growth group week eighteen:
GROWING THROUGH DILIGENT STUDY 

Week 18
Day 1: 1st Thessalonians 1-2
Day 2: 1st Thessalonians 3-4
Day 3: 1st Thess 5-2nd Thess 1
Day 4: 2nd Thessalonians 2-3
Day 5: 1st Timothy 1-2

Focal passage: 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16–17
In the last several weeks we have been looking at how we grow through God's word. We have looked at the importance of obeying the word of God and consistently reading the word of God with a prayerful heart and meditation through the word of God. This week we would like to focus on the importance of diligently studying the word of God. A lot of Christians are deficient in this area. Many people in the body of Christ believe that it is not their job to study the word and that studying the Bible is something only for pastors and theologians. But God's word was written to the common man so that he might understand God and grow through the word.
God's word is to be diligently studied by all believers. This is how you and I can truly know God and understand who He is. Through consistent and diligent study of God’s word, you and I will be able to navigate God's will in the middle of an ungodly world. 
There is a big difference between a believer who diligently studies God's word and a believer who simply reads through the word devotionally. We have already looked at the importance of reading our Bibles devotionally. Now we want to turn our attention to what it means to study the Bible. The apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” There are many ways to study God's word, but I think the best place for us to start is using the Inductive Bible Study method (IBS). There is not enough space here to go into this method but there are some great resources that you can find to help you understand IBS. From time to time we offer classes on how to study the Bible. In brief, our goal is to not just read our Bibles, but to understand what they mean. This is what Paul refers to when he says, “rightly divide the word of truth". As we see in this passage, it will require diligence and hard work. Through my many years of pastoring I have noticed that those who study God's word are strong in their faith and their walk with the Lord is solid, whereas those who do not diligently study the word of God struggle in their walk with the Lord and make life decisions without the Bible’s direction.

Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16–17,  “16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,  17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We learn so much from this passage of scripture. First off, we see that all Scripture is God breathed. The word inspired literally means God breathed. Secondly, we see that the word of God will profit a person’s life. Paul says it is profitable… for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Christians are often seeking God and asking Him to bless their lives. The way that God will bless a Christian’s life is through them diligently studying the word and then doing what it says. There are four areas that the word of God will profit us in.

#1. Doctrine: This word means teaching or instruction. You and I will be profited in our lives spiritually as we receive the teaching and instruction that comes from the word of God.

#2. Reproof: This word refers to rebuke or conviction. The word of God rebukes us and brings about the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our life. Conviction is a gift from God and without it we would be lost and wallowing in our own sin. Never look at conviction as condemnation, they are two very different things. Condemnation is judgment and only brings about punishment, whereas conviction shows us where we are wrong so that we can repent and turn to God that we might be changed. Without conviction none of us would be changed but we would remain the same.

#3. Correction: This word refers to taking something that is crooked and making it straight. It was used in the first century for a physician setting a broken bone. I love this word because it refers to the healing work that God does through His word in our lives. We are broken and He corrects us so that we might be healthy once again. The word of God has power to transform you, it doesn't just show us where we're broken. It literally corrects us so that we might be healed and whole again.

#4. Instruction in righteousness: This word refers to training us up. We get the concept of discipleship through this word. The word of God disciples us so that we might be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Without the word of God, you and I are weak and broken. But through the word of God, He will heal our lives and train us up to be the men and women He wants us to be. Without diligently studying the word of God, we will not be able to grow in the way that God intended us to grow.


Questions:
  1. What is the difference between reading your Bible devotionally and studying your Bible?

2. What are some of the benefits in studying the word based on 2 Timothy 3:16-17?

3. If you are one that studies the word, share with the group some of the things you have learned about how to study the Bible and what tools you might use that are helpful to you.

Action steps:
As a group commit to studying a small epistle in the New Testament a couple hours a week. I encourage you to choose the same book so that you can encourage one another in your studies and hold each other accountable to be diligent in this. You could start with a few hours and increase it as time goes on. I encourage you to start with the book of James.