How to Read the Bible and Why it Matters
Saint Augustine said:
The Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.
The Bible is God’s Word written to us. Its value can’t be overstated. Its impact is limitless. Its wisdom is deep. Its precepts are profound.
And when we read God’s Word, we can be confident that God is speaking to us, bringing transformation from the inside out.
When we read God’s Word, the question isn’t: “What will the Bible bring to me?” The real question is: “Will I bring myself to the Bible?“
The decision to read God’s Word and to study and obey its commands is one of utmost importance for the follower of Jesus.
However, despite the average person spending around three and a half hours on their phone each day, there are many people who would say that they don’t have time to read the Bible every day.
And if one does make time to read, the question becomes: how do you read the Bible?
For many of us, the Bible is simply a collection of devotional literature. Whether we read it with morning coffee or at night after the children are in bed, God’s Word is often viewed as something meant to inspire us throughout our days following Jesus.
But, is Scripture only for devotional material? Is it only a collection of verses meant to encourage and inspire us as we begin a new day?
Maybe God’s Word is meant for something more.
Maybe God’s Word provides us with ancient wisdom for our modern context.
Maybe God’s Word gives us a framework for how to view the world and see things through His eyes.
What if reading the Bible was less about information and more about transformation?
Because according to Scripture, that’s exactly what it’s meant to be…. The Book That Transforms.
The Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, states:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God’s Word is useful for more than just inspiration.
God’s Word is primarily used for transformation.
It’s His Word that teaches us, rebukes us, corrects us, and trains us.
When we read the Bible, we are reading words that are God-breathed and life-transforming.
God designed His Word to do more than inspire. By His sovereign design, His Word reaches into the depths of who we are, and from that place, we can begin to transform from the inside out.
The Bible is transformative. It speaks to who we are and calls us to something more. It reveals to us what it means to be human and what true human flourishing looks like.
This is why reading God’s Word is vital to our journey following Jesus. Because in reading God’s Word, we open ourselves up to be shaped, molded, and transformed into the image of Jesus.
Essential Qualities for Reading God’s Word
Here are a few essential qualities we need when we read God’s Word.
When we come to God’s Word, we are approaching not just a book, but an Author. And this Author knows us better than we know ourselves. The Author knows our shortcomings and our frustrations. He is intimately acquainted with our brokenness and our pain. His Word is like a mirror that reveals to us who we truly are, for better or for worse.
And because of this, when we come to His Word, we come humbly knowing that He alone can heal us and transform us and do in us what we could never do on our own.
When we come to God’s Word, we are to come with an expectation that He is going to speak to us. We are to come full of hope that the Author of this transformational book is going to transform us.
God is faithful to His Word.
So, when we read His Word, we are to read it with an expectation that He is going to fulfill it.
God can and will transform us through His Word. We just need to come expecting Him to do so.
In case you weren’t aware, we don’t know it all. But in our fallen human nature, we are often led to believe that we do.
Because of this, we often come to God’s Word with preconceived notions about what it says. We hope that His Word will confirm our beliefs and affirm our decisions.
But so often, it doesn’t.
More often than not, God’s Word stands in opposition to our own ways and thought patterns.
So, when we come to God’s Word, it’s imperative that we come willing to learn. To grow. To be confronted with the reality that we don’t know everything.
Our preconceived notions about God and this world might need to be transformed.
And in order for that to happen, we have to be willing. We have to be open and available for God to not only speak to us, but transform us. We have to be willing to let God reorder our priorities and reshape our desires. We have to be willing to let Him transform us and to show us His way.
The question isn’t: will God transform you?
It’s: will you let God transform you?
I Want to Understand the Bible More
The Bible is a beautiful collection of books from ancient days. But, although it’s an ancient text, its truth and relevance remains.
Immersing ourselves in God’s Word is an essential discipline for every follower of Jesus.
When we choose to read God’s Word, coming to it with humility, expectancy, and a willingness to learn, we open ourselves up to being transformed at the deepest level.
The goal of reading God’s Word isn’t only to say you do. The goal of reading God’s Word is to become more intimate with the Author, which leads to deep transformation and true flourishing.
If you’d like to learn more about the history of the Bible and its relevance for today, you can check out our online course: History of the Bible.
In this course, Dr. Michael Heiser looks at how human authorship is part of biblical inspiration, as well as describing how the books of the Bible came to be viewed as sacred.
Diving deeper into God’s Word is essential to our growth and maturity as followers of Jesus.
So, if you’d like to take a deeper dive into the Bible, click here!
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