Every follower of Jesus should cultivate the habit of regular Bible reading. Here are ten reasons why.
- God’s Word leads us to salvation.
In 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Paul tells Timothy to continue in the “sacred writings” that He has known from birth. Paul is referring to the Scriptures, which he describes as being “able to give wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The Scriptures lead us to Christ, in whom is our salvation. But the Scriptures also continually point us to Christ throughout our lives and remind us of the gospel. We need to be reminded of what God has done for us in Christ on a regular basis. That’s why Paul encourages Timothy to continue reading them- and why we should to!
- God’s Word reveals to us what is true.
Psalm 33:4- “The Word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in faithfulness.” Every word in the Scriptures is true because the Word is breathed out by God Himself, who cannot lie (2 Timothy 3:16; Numbers 23:19). Jesus tells us that the truth of His Word sets people free (John 8:32). As we spend time in God’s Word, our minds are enlightened and freed by truth rather than deceived and enslaved by the lies of the world. God’s truth leads us to right thinking, right worship, and right living.
- God’s Word is the basis for a relationship with God.
“The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible is not a collection of historical events or a religious how-to manual. It is living and active because the living God is still speaking and working through it. We hear God’s voice, quite literally, when we read the Scriptures. Cultivating the habit of Bible reading ensures us that we hear from Him on a regular basis. Communication is vital to any relationship, and we can communicate with God through reading His Word (hearing from Him) and praying (speaking to Him).
- God’s Word sustains our life with spiritual food.
When Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” In Deuteronomy 8, God tells His people that He let them go hungry in the wilderness for short time before He provided them with food in order to teach them to live by His Word and not simply by food.
Here’s the idea: as food strengthens and nourishes our body, God’s Word strengthens and nourishes our spirit. It leads us to spiritual life and then sustains our spiritual life. We too shall not live on food alone, but shall live by the Word of God. How can we do that if we aren’t regularly “eating” (i.e. reading the Word)? (Deut. 8:3; Matthew 4:4; John 6:63, Job 23:12).
- God’s Word provides guidance for our lives.
Psalm 119:105- “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” God’s Word guides us by revealing to us what God wants us to believe and how He wants us to live. As God reveals Himself to us in His Word, we will grow in our ability to discern His will for our lives. This can happen in a general sense (“I know I shouldn’t do that because God’s Word says…”) or in a specific sense, when what you’re reading speaks directly to a situation you’ve been praying about.
- God’s Word teaches us wisdom.
Matthew 7:24- “Everyone who hears these words of mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who builds his house on the rock.” When we read God’s Word and apply it, we grow in wisdom. Those who do not read God’s Word, or who reject it, do not have wisdom (Jeremiah 8:9). They are like foolish builders who build their lives on sand (Matt 7:26). When we read God’s Word regularly and ask for wisdom, He will surely give it (James 1:5).
- God’s Word refreshes our soul.
Psalm 19:7- “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” Reading God’s Word reminds us who God is (Ps 19:1-6). It also stirs our thoughts and guides our actions (Ps 19:7-12), refreshing our souls by continually redirecting our hearts back to God. When we feel bogged down by the busy mundaneness of our lives, God’s Word revives us by reminding us of what really matters: knowing God and walking with Him.
- God’s Word sanctifies us.
In John 17, Jesus prays for His disciples and all that would believe their testimony. He asks the Father to “sanctify them in truth” and clarifies, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Sanctification is the process of growing in godliness. God has chosen to conform all those who believe in Jesus to become like Jesus in their character and conduct. This process is done “by the Word,” through the power of the Holy Spirit. As we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit reveals sin in our lives, reminds us of the forgiveness we have in Christ, and instructs us on howto turn from our sin and live righteously. This is a lifelong process of which Bible reading is a necessary part.
- God’s Word helps us to fight sin.
The Psalmist writes, “I have treasured your Word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, emphasis added). Sin is anything that displeases or dishonors God. It includes doing things that the Word tells us not to do as well as not doing things that the Word tells us to do. Though we still live in the flesh (a concept used to describe earthly bodies still susceptible to sin), we are “dead to sin” and “alive to Christ” (Romans 6:11). Therefore, God desires that we do not live for sin, but for Christ. This is a lifelong battle that every Christian must fight (see the apostle Paul in Romans 7), and God has given us His Word as one of the primary tools to fight it.
How does the Word help us fight sin? Because it is living and active. The Holy Spirit actively uses the living Word to guide us away from sin and toward obedience to God. The Word motivates us to avoid sin by revealing to us who God is and reminding us that He is far more satisfying than the fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:25). It also warns us about the consequences of sin by citing examples and issuing direct warnings (Hebrews 12:14-17).
- God’s Word accomplishes God’s purposes in our lives.
In Isaiah 55:11, God speaks regarding His Word, stating that it “shall not return to me empty, but shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Christians should read God’s Word regularly because God has several purposes that He desires to accomplish in our lives and will fulfill those purposes through His Word. These purposes include revealing Himself to us, bringing us to salvation, growing us in holiness, teaching us to walk with Him, helping us fight sin, aiding us in taking the gospel to the world, equipping us to help others follow Him, guiding us in gathering as the church, etc.!
God also has specific purposes for individuals that He desires to accomplish through His Word. Though we may not know exactly what those are, we do know that if we expose ourselves to His Word regularly, we can be confident that God will accomplish the purposes of His Word in and through our lives.
Which of these are the most compelling to you? Are there any other reasons that you would add?