Why read the Bible?
I’m periodically asked “where do I start reading in the Bible?” When I first started reading I wondered the same thing.
Over the years, the bigger and more impacting issues have become “Why and how do I read the Bible?” If I’m reading just to get some brownie points or get through an obligatory chapter then it can be dry as dirt.
I read because it is my “daily bread” – the place Jesus leads, guides, sustains and encourages. That pretty much answers the “why” question for me.
Jesus, like every good Jewish boy, had the practiced habit of being in the Word day and night. This practice was beyond religious duty. I don’t believe Jesus had some sort of Biblegateway chip in his brain whereby He didn’t need to read, ponder, and reflect because He was God’s Son. He lived daily in the reality of his own words “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” His habits were not only necessary but essential to the kind of life He lived.
The picture of my mom reading every morning still lingers in my mind.
She was seeking to please God, to stay close to Him and to help our family do the same. She sought ways to get that Word into us, reading to us from a daily devotional while we wolfed down our breakfast. Even when I wasn’t receptive she didn’t let that stop her. And today I’m soooo thankful for that.
In every season of life, God has highlighted something to me while reading. It doesn’t happen every day, but it does happen. It is amazing how He makes His Word come alive. It is truly living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, it pierces as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow and judges the thoughts and intents of my heart.
Here is an example from today…
I was reading Psalm 82:7 “But you will die like mere men…” What hit me was the fact that while we are made in God’s image, we are all subject to physical death. This has some application right now as a friend of mine is dying. It is heartening to know something isn’t wrong with a person who dies like others, whether accidental, disease, or old age. The victory is that death no longer has the final say and that we are free from the fear of death (Heb 2:14-15). For a long time I wrestled with this, thinking that having greater faith should somehow exempt a person from the ugliness of death…
So where should you start reading? Start reading by asking for God’s presence to lead and guide you. Start in one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) so you can look at and interact with the life of Jesus. And try reading one of the Psalms in tandem with a chapter from the Gospels. Keep it relational and interactive (meaning pray before and during).
God will guide you and He will highlight exactly what you need.