"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." - 2 Tim 3:16-17
Why should I study the Word? What is it good for?
This is a question that comes up more often than we as christians would like to admit. Most of us in the back of our minds know that Scripture is important for us to know, but also we would rather leave studying it up to the "professionals". After all they get paid to study, and they can just tell us the cliff notes version of what we should be doing.
The idea that we should leave the studying of Scripture up to a few elite people and have them tell us from on high is worrying. First because we tried that with the catholic church and we all remember how wrong that went. Scripture itself warns us against this attitude when it praises the Bereans (Acts 17:10-15) for searching the scriptures themselves to see if what they were being told was correct.
Why then should we study scripture?
Paul describes why in his second letter to Timothy. He outlines four reasons to study the word.
The primary role of Scripture is this to teach sinful men about God. It is first and foremost the story of Gods redemption plan laid out over history. It teaches about His love, mercy, grace, but also about His justice, power, and authority. The Scripture is a book dedicated to increasing our knowledge of God and His kingdom.
Reproof is a word we rarely use in our current culture. Ultimately it means to rebuke or rebut. It is word totally wrapped up in confrontation. Not only is the word of God profitable for teaching it is also useful in directly countering the culture. The word of God is what we are to use to go against the teachings of this present world.
At first glance this seems like a repetition on Paul's part. However, there is a very big difference in the ideas of reproof and correction. Reproof is a outward focused challenge to the world. Correction is a inward focused challenge to ourselves. The scripture is good not only for confronting the world, but also for confronting ourselves when we stray from the path of God.
Training In Righteousness
Finally, Paul says that Scripture is good for training in righteousness. We are each of us still works in progress. Training to become the person we have been called to be by God. We have no righteousness apart from His power, and He left us His Word so that we might train our hearts and minds to seek after Him.
Paul wraps up his description of what Scripture is useful for by saying that with it the man of God will be prepared for any good work. Ultimately this is why we should read and study the Word of God for ourselves. We study so that we can be equipped for any and every work to which we have been called.