As a teenager at Oxford, George Whitefield spent hours upon hours devouring the Scriptures, in both English and in their original languages. After reading the text, he would often pray over “every line and every word,” until it became a part of him. One biographer notes, “Whitefield’s spiritual devotion was established upon his immovable commitment to the Bible.”
The Bereans in Acts 17:10–15 had a similar passion for reading and learning God’s Word. When Paul and Silas visited them sometime around 51 AD, they were eager to hear the message of the traveling missionaries (v. 11). After they heard about the good news of Jesus, they had examined the Law and the Prophets, also known as the Old Testament Scriptures, to see if what Paul and Silas were saying was true.
They wanted to verify the Hebrew Scripture for themselves, to see if it was fulfilled in Christ. Both the Jews and prominent Greeks living in Berea came to realize that Jesus was indeed the one, true Savior (v. 12). The Bereans’ open posture and their willingness to examine the Scriptures changed not only their lives but also their community. Opposition would soon filter in from Thessalonica (v. 13), but these new believers remained steadfast and unwavering in their faith about God and what the Scriptures said about Him.
Nearly 1700 years later, the great evangelist George Whitefield expressed the importance of studying God’s Word. He said, “If we once get above our Bibles and cease making the written Word of God our sole rule both as to faith and practice, we shall soon lie open to all manner of delusion and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.” We should never underestimate the importance of studying God’s Word.
>> It can be helpful to study the Bible in a larger, more structured setting. Is there a Bible study you can join? Or, maybe you can enroll in an online Bible or theology class?