Why should we read the Bible? There are lots of ways I could approach a topic like this. I could talk about why we gravitate toward a certain translation of the Bible. I could explain why we believe the Bible is historically accurate and inerrant in the original text. I think I can make a fairly convincing case for why we can trust the Bible to be historically accurate, authoritative … that it's true in our lives and for our lives.
In the end, we will either decide that the Bible is the authority in our lives, and therefore the Bible and what it contains is smarter than we are, or we will decide that we are the authority in our lives, and we know better than what the Bible says. All of us make that decision, in one way or another, every single day of our lives with Scripture.
So how do we decide that we should read the Bible? We should read the Bible because it is a training manual, and our lives depend upon it.
I make a statement that strong because the Bible, as we have it, is so important in our lives. Here's what it says in Psalm 19:7-10: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold” (ESV).
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul writes these words: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man [or woman] of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (ESV).
So Paul and David are saying this book is where truth comes from. Now, it would be one thing for David to say that. It's one thing for Paul to say that. It's quite a different and less significant thing for me to say that. But do you know who else believed that this is the word of God? Jesus Himself believed that. He believed it with every fiber of His being.
Jesus read the Bible. When Jesus announced His ministry, He announced it by reading from the Holy Scriptures to all who were listening. So in order to be a follower of Him, you can go to the same source He went to, and that's Scripture itself.
I once asked a successful businessman who supervises employees, “If you had created a training manual for your staff, and it was absolutely imperative for them to read that training manual, how would you persuade them to read it?” He thought for a minute and said, “I would read it along with them. I’d read it to them if I had to.” I love that! Think about that. It changes everything when the boss comes and reads with you what you need to know.
Do you realize that’s exactly what God has done with His Word? He reads with you. When you read Scripture, He is reading along with you. How do I know that? It says in 1 Corinthians 2:13: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (ESV). In other words, God Himself makes His Word clear to us as we read it. If you’re wondering, How come I read the Bible, but I never understand it? it’s because you’re forgetting the fact that Jesus is right there beside you, reading along with you.
There are times when I’m reading the Bible, and I don’t understand it. I just turn to Him and say, “This doesn’t make any sense. What were you thinking when you wrote this down?” Sometimes He tells me, and sometimes He just says, “Just keep reading.” And sometimes He doesn’t answer at all, which means I should have gotten it and didn’t need to ask Him. You figure out for yourself how you want to communicate with Him about it, but He’s reading along with you as you are reading His Word.
Ultimately, we should read the Bible because of whose story this is. Moses is not the story of Moses; it’s the story of Jesus, a perfect Moses who would deliver His people from bondage. David is not the story of David; it’s the story of Jesus, who would be the perfect King, who would never sin and would rule in splendor and glory. It’s not the story of Noah, who would gather people on a boat; it’s a story of Jesus, who would gather us into His church and take us on a journey that one day will result in our reaching our eternal and promised land.
This is not your story. If you’re reading every story of the Bible, looking for yourself in the Bible, you will be disappointed. You’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope when you do that. If you read the Bible, realizing from the beginning to the end that it’s the story of the glory and the suffering of Christ, it will change everything … and it can help you change the world.
It starts with your deciding whether you will let the Word of God speak in your life. Would you take a moment now and make that decision?