I've heard people say we should be "students" of the Word. What does that mean, really?
First of all, it is helpful to define the word student. One dictionary describes a student as one devoted to learning—a pupil, a scholar—especially one who attends a school or who seeks knowledge from teachers or books. The essence of being a student of the Word is that the best way to read the Bible, since it is crucial to what motivates a believer and central to his or her life choices, is to read it attentively, using good resources. The good news is you don’t have to be a scholar to do this. My grandfather never graduated from college, but he was a memorable pastor, had a great library, and knew the Bible well. My mother knew as much if not more than a Bible college graduate because she loved and studied the Bible. I would consider them both students of the Word.
In fact, we can read the Bible every day obediently and still not get much out of it if we don’t pay attention to detail. To be a student of the Word means to read it through, engaging with the text, writing down your questions, looking up words you don’t understand, or maps to place the locations. To understand the biblical context, the history, the purpose of the writing, the meaning of the passages, you can use a good Bible commentary or even talk with your pastor or a Bible teacher. When we become students of anything, whether cooking, car mechanics, or an academic discipline, it means learning in an organized, in-depth fashion. We expend effort to really understand and grow in the area of our choosing. It is a worthy goal for every believer to be a student of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15).