It sounds obvious to all Christians that we should read God’s Word daily, but sounding obvious and doing what is obvious are two separate issues. In a world filled with constant distractions and entertainment all competing for our attention, doing some of the basics of the Christian walk of life can be increasingly difficult. So let me offer six reasons why you should make Bible reading a normal routine in your busy life.
1. It is God’s Word. This one might be the most obvious. In fact, it is perhaps the most apparent truth about the Bible, so much so, that we tend to gloss over its significance. But let’s reconsider this for a moment. The apostle Paul tells us Scripture is theopneustos, “God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16). Meaning, the Bible is the product of the divine, life-giving breath of the Almighty—breathed out through the secret operation of the Holy Spirit by which He produced the Word of God from the word of men. And since the words of Scripture owe their origin to the activity of God the Spirit, the Bible is in the highest and truest sense His creation. No other writings in all the world are said to be “God-breathed,” so why would we not want to read the Bible daily, the very words of God—His creation?
2. It is the power of God unto salvation. Paul tells us in Romans 1:16 that he is not ashamed to proclaim the good news, because it is the power of God that actually saves everyone who believes it. How can we proclaim that which we do not meaningfully understand? Just as I cannot have an intelligent conversation with my children on Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn unless I have actually taken the time to read the book and understand the narrative, I cannot share the good news unless I first know what that message is.
3. It is a lamp for our feet, a light on our path. The ancient wisdom teller said there is nothing new under the sun (Eccles. 1:9). And he was certainly correct. There is nothing we face today that people throughout human history have not themselves confronted—at least in principle. While the methods have evolved over time, the basic temptations to deviate from God’s law remain unchanged. Every challenge we encounter, every situation in which we find ourselves, God’s Word has principles to guide our feet and light our path along our journey. The problem, though, is that we might not know what questions to ask and what answers to recall if we are not immersed in God’s Word continually. It is hard to have a biblical worldview to address our everyday situations if we are not well acquainted with the Bible.
4. It is a way to teach our children well. We are commanded to teach our children biblical truths. Nothing in this world belongs to us. We are called to be stewards over everything God has entrusted to us—including our children. While we may talk about them as being “our children,” they are, in fact, on loan to us from God to wisely shepherd them and to bring them up to love, trust, and obey their Maker—God. His expectation is that we teach our children about Him and instill truths in them at all times. “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 11:19).
5. It is a book from which we answer our interlocutors. The apostle Peter reminds us that it is our Christian duty to be able to give an answer for why we believe what we believe (1 Pet. 3:15). And if we believe Christian doctrine, we must know why we believe Christian doctrine. How often did Jesus respond to His critics with, “Have you not read . . .?” Jesus’ approach was to go directly to Scripture. As well, when Paul taught the Bereans things they had never before heard they instinctively searched the Scriptures to see if Paul’s words were true (Acts 17:11). If we are not intimately familiar with the Word, then it will be that much more difficult to answer the Jehovah Witness knocking at the door, the atheist who claims there is not God, or the liberal church-going relative at our Thanksgiving table who insists #loveislove.
6. It is a book over which countless believers died. In our more sobering moments, if we were truly honest with ourselves, we would be forced to admit that our lack of Bible attention stems from our lack of gratitude. If we were more grateful for God’s revelation to us, then we would long to hear Him speak, long to know what He wants for our lives by delving deeply into His Word. Untold millions of believers throughout history have been tortured, maimed, or put to death for possessing a mere portion of what we have sitting idly on our shelves or collecting dust on our nightstands. Today, Christians around the world secretly possess and read Bibles in their own language with the full knowledge that, if discovered, they will receive a death sentence for their actions—and yet so many are willing to risk their lives for a chance to read a small portion of Scripture.
Karl Marx famously said religion is the opiate of the masses. I disagree. Apathy is the opiate of the masses, and apathy towards Bible reading is the opiate of the churches. Is it any wonder, then, so many have and continue to abandon basic Christian truths?
So what can we do? Well, for starters, we can read our Bibles daily. Myself included.