Recently I threw out a question on Facebook: “Why do you read the Bible? What’s your motivation?” I must admit, I was a bit surprised at the outpouring of enthusiastic responses. If you’ve ever thought the Bible had nothing to say to you personally, read a few of these comments.
“I read it because I want to learn how to live the life that my Creator designed for me to live. I feel it is the owner’s manual to learn what does work and what doesn’t work to please our Father!”
“God’s Word brings me strength and wisdom to face life’s challenges on a daily basis. I know that I can trust the Bible to give me divine guidance because it is the inspired Word of God Himself.”
“My motivation is to learn more about the character of God, so that my character can be more like His. Also, to learn about how I should live to impart that with others. Also to learn how to be more loving and to love others more sincerely.”
“It is my plumb line. For a builder building a home, everything revolves around the plumb line. It is the starting point; it is what you measure everything else against. It must all line up or the entire building will be off. This is what the Word of God is. Everything must be measured against it and in light of God’s Word.”
With that kind of motivation, what is it that keeps us from reading His Word?
Let’s be honest, most of us realize the hearty benefits of knowing God’s Word, but when it actually comes down to reading it, we struggle to jump in. For some, it’s fear of the unknown or not knowing where to start. Others complain, “I’ve tried to read the Bible, but I just don’t understand it.” It’s surprising how many Christians have never read the entire Bible. In fact, many women I know attend Bible studies and prayer groups, and read a myriad of devotionals, yet still haven’t read the Bible all the way through.
Perhaps you’ve tried to read through the Bible. You started at the beginning in Genesis (and that was great — super-juicy stories) and then you began wading through Exodus, and by the time you got to Leviticus you decided to go thumb through a good magazine instead. Granted, there are some books of the Bible that don’t exactly make light reading. But don’t let your past frustrations or your present intimidation keep you from jumping into God’s Word with both feet. Just as a swimmer must face her fear and take the first plunge, so we must be determined to dive right into the Bible with the Holy Spirit as our guide. Sure it may take a moment or two for you to get acclimated to the water, but once you are in it, you will find great refreshment and joy for your life.
I want to know what God has to say. I don’t just want to sit on the side of the pool and let others tell me how great the water feels.
I want to immerse myself in His truth. I want to know what He is like.
I want to know about His power, His love, and His authority. I want to know how He intends to work through my life. The Bible gives me the answers. Reading the Bible is different than studying it or meditating on it. Reading the Bible is an opportunity to get to know the content of the Bible, and follow its flow from beginning to end. I like to think of reading the Bible as a vigorous morning swim through the Scriptures. Just as our physical bodies are strengthened through the exercise of swimming, so our faith is strengthened through the discipline of reading and getting to know God’s Word.
Oscar Feucht wrote, “Bible reading is not an exceptional thing for the literate Christian. It is a part of his response to God.” Let’s take time each day to jump in for a regular swim and immerse ourselves in the God’s wonderful words of life. Remember to never swim alone — ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you as you open up the scriptures. Find a reading plan that works best for you (Logos Bible Software offers myriad to choose from). When you make reading the Bible an everyday habit, you will soon find that you won’t want to go a day without it. Don’t be timid — jump right in — the water is delightful.