Someone once approached a great Bible teacher and told him, "Sir, I would give the world to know the Bible as you do."
The teacher replied, "And that is exactly what it will cost you."
Would you give the world to know the Bible? By that I mean, would you be willing to give up something in exchange for knowing God's Word? This is what the Apostle Paul meant in Romans 12 when he wrote, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (v. 2). How do you renew your mind? By studying the Word of God.
If you have determined to study the Bible for yourself, I want to bring to your attention three principles from Proverbs 2 that will help you get the most out of Bible study.
First, listen to God and treasure His instructions (2:1). Recognize how valuable the Bible is and come with eagerness to God's Word. In Acts 2, we read of new believers who gladly received God's Word and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching. Acts 17 tells us about the believers in Berea who listened to Paul's message and searched the Scriptures day after day to see if the things he was saying were true. In the same way, we should hunger for the Word.
Second, pray for insight and understanding (v. 3). Ask God to open His Word to you. The psalmist prayed, "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law" (Psalm 119:18). The next time you open up your Bible, pray that God would illuminate the truth of His Word to your life and show you how to apply it.
As you read, slow down. Take a little time. I would rather read five verses with comprehension than 15 chapters of the Bible and never understand a word. Read slowly and carefully, contemplating what the verses say to you and how they apply to your life.
The word meditate appears in the Bible often. It means, "to chew something over." Think about it. Ponder it. Psalm 1 describes the blessed man as one who delights in the law of the Lord and "in His law he meditates day and night" (v. 2).
Third, seek it as though you were searching for lost money or hidden treasure (v. 4). As you read through the Bible, think of it as mining for gold. Do you look for a quarter if you drop it? I do. Do you look for a dime? I do. Do you look for a penny? I do, depending on the circumstances. If you want to get the attention of a crowd, then drop a pocketful of change on the ground. Everyone will stop to look for it, because there is value in money.
Let's say, for example, that you somehow misplaced $1 million. Do you think you would go searching for it? I think I would. If I will look for a quarter, then I would look for a million dollars. But there is more than a million dollars in the Word of God. There is buried gold in the pages of Scripture. But you need to get to it and search it and find what is in the Scriptures for you.
The Bible tells us, "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple...more to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold...and in keeping them there is great reward" (Psalm 19 7-11).
Fourth, apply what you learn in the Bible. Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed." To "abide" means to stay in a given place and draw your resources from something.
Let God's Word permeate your life and be at home inside of you. Let the Bible fill your life. After all, success or failure in the Christian life depends on how much of the Bible you get into your heart and mind on a daily basis and how obedient you are to it. If you have a deficiency of the Bible in your diet, then you will wither spiritually. If you have a regular diet of the Word of God, then you will be strong spiritually. Fall in love with the Bible, and you will never regret it.