Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why Read the Bible?

The other day, I was given a very fun school assignment.  Seriously.  For my writing class, I had to write a logical essay on the importance of daily Bible reading.  I relished the opportunity to write about my favorite book and enjoyed reading Psalms 19 and 119 again.  Altogether, it was an excellent assignment.  I thought I would post the result up here so you can read it. [Note: I didn't have time to revise it, so there are structural weaknesses; I am sure I only got a tiny piece of the potential Bible references I could have used to prove my points; plus I'm not a great writer in the first place, so please be charitable in your judgment.]

Daily Bible Reading

Oftentimes, the Bible doesn’t seem that important. It is tempting to think that daily Bible reading is an option for Christians—not a necessity. But, when we look at God’s word, we find that the opposite is true. Indeed, there are several reasons why daily Bible reading is an essential Christian duty. In this paper, I will discuss two important reasons for spending time in the word of God.

First, the Bible is the true word of the living God. In John 17:17, Jesus prays, “Your word is truth.” Psalm 119:60 states, “The sum of your word is truth.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 informs us, “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. So, by reading the Bible, we learn what is true. Psalm 19:7 says, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” The next verse states, “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Because God’s word is true, when we meditate on it, our eyes are opened to truth and we are made wise. And, not only do we learn truth in general, we learn about the one true God. I am sure most Christians would agree that learning more about the Lord is, at the very least, a wise thing to do. By meditating on the word, we can discern God’s commands. Again, Psalm 19 is helpful when it bears witness to this fact in verses 9 and 11: “The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether… Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them, there is great reward.” Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Through Bible reading, we can not only discern God’s commands, but we can also learn about God’s great and glorious grace. The Old Testament is full of prophecies regarding Christ, and the entire New Testament unfolds the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we read and study the Bible, we glorify and bring honor to the Lord. By reading, we testify that we are the Lord’s servants and desire to know Him, His commandments, and His grace more every day.

But not only is Bible reading glorifying to God, it is also highly beneficial to Christians. Indeed, Bible study and meditation is a means of grace to believers. Psalm 19:7 reads, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” Being of the Spirit, it gives life, for Romans 8:6 states, “To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” James 1:21 commands, “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” If we value our souls, we will pay attention to the word. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul compares the word of God to a sword: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” In this famous passage on spiritual warfare, the word of God is the only offensive weapon. If we attempt to do battle with evil with no offensive weapons, we will surely lose. Last, but certainly not least, faith comes through the word. Romans 10:17 argues, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” So Bible reading and meditation is a primary means of God’s empowering believers.

We should listen carefully to the advice in 2 Peter 1:19, “And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention, as to a lamp shining in a dark place.” In Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4, we find that, “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” If after reading this essay, you are still not convinced that Bible reading is an essential duty of the godly life, I encourage you to read Psalms 19 and 119. Spend some time considering whether your life shows the same devotion to learning of the word as the psalmist’s. May we make time in our daily schedules to hear the word of God and affirm with Job, “I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:12)

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