When I was in school, I tried to get the best grade with the least amount of effort. I developed a system where I didn’t have to truly study for tests. I took notes in class on what the professor said. The day before the test, I simply read my notes and got a good grade. It worked so well that I quit buying textbooks at college and saved a ton. Then i had one professor who lectured and lectured every class, but when the test came, none of what he lectured was on it. I asked him where the material came from on the test, he simply replied, “From the textbook. Haven’t you been doing the daily readings?” I had a choice to make, I could drop the class and lose that money or I could buy the textbook and read. That was one of the few textbooks i bought.
There’s a lot of people who approach Christianity the way I did college. They show up for a Sunday lecture, but never open the textbook between Sunday’s. I’ve tried that too and it doesn’t work. You can never know if what’s being taught is true or not unless you know what the Bible says. In Acts 17, Paul and Silas were preaching in Berea. Their message was intriguing, but different than they had ever heard. They didn’t just accept it because they were good speakers or spoke with authority. Verse 11 says, “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” (NLT).
As believers, you and I must learn to search and study the Scriptures ourselves. Then use the tools that are available today to understand the context of them. After that we must meditate on them and learn how to apply them to our lives. Hearing and reading other people’s interpretation of them is good, but nothing replaces your study of the Scripture. Psalm 119:27 says, “Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.” If you struggle to understand the Bible, ask God to reveal it to you in a way you can understand. God doesn’t want you to be in the dark about what He says. Remember it is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105), and you are to hide it in your heart to keep you from sin (Psalm 119:11). God gave us this textbook to help us. Make sure you read it.