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RML Romans recently enjoyed the ‘Understanding the Bible for yourself' weekend. Here are five reasons why being able to do that really matters.

We're better able to grow and feed ourselves as Christians. I don't need someone else to teach me all the time. I don't need books or notes or sermons every time I open up my Bible. I can just read my Bible - thoughtfully and prayerfully. As I learn to think about it for myself, the time I spend reading it becomes more fruitful.

We'll grow more as Christians. This sounds like the first point - but it's really the next step on. Thinking and praying about God's word for ourselves is often when what God has to say in the Bible works itself deep into our hearts. That's not to say we don't need to listen to sermons or come to Bible studies - we might meditate on what we've heard in a sermon or learnt at RML. The point is that when we think deeply about the implications of the truth we're learning, the impact on our relationship with God is magnified.

We're better able to spot error. The New Testament is full of warnings about false teachers and false doctrine. The problem is that false teachers don't tend to wear a badge saying ‘I'm a False Teacher' and false gospels can sound very similar to the true Gospel. We need a thorough grasp of the gospel to be able to spot when people deviate from it. And that means we need a thorough grasp of the scriptures.

We're better able to encourage and disciple others. Discipleship isn't just something that RML leaders or people on the staff team do. It's the job of all disciples to make disciples. The more we understand the Bible for ourselves the more we can use it to help others grow in their relationship with Jesus.

We're better able to pass the gospel on to the next generation. How do you keep the gospel safe? How do you guard it from people who want to change it? You pass it on to faithful teachers who will be able to pass it on to others (2 Timothy 2:2). But you don't just pass on any gospel - it's the gospel as laid out by the apostles. Understanding the Bible for ourselves means we can help others understand it for themselves, who in turn can pass it on to others.

Image by Flickr user moyerphotos used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0