One thing I’ve found quite odd in the Christian community is the mindset that reading the Bible is a chore.
Think about it. When was the last time most of us thought about reading the Bible – maybe the first thing that pops into our heads is Old Testament law – and thought, “Wow, this is such a great thing to read!”?
As hard as it is to admit it, I often have thought that way.
It took me until I was twelve or thirteen to really grasp the significance of the Bible, and practically only this year have I found such comfort, peace, and joy in studying it.
But we Christians so often treat God’s Holy Word like it’s a burden to read.
Because I’m an avid reader, I often have a book on hand that I’m into and want to read. Many times, I’ll read the Bible on my Kindle, where I have a lot of other books. While knowing full-well that I am here to read the Bible, to spend time with God and study His word, I get distracted and start thinking about what happened in the last chapter of that new novel, or how it’s going to end, or how the characters are going to make it out alive. It’s sad for me to admit it, but so many times, I’m so engaged in a fictional world that I forget how life-changing the Bible truly is.
I think our attitudes towards the Bible come from the misconceptions we harbor toward the Word of God. The misconception that the Bible is just life’s rulebook, one we must obey or else face the wrath of our iron-fisted God. The misconception that the Bible is just another classic book – dusty, hard to read, and irrelevant.
They’re not true.
And here, I would like to share with you three truths about the Bible to help us avoid the “duty” mindset.
The Bible is Powerful.
The Bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s not just a book written by people who lived thousands of years ago and thought they were important. It was written by God, through humans just like us, whom God decided to use. Not because they were special, but because they were willing.
This means that the principles in the Bible are timeless. The Gospel does not change. Jesus, the Savior of Paul, is the same Savior that we place our faith in today. We pray to the same God that Martin Luther prayed to, and Moses prayed to, and George Washington prayed to, and Mother Theresa prayed to. We see all these people as amazing; and yet they were just vessels that were used by God through their relationship with Him.
The Bible Encourages Us.
When I’m depressed and discouraged, I can find no distraction big enough to fix me. I can find no motivational quote inspiring enough to get me through. But the Scripture can. Scriptures that remind me that I can have peace, no matter what. Scriptures that remind me that I am never forgotten or forsaken. Scriptures that remind me that I am lavished in love, and it has nothing to do with me.
Now listen, I’m not trying to say that simply reading the Bible is the end-all-be-all of depression, anxiety, or any other struggles. Simply reading does nothing, for truly knowing God is the key.
By reading the Bible, we get to know God. We get to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We get to know that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside us (Romans 8:11). We get to be acquainted with the fact that no matter how we perform, no matter what happens to us in this life, no matter the depths of despair, we can have hope.
The rest of the world cannot have this hope because it is supernatural. Only in the Bible can we truly know the hope of Christ – His love, His grace, and His joy regardless of our circumstances (Romans 5:2-5).
The Bible Leads Us To Maturity.
Let me be straight-up here – there is no greater book pertaining to our faith than the Bible. No other book that is the standard of absolute truth. There is no other book with concepts that stand out in different ways to us every time we read them. To forsake the Bible as absolute truth is to reject maturity.
What do I mean by that?
I simply mean that if we want to grow in our faith, we must move past the elementary doctrine of Christ (Hebrews 6:1) and get over the emotions. Faith is more than a feeling; it is a choice and it is assurance of our hope (Hebrews 11:1).
When we read the Bible, our faith is strengthened. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts and reveals things to us that we haven’t seen before.
As for growing, we grow in grace (2 Peter 3:18). By studying the Bible, we can begin to comprehend what grace looks like and why it is incredible. We see that in our darkness when we did not deserve forgiveness whatsoever, our sins were paid for.
The more we read, the more we understand. The more we understand, the more we want to get to know God better. And the more we will.
Let’s stop looking at the Bible like it’s a burden, a chore, or a hassle.
Instead, let us see it for the blessing that it is – the offering of hope in the midst of our crazy lives.