Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, was put through an intensive training process growing up. During his teen years, he spent every Sunday at Windsor Castle, being personally instructed by the Queen. In his twenties, he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and several other schools, spending one year to study abroad. One of his responsibilities during this time was spending two years working directly with the British government and taking courses in constitutional law from the best lawyers in the nation. All across the globe, royalty in foreign nations undergo a similar education to prepare them for kingship over just one nation.
What about you? You are God’s royalty—and you are going to inherit the universe as your domain! What sort of education should you be receiving?
Moses gives us quite a bit of insight into the education that God’s royalty receives. Deuteronomy 17 was explicitly written for kings of Israel. This instruction included a daily priority: “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them” (verses 18-19). God told the king to handwrite a copy of His law and to read it every day. Think about that! Of all the possible topics that He could have told these future kings to focus on,He didn’t tell kings to research different kinds of governments or become expert economists. God told them to become established in knowing and keeping His law.
God didn’t just want a king to read it; He wanted him to literally write out the verses. God wanted the law engrained in the king’s mind so that he would use it in every decision he made. God knew that if a king were to be strong, he had to practice daily Bible study.
Of all the daily habits that you can develop as a teen, daily prayer and Bible study will benefit you, those around you, and all the activities you’re engaged in the most. Like the righteous kings of ancient Israel, the success of your royal journey really depends on daily Bible study.
Mr. Armstrong’s Calling
Think back to the early days of Mr. Armstrong’s conversion, when God first started to call him in the autumn of 1926. Mr. Armstrong didn’t start out visiting world leaders or giving sermons to thousands of people. Instead, he started by developing the practice of Bible study.
When Mr. Armstrong was challenged on the dual issues of evolution and the seventh-day Sabbath, he determined to prove the truth by studying his Bible. Here is what he wrote in his autobiography about that six-month, night-and-day, seven-day-a-week study:
“I searched in vain for any authority in the Bible to establish Sunday as the day for Christian worship. I even studied Greek sufficiently to run down every possible questionable text in the original Greek.
“I studied the commentaries. I studied the lexicons and Robertson’s A Grammar of the Greek New Testament. Then I studied history. I delved into encyclopedias—the Britannica, the Americana, and several religious encyclopedias. I searched the Jewish Encyclopedia and the Catholic Encyclopedia. I read Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, especially Chapter 15 dealing with the religious history of the first 400 years after Christ. And one of the most convincing evidences against Sunday-keeping was in the history of how and when it began.
“I left no stone unturned.”
God was preparing Mr. Armstrong to be king, and a good part of that preparation occurred in at Mr. Armstrong’s desk and at the local library. Can you imagine what would have happened if Mr. Armstrong didn’t like Bible study? What if he got bored or easily distracted? Where would the Work be?
Matthew 17:11 is a prophecy of Mr. Armstrong coming on the scene as the end-time Elijah: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Can you imagine God’s Elijah restoring all things if he did not study his Bible so diligently? Obviously, Mr. Armstrong didn’t uncover any revelation himself—God put it in his mind. But His Bible study habits facilitated a mindset that allowed God to give him revelation! He could restore all things because he was an excellent Bible studier. And his studies weren’t restrained to just reading the Scriptures—they branched off into commentaries, Hebrew and Greek definitions, and even physical things like history and science. That’s the method God wants you to develop—that is what makes the Bible come alive!
Bible Study Is a Learning Tool
“Somehow I began to realize a new fellowship and friendship had come into my life,” continues Mr. Armstrong in his autobiography. “I began to be conscious of a contact and fellowship with Christ, and with God the Father.
“When I read and studied the Bible, God was talking to me, and now I loved to listen! I began to pray, and knew that in prayer I was talking with God. I was not yet very well acquainted with God. But one gets to be better acquainted with another by constant contact and continuous conversation.”
Throughout the first six months of Mr. Armstrong’s studies into proving the Bible, he doesn’t mention his prayer life. Up until that point, he was not praying much at all. He didn’t know how to pray! It was through Bible study that he learned why he should pray and how to do it. If you find yourself struggling to pray, then evaluate the effectiveness of your Bible study. The more you study the Bible, the more excited you will be to talk to the God who wrote it.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Throughout his life, Mr. Armstrong was a workman. He turned to the Bible to show him how to work out his life—how to revive God’s Work, build a college, publish a magazine, start a radio and television program, visit dignitaries, and more.
How was Mr. Armstrong able to restore all things to God’s Church? How did he learn how to run a college, teach classes, or write articles? He learned by letting God talk to him through Bible study.
Bible Study Is a Necessity
Growing up in the Church, you often hear about the importance of daily Bible study. It is easy to think of it as just another command, but it is much more than that. We must recognize it as a need.
God designed our bodies to feel hunger to remind us that we need to eat. We need food. There’s no way around it. God wants us to understand that the same is true with Bible study. Notice what Moses told the Israelites about manna: “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live” (Deuteronomy 8:3).
Just like we can’t live without physical food, we also can’t live without spiritual food—studying God’s word. God says we cannot live content, fulfilling and consistently joyful lives by trying to sustain ourselves only on physical things. Even though mankind ignores it, the need for spiritual nourishment is much greater than the need for food or water. God created man incomplete, but men try to fill their natural void with everything but His Holy Spirit and His truth.
Human life apart from God is essentially an endless search for this missing ingredient. Some people try to fill the void with money, drugs or power. Some try to fill it with religion. Sometimes people even try to fill the void by creating something great, as Steve Jobs or Elon Musk did. Yet the void persists. The only way to fill that “gnawing soul-hunger” is by receiving the Holy Spirit from God. Although not yet in you, it is still working with you.
We are all spiritually hungry, and Bible study can satisfy that hunger like a hearty breakfast satisfies physical hunger in the morning. God wants you to be full with the joy, peace, and contentment that comes from understanding and living His truth!
Teen life in this world can be stressful. There can be a lot of tension and conflict, considering how much the lifestyle of God’s people differs from the world’s. But, despite all of Satan’s pressures, you can have peace and stability by drawing near to God in prayer and Bible study (James 4:7-8). The admonition to study the Bible is not just a command from God—it is a need. You need God’s Word and God’s truth like you need food, air or water!
A Key to Success
“And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision” (1 Samuel 3:19). When Samuel was growing up, God’s Word was precious, rare and scarce! Samuel valued it while the rest of Israel, even the high priest, did not. “And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground” (verse 19).
In The Former Prophets: How to Become a King, Author Gerald Flurry writes: “He was only a teenager, yet he let none of God’s words fall to the ground! Not even one! That is a marvelous description of a great prophet of God. He was hungering and thirsting for righteousness so much that, in spirit, he got it all. God loved that attitude.
“That is how God educates a prophet!
“At God’s college today, we emphasize this lesson and encourage our students to have Samuel’s attitude in all their classes. Do you realize how much it would empower your life if you did that? You can see why God used Samuel so powerfully. We all need more of that attitude—to make it our goal to get every word as perfectly as possible. If we can do that, you can be sure God will use us to direct and raise up colleges in the future!”
If we only receive God’s truth during Sabbath services or in occasional lectures, we will let God’s word drop to the ground. Getting as many of God’s words as possible, as perfectly as possible, comes only by in-depth Bible study like Samuel’s and Mr. Armstrong’s. To catch as much truth as you can, you need to spend at least 30 minutes with God every day in the study of His Bible, and more as you get older and move toward baptism.
What will God be able to do with a teenager who loves Bible study this much? Samuel’s example answers that question: “And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places” (1 Samuel 7:15-16). These verses are talking about the colleges Samuel established. He became the chancellor of a college with three campuses! Mr. Armstrong accomplished the same thing.
Mr. Flurry continues:“Samuel came to realize that in order to accomplish that monumental job [turning Israel around during the bloody period of Judges], he had to do something dramatic. He decided he had to raise up a college so he could institutionalize the wonderful truths of God. He began to nurture an ambition to teach that truth to the whole world! He wanted to get everybody behind that goal, and the college was the way to do it.”
These colleges arose because Samuel knew his Bible and realized he had to share that truth. The same happened with Mr. Armstrong: The more he studied, the more he eventually realized he needed to start a college to train others who could help him spread God’s truth to the world.
Effective Bible study nurtures the ambition to share the truth. If you haven’t learned this truth already, you will learn it, I promise! You might not leave your Bible study ready to step out and declare God’s Word every morning (though that is what you should aim for), but you will have moments where you get so excited that you just have to go talk about what you are studying! That is what true education does: It inspires you to share the knowledge God gives you.
Why could God entrust Samuel and Mr. Armstrong with administering His colleges? Because they were diligent studiers. Success at the desk leads to success in life.
God wants to do incredible things with you over the next few months and years. This Work has so many phenomenal opportunities ahead. You can prepare for those opportunities now by being like Mr. Armstrong and Samuel were early in their conversion and all throughout their lives. Fall in love with God’s word, and eagerly study the Bible every single day.