Our Bible study should be a spiritual exercise and not just a mental one. The Bible is the living word of God, not a textbook. We should study the Bible out of a relationship with God, not religious ritual. Bible study should not be just about gaining knowledge, but the knowledge of God. We can only know God and His truth through His word.
Why did Paul say that we must study to be approved unto God? Aren’t we complete in Christ (Col. 2:10) and accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6)? We are approved as to our standing (unchangeable position in Christ), but he is talking about our state (changeable condition). We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our service. We will not serve God according to His will for this present age unless we rightly divide the word of truth (Rom. 14:10-19; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 4:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:9-11).
What is our motive in Bible study?
1. The fear of God, or man? (Prov. 29:25)
2. The approval of God, or man? (Jn. 12:42-43)
3. The judgment seat of Christ, or the judgment of men? (1 Cor. 4:3)
4. Charity, or pride? (1 Cor. 8:1; 13:2)
Does our Bible study cause us to grow spiritually? Do we study that we might help others, or look down on them? God knows our heart. Motive matters!