Though John Werhas had achieved success as a professional ath.lete—playing baseball with such clubs as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the California Angels, and the San Diego Padres—he felt an inner emptiness. Instead of enjoying his status, Werhas found himself envying some of his friends, particularly those who had a life with family and faith. He sought out advice from a pastor who strongly suggested that Werhas begin to study the Bible. As he did, Werhas discovered the inner peace that had eluded him as a professional athlete. Today, Werhas is a California pastor. Because of his Bible study, Werhas discovered what countless people before him had learned: that through the Bible we experience God and gain insights into living. British writer John Flavel declared: “The Scriptures teach us the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying.”. Here are some other good reasons for studying the “Good Book.”
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . To know God. In her book Christian Spiritual Formation in the Church and Classroom Susanne Johnson says: “Christianity is not a self-help, self-improvement program for which spirituality is but the latest technique. It is a story that intends to render to us the character of the God we worship. In its bare bones, the storyline is of a God who creates, reconciles, and redeems the world. . . . [The Bible] also tells us how reality is to be construed and life to be lived in light of God’s character, depicted in the stories of Israel and Jesus.”.
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . Because Jesus Did. Referring to Jesus, the apostle Peter urges us to “follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21, NLT).. One way to do this is to study the Bible as Jesus did. Of course, the only Bible Jesus had was what we call the Old Testament. Yet He studied and knew that book thoroughly.We should do likewise with both the Old and New Testaments.
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . To Have Guidance For Daily Living. The Bible contains ancient wisdom that is highly applicable for life today. Minister and author A. W. Tozer writes: “The Holy Scriptures tell us what we could never learn any other way: they tell us what we are, who we are, how we got here, why we are here and what we are required to do while we remain here.”4 In an era in which there are few moral compasses, the Bible is an effective tool to guide us for living compassionate, loving lives dedicated to serving God and humanity.
A good example of one who is guided by biblical principles is retired professional basketball player David Robinson. Having been one of the top paid basketball players, Robinson was also one of the sport’s leading phi.lanthropists. In order to remain a more anonymous giver, Robinson made his donations through a foundation he established. He gives substantially to schools, homeless people, and children’s charities. Robinson explains his philosophy simply. “The Bible is very clear: Don’t do your good works before men to be cheered by men,” he says. “We do the right things because that’s what God told us to do.”5
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . and you will experience its transforming power. As we read the Bible, it, in turn, reads us. Scripture is not passive. Through study we are forced to think, feel, and act in new ways. Susanne Johnson said it so well: “The Bible, as a key witness to faith, does not just lie there inertly. It can exert tremendous life-changing power on us. We not only read and interpret the Bible, the Bible interprets us! It does things to us, for us, among us. Hence, we sense that through the Bible we encounter the liv.ing Word of God, God’s own self-revelation through Israel and in Jesus Christ.”6
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . in order to Become Stronger Spiritually. Consider the difference between a strong and a weak cup of tea. The same ingredients are used for both—water and dry tea. The difference is that the stronger cup of tea results from the tea leaves’ longer immersion in the water. A lengthier immersion allows the water more time to get into the tea and the tea into the water. In the same way, the length of time we spend in the Word of God determines how deeply we get into it and how deeply it gets into us. Just like tea, the longer we are in the Word, the “stronger” we become.
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . to Ease Stress. One benefit of Scripture study is in its power to lighten life’s stresses. One professor of medicine recommends that we spend at least 15 to 20 minutes daily in the Bible; that will help us deal with the stresses that life inevitably brings.
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . to derive comfort in times of trial. Believers have always turned to Scripture for hope and comfort when facing difficulty. It is in the Bible where we read about the God who knows us, loves us, cares for us, and, ultimately, does what is right for us. We can get tremendous comfort from studying the Bible and what it tells us about God’s love for us.
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . to enjoy continuing Spiritual and intellectual Growth. The Christian never “graduates” when it comes to spiritual growth and development. Throughout all of life both spirit and mind must be nourished and challenged continuously through the study of Scripture. British minister Charles H. Spurgeon observed: “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the Book widens and deepens with our years.”7
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . in order to Better deal with life’s issues. One avid Bible student was Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell. Gren.fell did medical mission work in Canada’s rugged Newfoundland province. He not only studied the Bible; he committed vast amounts to memory. “To me the memorizing of Scripture has been an unfailing help in doubt, anxiety, sorrow, and all countless vicissitudes and problems of life,” he wrote. “I believe in it enough to have devoted many, many hours to stowing away passages where I can never leave them behind me nor be unable to get to them.”8
• STUDY THE BiBLE . . . and you may live longer and healthier. Cardiac surgery patients who said they received strength and comfort from their faith were three times more likely to survive after surgery than those who did not, ac.cording to a study of 232 men and women done at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.9 Likewise, in a study of 112 women, researchers at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro reported a link between high “religiosity” and lower blood pressure, even when lifestyle factors such as weight, smoking, alcohol use, and diet were taken into account.
In fact, being “religious” had an even stronger beneficial effect on the women’s blood pressures than did other health habits, good or bad.10
Thus, we’ve looked at a few “good reasons” for studying the “Good Book.” No doubt there are many more. You might even have a few of your own. The bottom line: Take time to read the Word of God. Your life will be better for it. Just ask John Werhas.