Why should we read the Bible / study the Bible?

Question: "Why should we read the Bible / study the Bible?" Answer: Simply stated, we should read and study the Bible because it is God's word to us. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that the Bible is "God-breathed." In other words, it is God's Word to us. There are so many questions that philosophers and people have asked that God answers for us in Scripture: What is the purpose to life? Where did I come from? Is there life after death? What happens after death? How do I get to heaven? Why is the world full of evil? Why do I struggle to do good? In addition to these "big" questions, it gives a ton of practical advice in areas such as: What do I look for in a mate? How can I have a successful marriage? How can I be a good friend? How can I be a good parent? What is success and how do I achieve it? How can I change? What really matters in life? How can I live so that I do not look back with regret? How can I please God? How can I gain forgiveness? How can I handle the unfair circumstances and bad events of life victoriously?

We should read and study the Bible because it is totally reliable, without error. The Bible is unique among so-called “holy” books in that it does not merely give moral teaching and say, “trust me.” Rather, it gives us the ability to test it by checking the hundreds of detailed prophecies that it makes, by checking the historical accounts it records, and by checking the scientific facts it relates. Those who say the Bible has errors have their ears closed to the truth. Jesus once asked which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” Then He proved He had the ability to forgive sins (something we cannot see with our eyes) by healing the paralytic (something those around Him could test with their eyes). Similarly, we are given assurance that God’s Word is true when it discusses spiritual areas that we cannot test with our senses, by showing itself true in those areas that we can test (historical accuracy, scientific accuracy, and prophetic accuracy).

We should read and study the Bible because God does not change and because mankind’s nature does not change – it is as relevant for us as it was when it was written. While technology changes around us, mankind’s desires and nature do not change. You find, as you read the pages of biblical history, that whether you are talking about one-on-one relationships or societies, “there is nothing new under the sun.” And while mankind as a whole continues to seek love and satisfaction in all of the wrong places, God, our good and gracious Creator, tells us what will bring us LASTING joy. His revealed Word, the Scriptures, are so important that Jesus said of them, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). In other words, if you want to live life to the fullest as God intended, listen and heed God’s written word…it is even more important than eating!

We should read and study the Bible because there is so much false teaching. The Bible gives us the measuring stick by which we can determine truth from error. It tells us what God is like. To have a wrong impression of God is worship of an “idol” or “false god.” We are worshiping something that He is not! The Bible tells us how one truly gets to heaven…and it is not by being good or by being baptized, or by anything else we DO (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:1-10; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10f., 5:8; 6:23; 10:9-13). Along this line, God’s Word shows us just how much God loves us (Romans 5:6-8; Isaiah 53:1f.). And it is in learning this that we are drawn to love Him in return (1 John 4:19).

The Bible will equip you for serving God (2 Timothy 3:17; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). It will help you know how to be saved from your sin and its ultimate consequence (2 Timothy 3:15). Meditating on it and obeying its teachings will bring success in life (Joshua 1:8; James 1:25). God’s Word will help you see sin in your life and help you get rid of it (Psalm 119:9,11). It will give you guidance in life, making you wiser than your teachers (Psalm 32:8; 119:99; Proverbs 1:6). The Bible will keep you from wasting years of your life on that which will not last and does not matter (Matthew 7:24-27).

Reading and studying the Bible will help you to see beyond the attractive “bait” to the painful “hook” in sinful temptations, so that you can learn from others’ mistakes rather than making them yourself. Experience is a great teacher, but when it comes to learning from sin, it is a terribly hard teacher. It is so much better to learn from others’ mistakes. There are so many Bible characters to learn from, both positive and negative role models, both often coming from the same person’s life at different points. For example, David, in his defeat of the giant, Goliath, teaches us that God is greater than anything He asks us to face (1 Samuel 17). David, in his giving in to the temptation to commit adultery with Bathsheba, reveals just how long-lasting and terrible the consequences of a “moment’s pleasure” can be (2 Samuel 11f.). Knowing the Bible gives us a real hope and peace when everything around us seems to be falling apart (Romans 15:4; Psalm 112:7; Habakkuk 3:17-19).

The Bible is a book that is not for mere reading. It is a book for studying so that it can be applied. Otherwise, it is like swallowing food down without chewing and then spitting it back out again…no nutritional value is gained by it. The Bible is God’s Word. As such, it is as binding as the laws of nature. You can ignore it, but you do so to your own hurt, just as you would do so to ignore the law of gravity. It cannot be emphasized strongly enough just how important the Bible is to our lives. Studying the Bible can be compared to mining for gold. If you make little effort and merely “sift through the pebbles in a stream,” you will only find a little gold dust. But the more you make an effort to really “dig into it,” the more reward you will gain for your effort.

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