The Value of Bible Study
Study of both the Written and Living Word is required—“Scriptures able to make thee wise” (2 Timothy 3:15) and “Worlds were framed by the Word of God” (Hebrews 11:3). Two schools are needed—The Bible Institute and The School of Christ. From the first named it is possible to graduate since this deals primarily with the human brain; in the latter the lessons continue in life and beyond, since the teaching is for the heart.
The Bible is God’s university. You may get every doctrine you ought to have for yourself and others out of the Word of God. False doctrines come from vain imaginings. In the Bible you have your furnishing as a man of God. Furnished unto every good work. And in the Bible you have your enrichment for character.
Bible study is valuable because it is indispensable to God’s ministers. If you are going out from this Institute to do what God wants you to do, you are going out with your head full of the Word of God. You will know rightly how to divide the Word of Truth. And when you stand at the sacred desk, you will preach the Word of God, and if you are going to preach the Word of God you have got to know the Word of God through hard study. Some folks get it in flashes, and some folks absorb it, but for the most of us—just common garden variety folks like the most of us—we have got to get the Word of God through hard study.
Now I quite understand that Chicago needs a subway, but why preach about it? You have nothing to do with civic betterment in the pulpit. God is not going to send you out to take up cudgels in behalf of social purity or political righteousness in the pulpit; there you are to “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Why talk about the “shimmy” at all? As a matter of fact, they “shimmied” over in Africa before the “shimmy” came to Chicago and was danced on the Boulevard to raise war funds. And even now there is a difference between the jungle “shimmy” and the Chicago “shimmy.” It is worse. It wriggled its way out of the slime of Africa, across steamer decks to Europe before coming here.
Why talk about prize-fights and rum-fights, or anything of this kind? The man of God should never stand in the presence of a company of people that God has given him the message for, without preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified, without exalting the person of, and magnifying the work of the Lord Jesus. God sends us out to do just that thing. Leave politics to the people who are engaged in that work. It is all right to raise the cry, “turn the rascals out.” There will always be rascals, and they are always, strange to say, the party in power. Leave all of that to the world. Let the dead bury their dead.
When the Bible, through study, comes into your life, it will clean up your life in a remarkable way. Here is an illustration from the Old Testament. The religious secretary of King Josiah came rushing breathlessly into another of the underlings of the king, and he said, “I have found the book.” The book had been hidden. It is largely hidden today. The book was hidden under the debris of discarded temple things and moneybags. As soon as the book came out—here is the point—there was a general scrapping and a general destroying of the things that were robbing God’s people of their joy; that were defiling the land.
Unholy practices were going on. They had horses and chariots for the worship of the sun and the hosts of heaven. These were scrapped. There were tents around the statue of “Venus” for impurities called worship. And there were images and priests and dabblers in spirits. They had Baalism (sensuality), Naturism (materialism), and Wizardism (spiritism). All the present day vices under another costume and a little fresh paint. The same old hag after all. See how the world has been deluged with this spiritism. Only the other day one of our great papers printed a cablegram from Sir Oliver Lodge who felt it incumbent upon him to assure the world that his son, who was killed in France, had not come back from the dead. Dealers with the devil!
The answer to all this, which is unlike God and is contrary to the Spirit of Christ, is found in the Word of God. Therefore, Bible study is imperative. It is absolutely essential. Thank God for the Moody Bible Institute, and for every school that stands for the whole Bible and for the fundamentals of the faith.
Students, you who are going out into Christian service,—you will have to study in two schools. Now, the Scriptures will make you wise unto salvation, the Moody Bible Institute will be used of God to open up the Scriptures to you,—you will get your head filled with them, but there is the School of Christ. The worlds were framed by the Word of God. The Son of God, who created all things and by whom all things consist, has other teachings for you. You need one school for your head—the Bible School—and you need the other for your heart, which is the School of Christ. The two work together.
Somehow I think we shall go on after leaving earth learning in the School of Christ. Always some new and helpful thing to see. We think we know something of the Bible now. We consider it valuable to study. We have only touched the covers of the Bible, as it were. God will open up, in his own time, the wonderful wealth of it, and now God has hid in this Word great wonders which He is, as yet, unable to reveal to us. And so we need the School of Christ.
What are we to learn in the School of Christ? Learn to trust God. The hardest lesson God has to teach any of us. With simple hearts to look into His face, to lay our heads upon His bosom and refuse to fear and refuse to tremble, just trust Him. And so I would urge upon you students, while you are studying the Word of God, to learn to trust God. Trial teaches trust, so think it not strange when it comes.
A godly woman I knew could not study books. She could hardly read. One evening in a meeting she gave a remarkable testimony. She talked about going back to her humble room at the close of the day, after unsuccessfully looking for work. She did all kinds of menial tasks—washed clothes, scrubbed floors, work of that kind.
She was greatly used of God as a soul winner. She described an interview that she had had with Jesus. She sat on one side of the table and Jesus on the other side. She saw Him with the eye of faith, and began to talk to Him. She told how the tears ran down her cheeks and had watered the bread she was trying to eat. Just talking to Jesus, and Jesus talking back and teaching her. A woman came, knocked, then opened the door without waiting for an invitation, saw her sitting at the table, and said, “Who are you talking to?” “I am talking to Jesus.” “You are crazy.” “I am not crazy. The Lord talks to me. He speaks to my heart.”
It takes an anointed eye to see Jesus across a deal table on which is but a crust of bread. Only a bored eared (Exodus 21:6) servant could hear His voice in a bare tenement room.
We have not only the privilege of getting the Scriptures—the Word of God, the written Word—in our head for our education, for our enlightenment, so that we may rightly know how to divide it and give it unto others, but we are having the Word speak to our hearts and training us for service in the life of faith.
Thank God for these two schools in which we all may learn, and if we cannot excel in the one, all of us may have excellent marks in the other. May God show us the value of His Word and inspire us to it. The revival for which we are praying will come after the Word, which has been covered with the debris of centuries, is uncovered again, and men and women appreciate the institutions that stand for and teach the simple Word of God.