Jesus Christ explained why it is so important for everyone to study the Bible: So that they may have "eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3, NIV). As we present various methods of Bible study this quarter, we first wish to emphasize that the Bible, the infallible Word of God, is its own interpreter. By this we mean that the Holy Spirit enables Christ's true followers to see the relationships between Bible passages, interpreting the message of one passage in the light of all other Bible truth on the same subject.
Never before in the history of the world has the Bible been more available to the general population. Versions of the sacred Scriptures abound that are targeted at and marketed for children, youth, young adults, and adults. But at the same time, there seems to be a famine of God's Word. We have Bibles everywhere--in hotels, motels, doctors' offices, libraries, and most homes in some countries. Yet research indicates that many are ignorant of what the Bible has to say, and still others seldom apply Bible truths to the practice of their religion.
The bible teaches us that being a disciple of Jesus Christ involves becoming acquainted with His Word. Ellen G. White suggests: "Through the study of the Bible, converse is held with patriarchs and prophets. The truth is clothed in elevated language, which exerts a fascinating power over the mind; the thought is lifted up from the things of earth, and brought to contemplate the glory of the future immortal life. What wisdom of man can compare with the grandeur of the revelation of God?" -- Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 130.
On a typical evening the average Christian may watch television for two hours or more but only spend minutes reading his or her Bible before bedtime. The Valuegenesis research in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists hints that less than one-third of families practice a regular worship using the Bible as their source and textbook. How can one know the will of God if there is only a brief encounter with His words? Thus this quarter's lessons direct us to a new understanding and application of skills in Bible study.
The goals of this quarter's lesson study are: (1) to underline the reason we study the Bible and (2) to put into practice various study methods. We want you to try new approaches in order to understand and apply significant Bible truth. Special attention will be given to the topic of Christian worship. But some study methods lend themselves better to other topics.
Jesus said: "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31,32, NKJV).