As the starting point to the previous posts in this series, I mentioned how we pray, fast and sing because the Bible tells us to. But what we haven’t discussed is why we actually have to read the Bible!
It’s a really long book, some parts of it are pretty boring, a lot of is difficult to understand and it was written such a long time ago – so why read it today?
1.It can help us get closer to God
Christians believe that the Bible is God’s words to us (2 Timothy 3:16) – reading is a way for us to hear from Him, to meet with Him, to learn and recognise His voice, to know more of who He is and in doing so know more of who we are!
2.It can teach us how to live
The Bible instructs and advises us. In books like Proverbs and Psalms, there is a lot of both practical and spiritual advice from Solomon and David, who knew God really well. It is also through the stories of many characters we are shown examples of right and wrong living, and the consequences of both. The Bible gives us moral guidelines so we know how to live right.
3.It can encourage us
The Bible is full of lots of truth and can teach us much about the history of our faith, the character of God, His promises for us, and our identity as believers. And this is more than important information. It can encourage us and lift us when we are feeling down. We can pore through the pages of the beautiful book, reading stories of the miraculous things God has done and His love for us, and be encouraged that whatever situation we are facing right now, He can do the same for us today!
4.It has the power to transform us
The Bible – being the living word of God – is more than just words on the page. Through reading it, we can encounter God and be changed! It can reveal areas of our life that we need to change and we can apply the things we’ve learned to our lives! As we study it, we can learn more in-depth truths about who God is and who we are in Him.
5.It can helps us to grow
The word of God is sometimes referred to as meat or milk, and in the same way we need food so that we can grow physically, we need the word of God so we can grow spiritually!
6.It equips us
The enemy tells us lies in an attempt to discourage us, steal our joy, hope and faith, and distance us from God. But if we know our Bible, we can fight these lies with the truth found in its pages! (Ephesians 6:17)
- If you struggle with reading the Bible, pray and ask God to help you to love his Word and to give you the desire to read it. Use verses from Psalm 119 (verses 9 and 18 are great!)
- Prayerfully choose a book of the Bible – a great place to start would be in Genesis (first book), Psalms, or Matthew (first book of the New Testament) – and try to read one chapter a day.
- If reading isn’t your favourite, try watching some of the videos from The Bible Project, they explain stories, books of the bible, and passages of scripture really simply and often answer some of the difficult questions you may have.
- When you read, invite the Holy Spirit to help you understand and concentrate.
- If there’s a Bible study at your church or youth group, attend it!
- Get yourself a Bible with study notes – this can help you to understand some of those tricky passages you come across when you are reading on your own.
- If you don’t want a brand new Bible, you can find a study guide on particular books in the Bible (there’s lots online too!).
- Find some friends and read the Bible together. Talking about what you’ve read will be a great way to process it and understand it better.
- If there are things you are really struggling with (which there probably will be, because the Bible can be tricky), seek the advice of your parents, church/youth group leaders or a more mature Christian.
- Don’t be discouraged if you forget to read sometimes or aren’t reading as much as you think you should be – you’ve not failed and God doesn’t love you any less. Just try again and ask him to help you!