I used to go to a church with really bad theology. They quoted more of Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer than they did of the Bible. But in saying that, the Pastor occasionally said some interesting things. I remember during one of his little motivational speeches on a Sunday morning he asked for a show of hands of how many people read the Bible daily. I put my hand up and expected everyone else to do the same, but no one else did. He then asked for a show of hands of the people who read the Bible a couple of times a week and one or two hands went up. He kept going until he was up to a once a month Bible reading and a few more put their hands up. Some people didn’t put their hands up at all. The Pastor himself admitted that he didn’t read his Bible daily but he did read it a few times a week. I was startled.
Now before you all gasp at how legalistic I’m being, let me explain. I know that we are sinners saved by grace, and I know that we contribute nothing to our salvation. Salvation is of the Lord and it is He alone who chooses those He will save from His wrath. But I also believe that when we are born-again, we bear fruit and we show evidence of our salvation. Part of the evidence of our salvation is a desire to know God, to know His word, and to long for Him. Every word that He has spoken should be of the utmost importance to us. We know God through His word— the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Bible is God-breathed- it is God’s word to us, and through it we can come to know Him intimately. We can learn His thoughts, His instructions to us, His plans, and it is also a warning to us. If we don’t know God’s word intimately we will be far more susceptible to false teaching.
Answers in Genesis have this to say about the importance of Bible reading:
First and foremost, the Bible is essential for knowing God and His will for our lives. The book of Romans tells us there are certain things we can know about God from general revelation. Without Scripture people can know about God’s power and divine nature by examining creation (Romans 1:20). They also know God’s law because it is written on their hearts (Romans 2:14–15).
However, there is a vast difference between knowing about God and personally knowing God. Everyone knows about God, which is why you are without excuse if you reject Him, but only a fraction personally knows Him. The Bible is the foundational truth that teaches the history of the universe, the origin of sin, the reason for death, morality, and so on. Apart from God’s Word, mankind would never learn the all-important message of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Knowing God’s Will
The message of eternal salvation is a vital and dominant theme in Scripture, but the Bible reveals much more—including how God would have us live. Through the recorded examples of biblical figures we can learn what pleases God and what does not. His Word also gives direct instruction to believers on how we should act in every circumstance.
God’s inspired and inerrant Word was given for many reasons: to teach us, rebuke us, correct us, and instruct us in righteousness; it was also given so that we may be complete and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). By reading the Bible on a consistent basis, you can find direction for your life and learn how to best serve the Lord who gave His life for you.
Knowing God’s Word
Reading through the entire Bible provides an opportunity to better understand Scripture’s “big picture.” At the same time, we must be careful not to read the Bible just for the sake of doing it.
How can we present ourselves approved before God? We need to diligently study His Word so that we acquire an accurate understanding of it and then faithfully act upon the truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
Studying the Bible requires careful and prayerful attention to the text and the correct application of biblical principles of interpretation. By studying God’s Word, you can not only more fully enjoy the wisdom God gives, but also bless your family and friends by sharing the fruit of your labor.
Making God’s Word your authority in every area is vital for defending against the many spiritual attacks facing Christians. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
We encourage you to read the whole Bible if you never have before. If you have already read through the Bible, then we would urge you to consider studying Scripture in more detail by concentrating on one passage per day. Continue thinking about that passage throughout the day and try to think of ways to apply what you have learned.
Don’t forget to spend time in prayer. Thank God for giving you eternal life and His Word. Ask Him to teach and guide you so that you will become even more faithful in following Him.
Commit to read and study God’s Word regularly in order to better know God, His Son, and His will.
I am not a person who makes New Year’s resolutions, but at the start of each year I sit down and work out a new Bible reading plan for the year. Some years I follow the straight forward Bible in a year plan, other years I do a chronological Bible in a year reading. Sometimes I mix it up entirely and follow a plan that I’ve made up. It’s always dependent on what I hope to achieve through the readings. Some years I feel that I need to brush up on the whole Bible and other years I focus on smaller areas of in depth study. This year I am trying something new. I am going to follow a New Testament in a year plan and on top of that I have chosen five different books of the Bible which I will read through five to ten times each. I have started with Proverbs as I haven’t spent much time in the book lately. I am hungering to know Proverbs more intimately— to hear God’s instructions to me through this precious book.
It really doesn’t matter a great deal whether you have a plan or not. It doesn’t really matter whether you are diligent in it or a bit more flexible. Our salvation is not based on whether or not we read our Bible’s once a day or once a week, or whether or not we have a strict plan to stick by. What matters is that we draw closer to God through the regular reading of His word, and through our private prayer. As Christians we should desire to know God more intimately through the regular reading of His word. And having a Bible reading plan helps the reading become a lasting habit. It’s one of the best habits we can have and we should earnestly strive to know God more deeply through reading His word, which He breathed out for us.