In order to be made free from sin, Jesus stated that one must “know the truth” (John 8:32). In giving the necessary ingredients for developing the type of life that makes our “calling and election sure,” Peter lists “knowledge” as an essential ingredient (II Pet. 1:5-10). Paul prayed for the Ephesian saints, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:17-18). And for the “saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi,” Paul prayed, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment: That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:9-10). Peter’s last written exhortation before his death was, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (II Pet. 3:18).
The writer of the book of Hebrews reproved the Hebrew Christians, to whom he was writing, for their failure to grow in these areas, stating, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Heb. 5:12). Apparently they had failed to grow properly; and the reason most assuredly was their failure to “desire the sincere milk of the word that ye might grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:1-2).
God’s word is a light to guide us on the pathway of life (Psalm 119:105). The Scriptures “testify of Christ” (John 5:39). The words of Christ are “spirit and life” (John 6:63). They need to be “searched daily” to see “whether these things (the things being taught) are so” (Acts 17:11). We are to “study” in order that we might be “approved unto God” (II Tim. 2:15). And we will be judged out of the “things written in the books” (Rev. 20:12). Elders are charged with the responsibility to “feed the flock of God” (I Pet. 5:1-2; Acts 20:28). In order to fulfill this responsibility, times are set aside each week for studying the Bible in a public manner. Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings we have classes for all age groups. Faithful, knowledgeable teachers are provided to assist the elders in this. A great deal of time is given to this task by our teachers.
In view of all of these scriptural exhortations, why is it that some feel absolutely no need to attend Bible study on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights? These are periods where the Bible is able to be discussed and studied in far greater detail than in sermon format during the worship periods. Yet some never attend and others attend sporadically. In my growing-up years members of the Lord’s church were often referred to as “walking Bibles.” That was only true because many studied diligently and often God’s word. What has happened? I am sure I do not have all of the answers, but perhaps some of them. Man today has a great deal of gadgets and conveniences that seem to occupy more and more of our time. Maybe it is a failure to budget our time wisely. Paul said we must “redeem the time” (Eph. 5:16). Is it because we have not learned to put things in their proper order of importance? Jesus urges, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33).
This article is not meant merely as reproof, but a plea. Please examine your hearts and examine your knowledge. Examine your “reasons” (excuses) for not attending. Are your priorities set at the right place? Have you grown in knowledge as you should have, and are you continuing on a daily basis to increase your knowledge of God’s inspired Word? Are you capable of teaching others, or do you still only grasp a few of the first principles of the oracles of God? Why not resolve today to study your Bible daily and attend every service of the church provided for you to grow, including both Sunday morning and Wednesday evening Bible study periods? Don’t do it for me; don’t do it for the elders; don’t do it for anyone else. Do it for you, because YOU are the one who will benefit the most. Will you at least consider it?
Paul M. Wilmoth