[Jesus said], “These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” John 5:39
J. I. Packer (1926–2020), in his classic work Knowing God, spoke of four well-known believers in Christ whom he called “beavers for the Bible.” Not all were trained scholars, but each one exercised great care to know God by gnawing into the Scripture, like a beaver digs in and gnaws away at a tree. Packer further noted that knowing God through Bible study is not just for scholars. “A simple Bible reader and sermon hearer who is full of the Holy Spirit will develop a far deeper acquaintance with his God and Savior than a more learned scholar who is content with being theologically correct.”
Unfortunately, not all who study the Bible do so with humble hearts with the goal of getting to know the Savior better and becoming more like Him. In Jesus’ day there were those who read the Old Testament Scriptures, yet they missed the very One they spoke of. “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40).
Do you sometimes find yourself stumped as you read the Bible? Or have you given up studying the Scriptures altogether? Bible “beavers” are more than Bible readers. They prayerfully and carefully gnaw away at Scripture in ways that open their eyes and hearts to see and love Jesus—the One revealed in it.
What are some Old Testament Scripture passages that you recognize as “testifying” about Jesus? What better habits do you need to develop to become a better student of the Scriptures?
Father, open my eyes to see Jesus in all of Scripture so that I might love, obey, and serve Him more.
In John 5:39, Jesus stresses the importance of studying Scripture because it points to Him. Both the Old and New Testaments declare Scripture’s impact. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul encourages Timothy to continue in the Scriptures, and he notes that “all Scripture is God-breathed” and trains and equips us for personal growth in holiness and to serve others (vv. 16–17). Before installing Joshua as the new Israelite leader, God urged him to “meditate on [the Law] day and night” so that he’d be obedient and successful (Joshua 1:8). In Psalm 19, David declares that the words of God refresh the soul, make wise the simple, and give joy to the heart and light to the eyes. By them we’re warned and find great reward (vv. 7–11). Through keeping and treasuring Scripture, we’re blessed, and God makes our way clear (Psalm 119:1–3, 105; Proverbs 2:1–5).