Why Read the Bible Regularly?
In my previous post, I explored a few reasons why we should be reading God’s Word; that it is God’s chosen way of communicating with us, that it aids our growth by teaching us, correcting us and equipping us to live a godly life, and like a roadmap, it tells us where we are, where we are going and how we get there, giving us an eternal perspective.
These are all very good and important reasons, but if you are someone like me who has grown up as a Christian or has read a lot of your Bible in the past, there is the potential to justify not reading your Bible because you already know the stories and the general gist of it. You know the roadmap already, you know what is regarded as sinful and what glorifies God, so what more knowledge are you going to gain? Aside from the fact that I feel like we are actually never going to stop learning and growing in understanding of God’s Word because it’s so deep and huge, there are many more reasons why we should become disciplined in reading the Bible regularly.
Throughout the whole of the Bible, we see that God is a relational God; from the Garden of Eden, when God walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Gen 3:8-9), all the way through to when Christ returns, ushering in an unending age in which God will be with his people, the church (Rev. 21:3). Fundamental to being one of God’s people is to have a personal, love-filled relationship with his Son, who is our Saviour and Lord. And so, the first reason to read the Bible regularly is simple: to grow in love of and personal relationship with Jesus. In order to know and love someone better, we need to spend time with them regularly. It’s like comparing your ability to love a stranger with that of a partner or family member; because of your shared history and deep knowledge of each other, the love of family members or husbands and wives is (typically) richer and greater than between those who have just met each other.
However, this doesn’t mean that we should only read the New Testament; in John Jesus says,
“ You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39), and in Luke, “Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” “(Luke 22:44). All of God’s Word points us to who Jesus is—his character, his purpose, and his importance in our lives. Because the whole of Scripture points towards Jesus, this makes reading the whole of Scripture integral to us growing in our relationship with Christ.
What further makes this relationship with Christ so significant is that through it God reveals to us the glory of the Lord Jesus (i.e. his marvelous, unequaled and praiseworthy nature), and as we grasp and behold this, God’s Spirit works in us to transform us into this same likeness.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”
(2 Corinthians 3:18).
How incredible is it that you and I are being transformed in such a way! It is not that we simply admire the awe and greatness of Christ from afar, but knowing it to be unattainable, like watching an artist paint an incredible piece or work and saying “gosh it’s amazing, but I can only draw stick figures.” No! We get to be transformed into the same character, the same likeness, that produces this awe. We get to look at the artist and, whilst we can only draw stick figures now, we slowly but surely are changed, we develop, and one day we too will be able to paint with as much beauty and creativity. This unfathomable transformation is the purpose that God had planned for us since before we were created:
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)
This transformational nature of God’s Word is literally life changing. It means that we are not reading the Bible to simply learn content, we are not reading to ‘get something out of it,’ it’s worth is not based on a feeling of being changed when you read, measured by how many new things you learnt or how much application you could find. We are reading God’s Word to see Christ in all His glory, with the end goal of being transformed into a certain kind of person. A Jesus kind of person.
As we read God’s word regularly, the glory of Jesus is able to be revealed to us in greater richness, depth and clarity. And whilst the Holy Spirit performs the soul-transforming work, it is apparent that simply reading, even frequently, is not in itself the ‘be-all-and-end-all’ of us becoming more like Christ. Whilst God promises transformation, we are not passengers in the process. For this reason, how we read the Bible, and what we do with what we read, matters, so this will be the focus of the next post.