We started this series considering not only why we ought to read our Bibles, but more so why we should want to read our Bibles. Most Christians know the greatest commandment -- to love God with all our heart, soul and mind -- but we often think that this and Bible reading are two separate things entirely. In the past few weeks, however, we've seen how loving God and reading our Bibles simply cannot be separated.
- By reading the Bible we love God with all our heart because it is a daily reminder of our sin and His grace -- only when we see the depravity of our sin, will we realize the magnitude of His grace.
- By reading the Bible we love God with all our soul because we were made to know God, and how else but through His Holy Word?
- By reading the Bible we love God with all our mind because we read for maturity and mission. Only when we know Him, will we be able to make Him known.
Reading the Bible to love God
At this point, some might stop and protest that they're not readers, and Bible reading is too hard. Let's take a step back and consider the implications of each of the above.
Heart -- a daily reminder of our sin and His grace
It means that our love for God is not some sentimental emotion, but it is anchored in truth. The pages of the Bible record the greatest love story ever told, when Love came down for the unlovely and unloveable. When we see who we are, and who God is, it moves our hearts.
Soul -- we were made to know God
It means that what will satisfy us in life is not to secure that job, house, car, family, holiday etc. Scripture is our guide because it tells us where we come from and where we are headed, not just for this life, but for all eternity.
Mind -- maturity and mission
It means that our minds have been redeemed too, and informs our mission. God’s Word makes us new and tells us about His will and purpose for our lives. The command to make disciples by teaching His Word (c.f. Matt 28:19-20, 2 Tim 2:2) is for all Christians.
Readers of the Bible who love God
In the next blog series, we'll go on to explore more practical ways to do the above. We’ll consider some of the tools that will help us read the Bible and unpack some of the truths contained within it. But for now, it is worth taking some time to consider this question: Why do you read the Bible?
I must admit that I am a reader, and despite reading many books (or hoarding them), one of my all-time favorite book series is the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read it when I was 12, and ever since then, I’ve reread it a few times. Every time I do, I've discovered new facts and new phrases that I've previously overlooked, and get enthralled by the story once more. Bible reading is something like this, but even better. The Bible tells a better story, and the truths within the pages of the Bible are for all time and cultures. It tells our story, and leads us to meet a person -- God Himself. When we read the Bible in this way, we join Christians all over the world, and throughout all time in singing:
I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.
I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
For some of us, perhaps it’s the first time you’ve considered this -- that Bible reading is not a dry, academic exercise. Excited? Open the book (yes, get a paper bible, but more on that another time) and start reading! For others, you might have lost that first love, and everything has become routine and mundane. Open the book, read it as a love letter. After all, “the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul” (Ps 19:7). There may also be some of us that are not sure about who the God of the Bible. Bring your questions and an open Bible and ask a Christian to explain it to you.
But for all readers, before anything, pray. Pray that God will open your eyes and soften your heart. Pray for humility to take God’s words as they are, and pray for wisdom to discern His voice. Pray that He will press His word into your heart day by day, that you might sing with joy and confidence that our God is a good and sovereign God. Trust that His Word will not return empty, but that it will accomplish everything that He purposed it for (Is 55:11).
Posts in this series: