We are encouraged over and over in the scriptures to read and be diligent to know God’s Word. Many believe they know the Bible, but really only know what men have told them the Bible says. There is a difference, and it is a difference that makes a difference!

Why are there so many conflicting doctrines in the world? Why are there so many who believe conflicting doctrines even in the Lord’s church? There are several reasons but one basic cause is as old as our faith! People just don’t know what God’s doctrines are and so they follow whatever doctrine sounds or feels right.

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5: 11-14 NASB)

Do you know the scriptures well enough to be able to discern good and evil? Can you, because of your constant and diligent study, tell the truth from a lie (Ephesians 4: 14)? You can’t be fooled by a lie if you know the truth! Some teachings and arguments sound really reasonable until they are compared with God’s truth.

For far too long many Christians have been satisfied to sit back and let others tell them what to believe! Are you guilty of this kind of “Bible Study”? Do you only “study” your Bible on Sunday morning and Wednesday night when you are in a class and the teacher is sharing his or her hours of preparation with you? God praises the Jews at Berea for their diligent study, “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11 NASB).

When you have a question about what God wants, do you ask a friend, family member, or your preacher for the answer? When you have a question about what God wants do you sit down with your Bible and see what He has revealed in His inspired Word? Do you study for yourself what our God has told us He wants from us and for us? It is fine to ask for guidance in our study, but to ask another person for answers is dangerous at best. Remember the admonition of Paul to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2: 15 NASB)

—Mike Webb