"You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life."
Jesus was astounded that people could devote their entire lives to studying Scripture and yet fail to know the One to whom Scripture was pointing.
I have a friend who, much like those religious leaders, gets a charge out of studying doctrine. He's compiled Bible studies on the subjects of predestination and the election of the saints. He's memorized the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Te Deum. My friend knows by heart selections from the Book of Common Prayer, and I once heard him recite the entire eighth chapter of the book of Romans.
This man diligently studies the Scriptures. But sometimes, after hearing him talk, I wonder if he realizes that creeds and doctrines, Scriptures and prayer books all point to Jesus. He labors over the Word, but does it aid him in knowing his Savior better? He knows about the Lord, but how well does he know Him?
I can't judge. But observing my friend has taught me something important about studying Scripture: Always ask the Spirit of God to illumine the Word to you. Otherwise, your study could end up a dry, intellectual exercise. God's Spirit is the one who makes Jesus, the Truth, come alive through the truth of the Word. Even Jesus Himself underscored this in John 16:13-14: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you."
Lord, as I read Scripture, help me to remember to always ask the Holy Spirit to open up my eyes and my heart to Your Word. Let me see how every book, every chapter points to You.