“Why” is a difficult word, because it peels back layers. It is a probing word that, especially when used by a child, cuts through our superficial answers. It is a word aimed at motivations and one that seeks out our hearts. I am asking this question, so you might reflect on your motivations and might walk deeper with the Lord, not as a defense or as an advert to why you should read. I believe if you’re motive is right, you will desire to read the scriptures.
The answers a Christian might give to “Why do I read my Bible?” are usually a variation of these:
It is God’s Word to us.
It is without error.
It can make you wise and help you to deal with many different issues in your life.
These answers and others similar to them are standard fair in Christian circles, and they are valid points. The Bible is all those things. But as for motivation, it seems as if we’ve made apologetics for the Bible the reason why it is valuable to us. Or we have made the Bible into some sort of divine self-help book.
I did not start reading the Bible for any of these reasons. Most people who come with the curiosity to start reading from Genesis to Revelation because of the above reasons, invariably end up lying vanquished by the laws of Leviticus or confounded by the many genealogies and repetitions of the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible). Many people don’t bother reading whole books then, but instead pick out stray verses that seem to say what they want to hear.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Yes, that’s my life verse or that’s what God is saying to me, some might say, yet have no knowledge of the people to whom this was written, their past or their future and why in the context of the scriptures it is so monumental that God could and does say this to a people who deserved neither welfare, nor a future, nor hope.
That is no way to read the Bible and I don’t believe the early Church had those answers as motivation, but as supplementary reasons for listening and believing.
In the beginning chapters of the book of Acts, as the church is exploding onto the scene with power and wonder through the Holy Spirit and the gospel, we get a description of the believers.
“So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:41-42, emphasis added)
These early believers, after being miraculously saved, devote themselves to the Apostle’s teaching. Why? Simple answer, these men had walked with Jesus and could tell these new believers all about him and what he said. Their motivation is not hard to see, they wanted to know Jesus and this was the way they could. They wanted to hear about Jesus, because he was their salvation, their Lord and rescuer.
Similarly in 2 Timothy 3, we have Paul writing to Timothy to remind him to stay true to God’s Word, saying:
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15)
Paul points Timothy to the Scriptures, which Timothy knows, so that he might be “made wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” This reference to scriptures is referring to the Old Testament, and here Paul alludes to a simple key for reading and understanding it. Faith in Jesus Christ. This faith was important to understanding so that he might have this salvation. The Jews had the Old Testament, yet they rejected the messiah. The Pharisee’s knew the law of God backwards and forwards yet they did not know The Father nor The Son.
I feel we have spent a lot of energy trying to convince an unbelieving world that the Bible is credible and should be taken seriously, yet we have forgotten that even if we could convince an atheist to read the scriptures (as many have) they cannot read with the right heart, because they care nothing for Jesus Christ.
What am I trying to say? What is the simple answer for why you should read your Bible?
Because it is a book about Jesus Christ. If you love Jesus and wish to know him better, the Bible is the place you can go. He is the key to the Scriptures understanding and he is the subject. The Bible is not an instruction manual for living, though it has rules. The Bible is not a scientific journal, though it has facts.
Read the Bible because it has the words of eternal life, and eternal life is knowing God and Jesus Christ.