Why read the Bible?
I want to paint three “pictures” of the Bible that you may not have thought about before
You will probably already have heard people talking about why it’s a good idea to read the Bible. But what matters is whether we actually think it is a good idea, and ultimately whether that shows itself in our lives. See Emma’s blog on 'How to read the Bible', tackling the practicalities of how to dive into the Bible for all its worth. But first I want to paint three “pictures”- three ways of looking at the Bible that you may not have thought about before that might be helpful in answering this important question.
Reading the Bible and applying it to our lives is the ultimate vision correction
Theologian John Calvin describes reading the Bible as like putting on a pair of glasses. Glasses correct the way we see the world and change our perspective on it. We are all wearing a pair of glasses, right now, in that we all have a unique way of seeing the world. The problem is, our particular way of seeing is hopelessly confused without God – our glasses are “coloured” with all kinds of junk – our culture, upbringing, personalities etc. Reading the Bible and applying it to our lives is the ultimate vision correction. Knowing God through His word allows us to begin to see the world like God does. This applies to our everyday lives as much as it does the events of history and what we see on the news. “Put on” the Word of God and you will begin to see clearly – distinguishing what is false from what is true and rooting out the lies of the Devil.
the Bible becomes a deep gold mine with riches just waiting to be discovered
No, not like Beyonce. Booty (Ok, I just liked the alliteration) as in pirate booty! Psalm 119:162 says “I rejoice at your word like one who finds a great treasure”. One of the reasons I personally love reading the Bible is the thrill of discovery. Sometimes when I read I just feel like I need to tell everyone how awesome the particular verse I found is! The truths and promises in God’s word are so exciting we could be throwing a party by the time we’ve finished reading Romans 8 – “NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ!” Plus a Bible-themed rave would obviously bring in all the cool kids. If, as Christians, we actually take God at His word and believe these statements, the Bible becomes worlds apart from the dusty tome that many take it to be and more like a deep gold mine with riches just waiting to be discovered. Once you understand how to engage with the Scriptures and have some tools at your disposal you can begin the big dig…
you are not going to grow spiritually if you are not eating spiritual food
This is perhaps the most important out of all three of the pictures I’ve chosen. Put simply, you are not going to grow spiritually if you are not eating spiritual food. Now I don’t know about you, but I tend to like to eat food every day. There hasn’t been a bleary-eyed Monday morning when I’ve thought, “Goodness me I just don’t think I can face eating today!” 1 Peter 2:2 talks about the Bible as like mothers’ milk – containing all the nutrients and goodness we need to grow and mature. As well as that, Jesus talked about obeying the words of God as being the only sustenance he needed in life (John 4:34). So here’s the challenge – what are your substitute foods? What is replacing regular time in the Bible? I know I find it much more tempting to listen to one of those snappy three-minute Christian youtube videos or read awesome one-liners from theologians twitter accounts than actually engage for myself with the truths of the Word of God. Are you sticking to celery when you could be sinking your teeth into a juicy steak?
So there are my three pictures. Hopefully they have inspired you to think differently about the Bible, learn more about how you can read and apply God’s word to your life and to start wrestling with the most mind-altering, culture-transforming, life giving book ever written.