“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
All Christians have an obligation to increase in their knowledge and understanding of the Lord. To do this, we must become more acquainted with His word. But how are we to do this? In this article we will notice six things we can do to grow in knowledge of the word of God.
Read the Bible
Though this may seem obvious, we should not neglect to mention it. The will of God has been revealed through the Spirit and has been written down by the apostles and other inspired men (1 Corinthians 2:10-13). It has been “once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3). This revealed will of God is easily accessible to us today in the Bible.
Knowledge of God’s word is not going to be given to us miraculously. Since the completed revelation has been handed down to the saints, the partial bits of revelation that were once given directly to individuals are no longer continue and are no longer necessary (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). It is up to us to see to it that the information from God gets into our minds. The most basic way of doing this is through reading. This is why Paul told Timothy, “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture” (1 Timothy 4:13).
Meditate Upon His Word
Reading the Bible is obviously a good exercise (reading everyday, reading the Bible through in a year, etc.); but reading without comprehending, retaining, and applying what we read is useless. We become the one who is criticized as a “forgetful hearer” (James 1:25). In that context, James mentioned doing, which we will consider later in this article. But retaining knowledge is essential before we can practice these things.
God expects us to be thoughtful people (cf. Philippians 4:8). What we think about is important. Therefore, we should meditate upon God’s word. The psalmist wrote of the blessed man: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). David also wrote, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). Meditating upon God’s word will help us to retain, memorize, and recall it later.
Listen to Instruction
The Lord expects us to listen. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Luke 8:8). In this context, Jesus was discussing the teaching of the gospel and how we might respond to it. When the word is taught, we must be like the Bereans who “received the word with great eagerness” (Acts 17:11).
There are a few reasons why we should be eager to listen in addition to just reading by ourselves. First, by listening we might learn something new, just as the Athenians hoped to do (Acts 17:19-20, 32-34). Second, we might be reminded of something we had forgotten (1 Timothy 4:6; Hebrews 2:1). Third, we might gain a better understanding of a particular topic as someone explains to us “the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:24-26).
Study the Scriptures
The Bereans were “noble-minded” because they listened eagerly (as noted in the previous point) and because they were “examining the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11). Studying is more than just reading, listening, and memorizing. It involves us developing a deeper knowledge of the Scriptures, allowing us to learn how to “accurately [handle] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Some Bible questions and subjects are more difficult than others. Peter acknowledged this. Referring to Paul’s letters, he wrote, “As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). But it is important to note that Peter said some things were hard to understand, but not impossible to understand. No matter who we are, God expects us to grow in our knowledge and understanding throughout our lives (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Practice What You Learn
James made a connection between not doing God’s will and forgetting His will: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-25).
Our natural response to hearing God’s word should be obedience (James 1:22). Doing God’s word and remembering His word go hand in hand. As we develop behavioral habits, we retain instructions better. This allows us not only to better commit God’s instructions to memory, but also to build upon what we already know in order to reach a greater level of maturity.
To teach, one must have a competent level of knowledge on the subject he intends to teach. One who needs to learn the “elementary principles of the oracles of God” cannot be a teacher of the word but must be taught himself (Hebrews 5:12). Even if one has a desire to teach, if he does not understand the law of God, he will fail in his effort (1 Timothy 1:7).
In order to be able to teach, one must know the truth well enough to be able to accurately represent the Scriptures (1 Peter 4:11). One must know enough to be able to handle potential questions that arise (1 Peter 3:15). Furthermore, one must know enough to be able to defend the truth against attack (Titus 1:10-11). Of course, we will never have all of the answers to every possible question or objection; but preparing for these as best we can will certainly help us grow in knowledge.
ANDY SOCHOR – plainbibleteaching.com