STUDY TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED
APPLIES TO ALL BELIEVERS
Objectors to the believer interpreting the bible via his own personal study in lieu of relying solely on designated individuals to interpret such for him flies in the face of what the bible actually teaches. There simply is no passage anywhere in the bible which specifically forbids an individual from studying the Scriptures on his own in order to determine what they are saying. Rather there are passages that command an individual to study and meditate on God's Word every day.
EACH INDIVIDUAL HAS HIS RESPONSIBILITY TO STUDY THE WORDS OF GOD'S WORD
"Do not let this Book of the Law [Scripture] depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will become prosperous and successful."
This strongly infers that since each individual has his responsibility to meditate on the words of God's Word all the time so that one might obey them that a study of them on one's own is required - which scope goes far beyond what one's teachers would be capable of providing for him. A personal detailed study of those words by each individual would of course be required in order to understand them so that obedience to them would be possible.
History records that the individual Jew in the Mosiac Law period was expected from youth to memorize and study the Scriptures. And many faithfully did just that. Note that they did have the Levitical Priesthood to minister and intercede for them, yet they assumed the responsibility of study, interpretation and obedience to the Scriptures themselves.
[Cp Ps 1:1-2]:
(v. 1) "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
(v. 2) But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on his Law he meditates day and night."
[Compare Ps 119: which is an entire 168 verse passage devoted to the praise, study, understanding and following of the Law by the individual. No mention of the responsibility of any appointed individuals other than God Himself was mentioned. Only the careful study of the precepts of God's Word by the individual and God's teaching of them thereby is emphasized, (ref., vv. 7, 26-27, 48, 71, 94-102, 124-125, 130):
(v. 7) "I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws."
(v. 26) "I recounted my ways and You answered me; teach me Your decrees.
(v. 27) Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders."
(v. 94) "Save me, for I am Yours; I have sought out Your precepts."
(v. 95) "The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder Your statutes."
(v. 99) "I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on Your statutes."
[Notice that the individual gained more insight into the Word of God than his teachers as a result of his meditation upon them]
(v. 124) "Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me Your decrees."
(v. 125) "I am your servant; give me discernent that I may understand Your statutes."
[Notice that the discernment comes from God not a designated human teacher]
(v. 130) "The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple"
(v. 135) "Make Your face shine upon Your servant and teach me Your decrees."
These verses above suggest the image of an individual who is examining the words of God's Word directly and understanding them - with the teaching help of God Himself]
The Bereans were commended for doing just that in order to verify that what Paul was teaching them was true:
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
[Compare 2 Tim 2:1-2, 15]:
(v. 15) "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."
This verse directly applies to Timothy under the instruction of Paul in Timothy's office of Pastor/Teacher.
But notice Paul's instructions to Timothy at the beginning of the chapter includes others whom Timothy entrusts to be teachers:
(v. 1) "You then, my son, be strong in the grade that is in Christ Jesus.
(v. 2) And the things you have heard me saying the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
And this also applies to every believer in the sense that since Scripture reports elsewhere, (Acts 17:11 reviewed above), that every believer must verify the teaching of the Word of God from those appointed to teach him, he then also has the responsibility to correctly handle the word of truth himself via his own personal study in order to verify the accuracy of what he has been taught.
ORGANIZATIONS WHICH INSIST ON ENFORCING THEIR OWN INTERPRETION OF THE BIBLE FOR THEIR MEMBERS PROVE THAT THESE EFFORTS ARE NOT OF GOD
Evidence of a plethora of major contradictions within the doctrinal mandates of organizations which maintain that they are to be the only interpretative source supports the fact that they are NOT authoritative at all and therefore not of God.
History reports that such organizations never consistently present the words of God's Word in a clear, consistent, verse by verse manner as it was originally penned so that this would enable the individuals in their respective organizations to be properly taught what was actually conveyed. If each book of the Bible was originally written in a particular order in a particular language with it's peculiar set of normative rules of language then it would stand to reason that that's the way God intended for each to be presented. Yet this is rarely the case in such organizations. Evidence shows instead that the organization's inconsistent, deceptive and controlling method has ironically resulted in a myriad of conflicting interpretations of the same passage time and time again, causing confusion, leadership conflicts and even major divisions and ultimate splits into other organizations - all of which testifies to that which is not of God.
ALL BELIEVERS OF THIS AGE ARE THEIR OWN PRIESTS WHO ARE THEREIN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ENTIRE LIVES DIRECTLY BEFORE GOD INCLUDING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD OF GOD
[1 Pet 2:5, 9]:
(v. 5) "You [believers, (vv. 1-4)] also like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
(v. 9) "But you [believers] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God..."
Compare Heb 13:15 which speaks of the believer himself offering sacrifices directly to God for himself through his High Priest Jesus Christ. So as his own priest the believer has his responsibility before God to learn the Word of God - to study and veify himself what each passage in it means.
BELIEVERS HAVE ONLY ONE MEDIATOR AND ONLY ONE PRIEST - A HIGH PRIEST, THEIR ONLY INTERCESSOR BETWEEN THEM AND GOD: THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF PUTTING THE BELIEVER IN THE POSITION OF BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN INTERPRETATION OF THE BIBLE
[1 Tim 2:5]:
"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus."
"Therefore, since we have a great High Priest Who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess."
[1 Jn 2:1]:
"My dear children [i.e., believers], I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous."
Therefore, since all believers are directly responsible through the Lord Jesus Christ to God with no one else in between then they are directly responsible for study, interpreting and obeying the words of God's Word.
GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT - THE TEACHER - INDWELLS EVERY BELIEVER AND HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING THAT BELIEVER'S TEACHER OF THE SCRIPTURES
"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
So the believer is ministered to directly by God the Holy Spirit relative to the instruction in the Word of God. This ministry then is aided of course by the individual believer's effort to study the bible on his own as well as being under the instruction of others in the body of Christ who have the spiritual gift of pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc., in order to instruct the believer so that God the Holy Spirit has something to work with and verify as true or untrue within the believer's mentality:
(v. 11) "It was He Who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
(v. 12) to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
(v. 13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in th kniwledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
THE BIBLE FREQUENTLY WARNS OF FALSE TEACHERS AND COUNSELS THE BELIEVER TO HAVE A KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORDS OF GOD'S WORD SO THAT THEY WILL NOT BE DECEIVED
[2 Tim 4:3]:
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."
[2 Pet 2:1]:
"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord Who bought them - bringing swift destruction on themselves."
(Compare Mk 13:22; 1 Cor 15:15; 2 Cor 11:13; 1 Tim 6:3)
This discernment of the believer of which teachers are teaching truth and which are not obviously requires a study independent of all teachers in order to check all teachers out.
MILLIONS OF COPIES OF THE BIBLE HAVE BEEN DISSEMINATED ALL OVER THE WORLD TO ENABLE THE BELIEVER TO STUDY GOD'S WORD
It is interesting to note that God in His Sovereignty has permitted millions upon millions of copies of the Bible to be printed in practically all of the world's languages and disseminated all over the world. This testifies to His grand purpose to have all believers study the bible on their own in the practice of their own private priesthood.