Have you ever asked yourself, “Why should I join a Bible study?” Or, “What can I REALLY get from studying the Good Book in a small group?” It is the biggest selling book of all-time and among our most valued of all earthly possessions. Its pages consist of sixty-six different books that contain the sacred origins of Judaism and Christianity. It is the (Holy) Bible, and derives its title from the English form of the Greek name “Biblia,” meaning "books," the name, which in the fifth century began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books known as the "Library of Divine Revelation."
I know it sometimes helps to see an example of how studying God’s Word can really empower us and make a difference in our lives. When I think about what it means to be a Christian in today’s fallen society, I often find solace in stories of the past. One story in particular involves a subject near to my heart and reminds me of the REAL courage and conviction that we all can gain by studying the Bible.
Throughout the course of history, the influence of the Bible has ended wars between empires and liberated nations. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of the world’s greatest political leaders and military generals relied heavily on its passages for wisdom and truth. One of these generals was a devout and fervent student of the Word named Thomas Jackson. Although his claim to fame had been primarily his service on the battlefield, it is the Christian man and not the soldier, who set a lasting example for Bible students today. In addition to being among the greatest of all Confederate commanders, Jackson was also a Presbyterian deacon and one of the founding members of the Rockbridge Bible Society. As the chairman of the society’s Board of Managers, he took on the responsibility of fundraising for the printing of Gospel literature. A serious student of the Word, Jackson was a perfect man for the job and dedicated himself to providing literature to spread the message of the Gospel to free Southern citizens as well as those held in bondage.
According to Jackson’s chief-of-staff, a preacher named Dr. R.L. Dabney, the daily ritual of intensive Bible study, as practiced in the Jackson household, was a mainstay. He wrote that Jackson always rose at dawn, had private devotions, family prayers and then spent time in the study of scripture on and off throughout the day.
Among Jackson’s many favorite Bible verses was the Fifth Chapter of Second Corinthians, which was recorded as the last scripture that he shared with his wife before going off to serve his God and country. It states, "For we know that if the earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Another cherished verse, quoted in the work “The Consummate Prayer Warrior (Christ in the Camp; or Religion in Lee’s Army (1888) by Rev. J. Wm. Jones, DD)” was Romans 8:28 which states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [His] purpose.”
When deployed in the field, Jackson maintained his obedient study schedule to the best of his ability and remained a steadfast prayer warrior who began every day, at the first sign of dawn, strengthening his faith and pledging that Jesus Christ alone was his Savior and the only key to his salvation. . It was this "daily bread" that spiritually nourished Jackson and ultimately gave him the courage and strength to become the legendary man we refer to as "Stonewall."
And today, many of us can draw some inspiration from his example. Think about it. If the study of scripture can give one man the “spiritual armor” required to stand, unflinching on a battlefield, dealing with the daily rigor of wartime existence and still maintain such a strong faith in God, imagine what a positive and powerful influence it can be in your life.
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