By Ps Tan Hui Ru
Bible study is very important to us. We hear God’s Word preached every Sunday, and we gather in small groups throughout the week to read God’s Word and ponder over it. We do this because we love God, and we want to know more about Him. Yet being a Christian is not simply about having more knowledge about God. Romans 10:2-4 reminds us that the Israelites were zealous for God and knew much about God, yet they missed the one important thing to know about God, which is Christ. We have Christ, but I sometimes wonder if we’ve mistaken knowing about Christ for knowing Christ. They sound similar, but they are worlds apart.
Knowing about people or things is relatively easy (students may disagree with me here), but truly knowing someone or something is a wholly different ballgame. Intimate knowledge of someone or something requires much time spent with him/her/it – this, we do well. But not just that! It also requires us to consider ourselves in relation to the person or thing we are trying to know. That is much more difficult.
How should we be studying the Bible then? Here I look to the psalmist in Ps 119 for direction. Ps 119 is like the A-Z of studying God’s Word; the psalmist covers all the letters in the Hebrew alphabet as he considers what studying God’s Word means, enumerates what he does as he tries to internalise God’s Word, evaluates his walk with God against the yardstick of God’s Word, and pleads with God to help him to not just learn but understand and live according to God’s Word. It is the full integration of God’s Word with our lives that we struggle with. We are content with simply knowing about God through His Word, but not truly knowing Him. We are so excited about what we are learning, and we forget to ask the even more important follow-up question: so what?
May we delight in God’s Word as much as the psalmist does. May we carefully consider our lives in relation to God’s Word and live our lives truly knowing God.