“STUDYING THE SCRIPTURES CORRECTLY”
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (I Timothy 4:13)
Every morning, the teacher would take her roll book and call out the names of each of her students. She wanted to make sure each one was in attendance because she had prepared a lesson plan for that day’s activities. Had I not been in attendance, I would have been deprived of that day’s lesson.
Paul said to young Timothy, “...give attendance…” meaning, “pay attention to; be cautious about; apply oneself to; be given to; have regard.” While being in attendance in a school setting means to “be there physically,” there are similarities to what Paul said to Timothy, i.e., be there in your mind and pay close attention and make application to yourself. Paul listed three primary elements for us to give attention to:
1. Reading. Reading is necessary in order to know about a certain subject in depth. Christians who do not read their Bibles faithfully will have a very shallow knowledge of what God’s Word says and what He wants them to know. There are other resources available to Christians, such as commentaries, Christian periodicals, magazines and books which offer a treasure chest of knowledge from some of the seasoned saints of the faith. Reading is where it begins. If you aren’t a reader, become one. Stop depriving yourself of what God wants you to know.
2.Exhortation. This word deals with “warning or encouragement.” A Christian who studies and is familiar with his Bible will certainly be able to recognize the times he should use exhortation on a weaker brother or unbeliever. “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9). “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). We who know the scripture have the responsibility of warning and encouraging our brethren to be faithful in all things.
3.Doctrine. Doctrine simply means “teaching.” Paul uses the word “doctrine” often in his epistles. We teach doctrinal truth as the basis of our beliefs. Many churches and pastors today proclaim that doctrine is not important. They contend we should just come together and speak of love and kindness; however, doctrine is important because it declares just exactly what we believe about God and His Word. The doctrine of God is emphasized in I Timothy 6:1. The doctrine which is according to godliness is emphasized in I Timothy 6:3. Paul wrote Timothy a second letter and proclaimed the profitability of God’s Word “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16). Doctrine is “what is right.”
Christian, you need to develop a systematic approach to the study of the scriptures. It will not only encourage and inspire you, but it will also enable you to edify others as you exalt your Savior. I challenge you to be a Christian who displays a hunger for the knowledge of the scriptures. I promise, you will be blessed.Pastor H. Preston Parker