We’ve all been told many times that to be good Christians, we should read our Bibles. But have you ever actually thought about why?
Well, duh, you say, rolling your eyes, it’s the Bible, Grace. Obviously we have to read it if we’re Christians.
But so often, we read it without really knowing what the point is, why it’s important, and what we’re trying to get out of it. We wander aimlessly through the pages, looking for that “spiritual growth” we’re supposed to find if we read for fifteen minutes every day. But without a clear purpose, growth is hard to come by. We need to know what the Bible is, what it is for, and how we can truly get the most out of it.
We’ll talk about the “how” part later. But for now, let’s talk about the “what for” part. Why should we read our Bibles? What is, truly, the purpose of it?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 sums it up best:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
From that verse, here are four reasons to read your Bible.
1. Scripture is God’s literal Word to us.
First of all, the most obvious reason. The God of the universe gave us a book of truth. Why wouldn’t you want to read that?
The Bible is not just a human book summarizing the history of the Christian faith and the dos and don’ts of the Christian life. Everything the Bible holds is God’s truth, breathed out for us to use. Hebrews 4:12 puts it this way:
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Every time we read the Bible, God is working through the power of His Holy Spirit, opening our eyes and our hearts, teaching and training and correcting and inspiring. Fundamentally, the Bible is an amazing gift, and to neglect it is to neglect the one thing that will help your Christian walk the most.
2. Scripture shows us our sin and our need for a Savior.
So what, specifically, does the Bible show us and teach us? First: it reveals our sin in all of its ugliness. As we read God’s law, and see what He requires for a righteous life, we see all the ways in which we fail to measure up.
This does away with conceit and shows us our need for Christ. There is no way, after reading the Bible, that we can delude ourselves into thinking we are “good people”. And so we come away humbled and ready to accept the salvation that God requires, leaning on Him, knowing that on our own we could never live a truly upright life.
3. Scripture shows us who God is and what He has done.
As we read the Bible, we are humbled. We see ourselves for who we are. But we also see God for who He is.
The entire Bible is the saga of a people who rebelled and a God who loved them anyway, so much that He sent His Son to die. The more we see our sin, the more we realize the wonder of salvation, and the wonder of God’s love. Through the Bible, we come to love God more and more, as we learn more and more about His love for us.
We also learn about His character. God is so complex, and the best way to know Him better is by reading the Bible. Every time you read about God, you will learn something new about who He is.
4. Scripture shows us how to live a godly life.
And finally, once we have seen our sin and God’s love, and once we accept salvation, the Bible gives us a blueprint for our lives. Because while we will never be able to perfectly measure up to the righteousness God requires, through His work of sanctification we begin to change, growing more and more like Christ.
The Christian life is a hard walk, and the Bible is the guidebook. It is there for us to go back to again and again, seeking the way we should go in every situation. We should be familiar with it from cover to cover, learning to base our entire life upon the truth it contains.
If you’ve never read your Bible, or if this overwhelms you, don’t worry! This is the beginning of a new series I’m going to do on Bible reading. Next week we’ll start getting into the practical details, so stay tuned for that, and let me know if you have any questions I can address during the series!
What do you think? Do you read your Bible regularly? How have you seen these four benefits play out in your own life?