Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Why Should I Read the Bible?

I have wanted to read the Bible since I was a child of 9 or 10. I actually started reading through the Bible at that tender age. Back in my ancient days, I had a King James Version of the Bible. It was filled with thee’s, thou’s and similar expressions in use at the time it was written. I grew up thinking I wouldn’t be able to understand the Bible unless it was a King James Version. Now it is easier for me to wrap my mind around a more modern version like the New International Version. While my favorite verse (Ephesians 4:29) was easy enough to understand in the King James Version, it makes more sense to me today reading it modern English. Actually reading a King James Version became most difficult when I encountered all of the begat’s. I just couldn’t get through all those names. I gave up reading the Bible.

That is not to say, I never picked up a Bible to read it. I read the Bible when I wanted to, not as a part of a plan to read it daily and study it. During the course of my nearly twenty five year marriage, I would often read portions to my wife as she lay down to sleep. She really enjoyed me reading the Bible to her. I am saddened, I never read her the complete Bible while she lived. Why should I read the Bible today? There are several reasons for doing this necessary part of Christian living. My top six reasons are it came from the mouth of God, it is forever and never changing, it is powerful and alive, it helps us stay pure, it gives us hope and it tells the story of Jesus Christ. I will share a bit of my mind on several of my reasons.

First and foremost, Exodus 32:16 states, “The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.” (ESV) The Apostle Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (ESV). Both of these verses are very clear, God created the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and spoke ALL of Scripture.

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” (Psalms 119:89 ESV) While 1 Peter 1:24-25 puts it like this, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” Paul is quoting Isaiah 40:6-8. He is reminding believers that everything in this life – possessions, people, accomplishments – eventually fades away and disappears. Only God’s Word, will and work are permanent. We must stop grasping the temporary and begin focusing our time, money and energy on the will of God and our eternal life in Christ.

The Bible is powerful and alive. My spine begins to tingle when I reflect on this aspect of why I should read the Bible. “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.” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV). The Word of God isn’t simply a collection of words from God. It is living, life-changing and dynamic as it works in us. God’s Word reveals who we are and what we are not. It penetrates the core of our moral and spiritual life. It discerns what is within us, both good and evil. The demands of God’s Word require decisions. We must not only listen to the Word, we must also let it shape our lives.

Finally, The Bible gives us hope. To quote Romans 15:4 (ESV), “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The knowledge of the Scriptures affects our attitude toward the present and the future. The more we know about what God has done in years past, the greater the confidence we have about what He will do in the days ahead. We should read our Bible diligently to increase our trust that God’s will is best for us.

These are the reasons I use for why I should read the Bible. Today I have a plan to read the complete Bible in a year. My first year ends in September. I am committed to attaining this long held goal. Of the many things I have learned during the course of my daily Bible reading, there has emerged one that is the most important of all. It is simply, the more I read and study God’s Word, the more He is directing my life for His purpose. Why should you read the Bible?

Robert Dodson
March 1, 2011