Read the Bible and pray. Those are the basic instructions given to every new believer. What LifeWay Researched has determined, however, is that while Americans are very fond of the Bible they just don’t read it.
Scott McConnell of LifeWay Research says that even among worship attendees less than half read the Bible daily. You can read his full report here. I have often observed that many Christians get their Bible reading at church on Sunday, i.e. in the Sunday School lesson or what the pastor reads from the pulpit.
You can look up facts and figures all day. What I want to get to is this: Why should we be reading the Bible? I will answer or at least suggest an answer to that question with a question. What is the purpose of the Bible? There are several ways that God speaks to us. He speaks to individuals through the church, other people, circumstances, and the indwelling Holy Spirit. There are many different ways we may hear from God but the simplest is to pick up his Word and see what it says!
Reading and studying scripture is not an end in and of itself. Well, for some it may be just that. But what I’m saying is, the real reason to read the Bible is because God has given us his Word. He wants us to speak to us, to inform us, to guide us to truth and spiritual understanding. When David writes in Psalm 1 that “his delight is in the Law of the Lord” he’s not merely talking about the Ten Commandments or even the Mosaic Law, he’s talking about listening to what God has said. Paul describes grace in the New Testament as greater than the Law but he never says the Law is bad. It was a gift from God to his people. He was talking to them and David was excited to hear! When Jesus said that man shall not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God he was quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. Long before there was a Bible God wanted us to read, hear, memorize and cherish his Word.
I wrote a few weeks ago about living on samples. Only 9% of those on the pie graph above have personally read the entire Bible more than once. Reading the Bible a second time will open your eyes to stuff you didn’t notice the first time through. I am not exaggerating. I have been reading the Bible since I was 12. I starting teaching Sunday School at the age of 16 and preaching at 17. I taught Bible classes at a private Christian boarding school. And I still to this day continue to notice things I’ve never noticed before. It is not possible to understand all of it completely. A Bible may be just a book, words printed onto pages, but the Word of God is living and dynamic. Passages will apply to each of us in new ways throughout life’s journey. The Holy Spirit leads us into knowledge and spiritual understanding as the time is right, when we need it most, and according to his will and way.
Have you read your Bible lately? There’s a lot of good stuff in there.