Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Bible study

Intentional Bible Study – Part 2


Intentional Bible study is not enough.

That may not be what you expect to hear from a Bible teacher. But it’s true. Studying the Bible is not enough.

Last week, I wrote about several non-negotiables we should practice when we open the Bible. Non-negotiables such as having a high view of God, prioritizing conviction over feelings, and understanding context.

Bible study is important. Don’t get me wrong. Of course, we should memorize Scripture. And studying the original language is often helpful in understanding our modern translations. But why do we study? Why memorize? Is our goal to amass intellectual storehouses of facts? To establish our expertise in all things biblical? Or is it something else?

Pastor and author Francis Chan illustrated this beautifully. As he described, when he told his daughter to clean her room, he did not expect her to return an hour later, proclaiming, “Dad, I memorized what you said.”

Or announcing she invited friends to a weekly meeting to study what he meant.

And he did not expect her to brag that she learned to translate his command into Greek or Hebrew.

Instead, he expects her to do what he said!

What does the Bible say we should do with its content?

  • “Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you’ve been called” (Eph. 4:1).
  • “Practice what you’ve learned, received, heard, & seen in me” (Phil. 4:9).
  • “Grow in the grace & knowledge of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18).
  • “Be doers of the word, & not hearers only” (James 1:22).


Jesus, Himself, had much to say on this subject, including:

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 7:21).
  • “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Lk. 6:46).
  • “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
  • “Go therefore & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19).


So where do we get the idea that God is pleased when we study and memorize His Word without applying it? I’m the first to plead guilty as charged. Still, it’s not enough to just admit my fault. I need to change the way I live. To quote a popular advertisement, I need to “just do it.”

So here are a few things we’re called to do…

Speak the truth in love to grow & encourage others to grow to maturity (Eph. 4:15)

We’re called to speak the truth in love. In today’s culture, truth has been lost to a false narrative of hypocritical love. And way too often love has been lost in the Christian community in our eagerness to lift up truth.

Care for Christ by caring for the least of these (Matthew 25)

The hungry, thirsty, the sick, the stranger, poor, the fatherless, the widow. God has blessed us to bless others. Are we doing it?

Invest our talents and gifts for the extension of His kingdom (Matthew 25)

Do you suffer from the virulent illness of comparatitus—the urge to compare our gifts and talents with other Christians? Lord, why can’t I sing like Susan? Why can’t I cook like Jeanie? Lord, I wish I could be as organized as Mary Ann. We waste so much time & energy comparing ourselves to others that we fail to invest the gifts God has given us!

Make disciples (Matthew 28)

Sharing the gospel is not about having someone repeat a prayer, then go joyfully on our way after adding a notch to our Christian gun belt. Sharing the gospel means doing life with others, helping them grow to maturity just as someone helped us. It’s about making & building relationships.


No one ever said the Christian life would be easy. But God is the one who does both the calling and the equipping. And He equips us through His Spirit & His Word.


So what are you doing with the results of your intentional Bible study?



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