I believe J.C. Ryle, first Anglican Bishop to Liverpool, probably made the best case for reading the Bible when he said,
“Next to praying there is nothing so important to practical religion as Bible reading. God has mercifully given us a book which is ‘able to make [us] wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’ (2nd Timothy 3:15). By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace. Happy is that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it! Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!”
Every Christian knows reading the Bible should be a regular practice in their walk with the Lord. It is surprising, then, that it is so neglected. While a whole volume could be written as to why people do not read their Bibles, I prefer to take the opposite approach. I want to give you four good reasons why you should make it a habit to read your Bible on a regular basis. Each reason is accompanied by a Scripture as well as a brief explanation. Here we go:
Reason #1: To Grow Spiritually
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2nd Peter 3:18 ESV
The Apostle Peter did not want his young disciples to be deceived by false teachers, or to remain stunted in their spiritual growth. So he exhorts them to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was a sure safeguard against deception, as well as a solid means by which they could deepen their relationship with the risen Lord. And they did not have Bibles at the time!
For those of us who have Bibles, reading them is a tremendous aid toward growing in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through reading our New Testaments we come to see the amazing favour the Lord has shown us in sending the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins so we could be brought into God’s Kingdom. As we read the New Testament record we begin to appreciate the height, depth, breadth, and width of the love God has for us. How can this help but cause us to love Him more and want to serve Him better?
Reading our Bibles also causes us to grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We see the myriad prophecies about Him in the pages of the Old Testament. We see the fulfillment of these prophecies in the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In the Book of Acts we see how the Lord Jesus worked in the lives of His early disciples. Through the letters of the apostles we come to appreciate all the Lord Jesus accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection, as well as who He is now at the right hand of the Father, and who He will be when He returns in power and glory at the end of the age. No one can read and meditate on these things and remain a spiritual infant.
Reason #2: To Renew Our Minds
Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
It is next to impossible to walk out our new life in Christ while thinking according to previous patterns of our old life. This explains a lot of the reason why we see so little change in the lives of people after they come to Christ. You simply cannot live new while thinking old! The apostle assures us, however, that our lives will wonderfully change from the inside out when we allow for a complete renovation of our minds.
When we regular read our Bibles, we begin to see God, ourselves, and life in general from the standpoint of God’s truth. Lies that we previously believed begin to be exposed and lose their hold on us. Sinful thought patterns are brought out into the light so we can turn away from them. Slowly, but surely, God’s truth begins to work its way into our minds and set us free on some very practical levels. This is largely results from regularly ingesting the truth of God as found in the pages of the Bible.
Reason #3: To Provide a Platform for Answered Prayer
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 ESV
I like to call this verse the Saviour’s secret to answered prayer. The conditions for answered prayer are pretty basic: we must abide in Him, and His words must about in us. Once those conditions are met, we can ask anything we want and be assured of an answer. Hallelujah!
Our abiding in Him almost goes without saying. Unless we are maintaining an up-to-date relationship with the Lord we really have no basis for answers to our prayers. But what do His words abiding in us have to do with getting our prayers answered? It’s really pretty simple. Look at 1st John 5:14 – 15,
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. ESV
As stated previously, whenever we read the Bible we begin to see things from God’s standpoint. As we begin to adopt His viewpoints as our own it affects everything, including our praying. We actually find ourselves beginning to pray in harmony with the Lord’s heart and mind. This provides us with a solid platform for seeing our prayers answered.
Reason #4: To Be Equipped for Service
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 complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16 – 17 ESV
The Bible, God’s Holy Word, was divinely inspired by God. Holy men of old wrote as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2nd Peter 1:21). It would stand to reason, then, that reading this Book should have a profound impact on our lives. According to what the apostle Paul writes, that is exactly what is supposed to take place.
When we make a regular practice of reading the Bible, the truth it contains challenges us to the very core of our being. It corrects us and trains us in our walk with the Lord. This adjustment in our character equips us to be effective in the work of the Lord. No individual can hope to be useful in the Lord’s service apart from a working knowledge of God’s Word. This should inspire us to read and study our Bibles diligently.
From the reasons given it is easy to see that reading the Bible can, and should be, a life-transforming experience. A regular reading of the Bible will cause us to grow in the knowledge of God and help get our thinking straightened out. As we read our Bibles we will build a solid foundation for answers to our prayers and get equipped for effective service to our King. Are you feeling inspired yet?
Can you think of some other reasons to regularly read the Bible? Leave a comment and share them with the rest of us!