved of the dispensation of grace, namely the church, will be associated with Him in His glory. See Isa 2:1-4, Isa 11, Acts 15:14-17, Rev 19:11-21, Rev 20:1-6.
But when Satan is "loosed for a little season", he finds the natural heart as prone to evil as ever, and easily gathers the nations to battle against the Lord and His saints. This last dispensation closes, like all the others, in judgment. The great white throne is set, the wicked dead are raised and finally judged. And then come the "new heaven and a new earth". Eternity is begun. See Rev 20:3,7-15, [2Pet 3:10-14], Rev 21 and 22.
Return to the Table of Contents for "Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth."
Return to the Intro & Resource Menu.