Read your Bible

The Contender, May 2021. 

The Bible is not being opened, not being turned to. An overwhelming epidemic infecting our members in the church today is a lack of Bible reading. This can happen to anyone, however with the influence of late nights, studying and social media, the youth are highly susceptible targets. In a world of busyness, it is far too easy to be too tired, busy, or occupied, to read the Word of God.

Are you reading your Bible? Do you have a daily personal devotion? Do you only look at your Bible at a study, youth club, or church? Do you only read the scripture at the dinner table? We submit to the lie; being surrounded by Christianity implies that we know God. Only reading the Bible with others is not sufficient for our spiritual growth. Unfortunately, personal devotions are becoming less important. In this article, I will unpack five key reasons to read your Bible daily.

Faith consists, not in ignorance, but in knowledge, and that, not only of God, but also of the divine will – John Calvin

1. God's Word is authoritative

In the time of the Reformation Martin Luther rediscovered five essential truths in which we understand the teachings of Scripture. They are known as the Five Solas. Sola Scriptura, or ‘scripture alone’ declares that God’s Word is the ultimate authority of truth. This infers that it also transcends the authority of the Church. Scripture's divine authority reveals the very character of God. The only reliable way of understanding God’s nature is to read about Him from His authoritative and complete primary source, the Bible.

The Bible teaches, “All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching” (2 Tim 3:16). That is, all scripture is exhaled by an infallible being. The Bible is incomparable to any other book because of its author, God. He is incapable of error, implying that the Bible is also inerrant. It is completely trustworthy and deserving of our attention. In evangelistic conversations, I often ask If God wrote a book would you read it? The answer is simple. He did! Given that we have been blessed with every opportunity to learn about Him, we should desire to enrich every area of our lives with God’s revelation.

2. God's Word is alive

The book of Hebrews teaches, “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.( Heb 4:12). It is alive and can speak. A living Word means that it can teach directly to the depths of our hearts. It is the only inerrant way in which he communicates with his people. My pastor once told me, ‘if you want God to speak to you, read the Bible.’ He then continued, ‘if you want God to speak to you audibly, read the Bible out loud.’ The Bible is where we hear ultimate truth and instruction. If we, today, are to hear God’s will in our lives we must listen. Reading the Bible privately, is gives us all that we need for understanding His will and enhancing our relationship with him. It is the means that Christians know God and develops intimacy with Christ.

3. Reading God's Word is pleasing to him

One of the five Solas, Luther proclaimed was Soli deo Gloria, To God be the glory alone. As followers of Jesus and slaves to righteousness, we are to live a life to the glory of God. To do this we first must know what gives glory to God. Just like in an applied sense, in order to love a person to the fullest extent, we first must know them. Just like a servant attends to their Lord, to please a master, one must know what he likes and doesn’t like. What displeases him and what causes him to rejoice? Is it not the same with a living God? Like any relationship, we become more intimate with someone as we get to know them. This applies to God. We grow in our ability to serve through the Bible. Therefore, by obtaining this knowledge we learn what gives God glory. By doing this we can direct our lives to reflect the Father’s will.

In the Bible we learn about the disease of sin in contrast to our great salvation. We learn about who God is and the inseparable love of Christ. By inscribing such knowledge onto our hearts, we learn to behave before him rightfully. Psalm 103:17-18 describes how the Lord shows steadfast love to those who live in obedience, “The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.” It is ultimately clear that the Lord is pleased when we serve him. Living life in obedience to His glory must be aided by knowledge, hence training ourselves to serve as his faithful instruments must be pleasing to God.

4. Reading God's Word equips us

Theologian R. C Sproul in his book, Reading Scripture (Sproul, 1977), begins with thought-provoking words:

If I were the devil (please, no comment), one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible. Knowing that it is the Word of God, teaching people to know and love and serve the God of the Word, I should do all I could to sur­round it with the spiritual equivalent of pits, thorn hedges and traps, to frighten people off.”

Elsewhere he writes the Satan would delight in achieving this goal:

At all costs I should want to keep them from using their minds in a disciplined way to get the measure of its (scripture) message.”

This simple concept demonstrates that when we reject the teaching of the Scriptures and desire to stop learning about God, Satan rejoices. The devil wins when he denies us of two things; The wisdom of scripture and the nature of God. When we are alienated from these things, we become disconnected from God’s will and have no idea how to serve Him fruitfully. We are left vulnerable and unprepared for life’s challenges. By enriching our minds with scripture, we are equipped for the battles ahead. We become armed with the ‘Sword of the Spirit’ (Eph 6:17) ready for all of life’s curveballs.

5. Reading God's word is commanded

The final reason why we should read God’s Word is simply because it is commanded. An example of this reoccurring command is found in 2 Pet 3:18 where it is written, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Grace and knowledge are the means by which we escape misunderstanding. Peter makes clear, it is not just expected that Christians engage in the reading of the Word, but commanded. To follow God’s Word is to read God’s Word. The apostle Paul describes the godly attitude regarding obedience; “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5). Here he declares that obedience is fuelled by our willingness to serve Christ. To follow God's Word is a witness to the love we have for Jesus.

We can only know God by first having knowledge of God. The only reliable to do this is to read about Him directly in the Bible. It is becoming easier to reject our spiritual growth by neglecting this simple practice however, if we desire to serve Him, we will desire to know Him. We cannot possibly discern God’s will for our lives without first knowing Him. God reveals to us countless reasons in which to engage in Bible reading every day. By growing in intimacy with the object of our faith we accommodate spiritual growth. When we grow in greater understanding, we become more equipped to serve. The words of a famous children’s song still hold true, as some of the best advice to date.

Read your Bible, Pray Every Day

Read your Bible. Pray every day (repeat 3 times).

Read your Bible. Pray every day.

And you’ll grow, grow, grow (repeat 3 times).

Read your Bible. Pray every day.

And you’ll grow, grow, grow.