Probably not too many. How many books have you studied deeply and extensively? Probably even fewer.
So what makes the Bible different? What separates the Bible from other books? Why read and study the Bible?
Let’s try to answer these questions. Here are seven powerful reasons to read and study the Bible.
God is not distant or far off. He didn’t set the world in motion and then draw back to let things unfold on their own. On the contrary, God wants to have a real, personal, intimate relationship with each of us. He is a living, active God and He wants us to know Him.
One of the primary reasons God gave us the Bible is so that we could know and love Him.
In the Bible, we discover who God is, what He is like, and the things He desires. In some ways, you can think of the Bible as a letter from God. In the letter, He tells us about Himself so that we can know Him more.
We don’t read and study the Bible as a means of earning God’s favor. We do it so that we can x personally and love Him with all our hearts.
Pastor Adrian Rogers said:
Now, you cannot love someone that you do not know. And you can not know someone that you don't spend quality time with. To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to obey Him. And to obey Him is to be blessed...And it begins with a quality quiet time, a daily communication with the Lord.
We also read and study the Bible in order to know ourselves.
But in the Bible, we learn these profound truths about ourselves:
The Bible also helps us understand what motivates us to do the things we do. Hebrews 4:12 says:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
When we read God’s word, it “cuts” us open in a sense. It exposes our thoughts and desires and motivations and teaches us how to live in a way that pleases the Lord.
Some people think that in order to be saved and go to heaven, they need to do good works. Others think that they need to obtain some sort of mystical knowledge.
Still, others think that they don’t need to do anything at all in order to be saved.
The Bible cuts through all this confusion and makes it crystal clear that salvation only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Pastor Rogers says: "Salvation is not primarily getting man out of Earth and into Heaven. Salvation is getting God out of Heaven and back into man."
Jesus is not just a good way to heaven. He’s the only way to heaven. Acts 4:12 says,
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Only in the Bible do we discover that Jesus offers forgiveness of sins to all who believe.
The Bible shows us how to live in ways that please God. The more we read God’s word and seek to do what it says, the more godly we’ll become and the more we’ll honor God.
Romans 12:1-2 says:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
How are we transformed from being like the world to being like God? By renewing our minds. And how do we renew our minds? By reading and studying and meditating on the Bible. The more we soak in Scripture, the more we’ll be transformed.
Pastor Rogers said:
When God gets ready to change someone, how does He do it? By changing how they think. God changes the thought process...The Lord Jesus Christ wants us to present our bodies to Him, including our minds, that He might transform us. No wonder the devil battles for the mind. How important that we learn to keep our hearts, because a fierce battle is raging for the control of your mind.
Life is hard and we need to be constantly encouraged. When we’re going through trials, we need hope. When we’re enduring suffering, we need peace and joy.
When we’re struggling to keep going, we need fresh faith. The word of God is filled with promises that give us deep encouragement.
When we’re tempted to worry, passages like Matthew 6:25-26 give us strength:
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Apart from God’s word, we can easily grow weary and even bitter when we walk through trials. But when we regularly read and study the Bible, we are able to say along with the classic hymn, “It is well with my soul.”
We need discernment as we go through life, to be able to determine what is right and what is wrong in any given situation. Should we watch this television show, read this novel, participate in this discussion, or take this particular job? Discernment is needed.
God’s word gives us the clarity we so desperately need. Proverbs 2:6-9 says:
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.
Wisdom and discernment don’t come from the latest self-help book. Knowledge and understanding aren’t found in gurus or experts. Rather, they come from the word of God. As we read and study the Bible, we gain insight. We learn how to please God and walk in His ways.
As you interact with those who don’t know God, they will inevitably have questions for us. “How do you know you’re forgiven?” “How do you know Jesus is the Son of God?” “Isn’t the world the result of evolution?”
The answers to these questions are found in the Bible. Scripture makes it clear that forgiveness is available to all through Jesus.
The gospels provide ample evidence that Jesus did incredible things that only the Son of God could do. Genesis reveals that God created the world and everything in it.
The more we explore the Bible, the more we’ll be able to effectively answer questions people ask us.
It’s true that it takes work, discipline, and diligence to regularly study the Bible. But the rewards we reap from regularly reading Scripture are absolutely incredible.
They far outweigh the effort required.
It’s through the Bible that we come to know God personally. Through scripture, we learn how to live in ways that honor God. And it’s through God’s word that we receive encouragement, joy, and hope directly from God Himself.
To be able to regularly take in God’s word is an incredible privilege. Let’s not neglect it.