God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, who was quite a scholar of God’s Word at a young age (Luke 2:46-47).
I have an academic background which has trained my mind to think of “study” in a scholarly fashion. However, two of my favorite Bible verses containing “study” have less to do with that kind of study, than I had initially assumed.
II Timothy 2:15:
Study [spoudazō] to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman [ergatēs] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
I Thessalonians 4:11:
And that ye study [philotimeomai] to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work [ergazomai] with your own hands, as we commanded you.
Although the two words translated “study” are different, their meanings are similar. It’s unfortunate that the King James translates of both words as “study” which often leads people to think they refer to academic instruction or scholarship, when they actually have little connection at all with mental activity.
Spoudazō, means to be swift or to make haste. However, the idea of being fast or speedy carries with it the idea of showing diligence by fully applying oneself and acting fervently to accomplish something. Ergatēs is the word for a workman in general. One who applies energy to accomplish something. A workman not only knows how to work efficaciously, but actually plies his trade to accomplish something. The rightly dividing of the scripture is not complete until it is lived out. A spoudazō lifestyle results in living the Word. It’s more than just knowing what it means or how it fits; it means actively pursuing it as we live.
Philotimeomai properly means to love or seek after honor. It is a compound word of phileō, love, and timē, honor. It carries the idea of showing affection for what is personally valued or honored. It speaks of one aspiring for what is honorable or pursuing or devoting oneself to what has great personal value. To “study to be quiet” suggests an all-out effort to maintain a lifestyle that is tranquil, serene, calm, and peaceful.
There are other words that align better with the idea of academic or scholarly study. The Hebrew word lahaq used only once in the Old Testament is found in Ecclesiastes of all places.
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The Greek word ereunaō usually translated search can in some contexts also suggest the idea of academic or scholarly study.
Search [ereunaō] the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search [ereunaō], and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
Although there is certainly appropriate times for a scholarly approach to scripture. II Timothy 2:15 and I Thessalonians 4:1 suggest far more than acquiring information. They deal with developing a life-style of deliberately applying effort to live the Word of truth that can truly make us free.