- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On October 21, 2017
- 73 Comments
Someone once said that the Bible is God’s love letter to us. It’s impossible to be a Christian and not know what it says. Even the illiterate depend on sermons delivered from it. Now, by God’s grace, we can read it in so many different languages and listen to audio versions if perchance we cannot read.
The best way to read the Bible is not to read fragments from here and there occasionally. The Bible needs to be read daily and completely, not just once but every year. This post provides seven reasons why you should do so.
The Bible comprises 1,189 chapters in 66 books. If one reads 4 chapters daily, they will finish reading it in 297 days, with a couple of months extra to go into the next cycle. But there are reading plans for going through the Bible in precisely one year. These are organised in different ways so that you can choose the one you prefer. One approach, for instance, takes you through according to the order of the books while another goes according to the chronology of events in the Bible, Some Bibles and Christian organisations provide such guides and an online example can be seen here:
In 1993 or thereabouts, I came across one such guide. I didn’t actually follow it. I chose to read as the books are arranged in the Bible. I started with three chapters daily but quickly moved up to four to finish before one year. To the glory of God, my daily consumption has grown to six chapters and He enables me to go from Genesis to Revelation, over and over, without losing interest or taking a hiatus. To better understand what I’m reading, I sometimes consult study bibles, bible handbooks, commentaries and dictionaries for the historical background of events, culture of those involved, graphic representation of certain stuff, biographies, etc. (To dig deeper still, one needs to set out time for extensively studying the Bible at regular intervals.)
I shared the foregoing to show that the reasons I’m presenting in this post are authenticated by my personal experience. I’m recommending this because I do it myself and have benefited greatly from it. I have tried to keep the post from becoming unwieldy and I hope you are blessed from reading it.The Bible needs to be read daily and completely, not just once but every year. Click To Tweet
7 REASONS YOU SHOULD READ THE BIBLE THROUGH
(And do it yearly)
1. To have a fuller picture of God and his interactions with humanity through the ages: The Bible narrates how the world was created, God regularly sought man’s company, sin broke the relationship and God chose a family through whom His Son would be born as a man. Over time as that family grew into a nation, God spoke to her citizens and others through His prophets; His Son was born to pay the debt for humanity’s sins; He lived, died and resurrected. His followers now continue His ministry of reconciling men to God till His return in glory, etc.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” – Hebrews 1:1-3.
The details of this tale of the ages portraying characters, motivations, epic moments and what they all mean for us can only be got through a comprehensive reading. The interpretation is done by the Holy Spirit and because the subject is so vast, what He reveals to us today may not be what He shows us tomorrow. He keeps unveiling deep truths to us as we read and our lifetimes are not even long enough to learn all there is to tap from this story.Our lifetimes are not even long enough to learn all there is to tap from the Bible. Click To Tweet
2. To develop closeness to God: The Bible is essentially God’s communication to man. Although it has different books wrritten by different authors at different times, it is all inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16). As you learn a person’s character by reading His writings, so it is with God and the Bible. What makes this more potent is that God is an eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14) and He inhabits His word. In fact, He is said to be the same as His word (John 1:1). As we read His word, we interact with His Spirit and get to know Him intimately. This helps us to desire and do His will (Phillipians 2:13).
David is a good example here. He often meditated on God’s word. That’s why he knew that anyone who kills the Lord’s anointed will be punished by God, even if the anointed was erring as King Saul was (1 Samuel 26:6-11).
In helping us to understand God’s personality and character, reading the Bible through reveals to us what God is passionate about, what He cherishes and what He abhors. We learn, for example, that man’s redemption is His heart cry. He meticulously planned for it for ages after the Fall and considers extending that grace to everyone a priority since the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
One cannot know God well without falling hopelessly in love with Him. And when that happens, obeying Him becomes a delight, not donkeywork.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” – John 14:23
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1 John 5:3
(Related: Intimacy with God)
3. To improve your ability to hear clearly from Him: If you immerse yourself in God’s word, with time you will easily recognise His voice, whether you are receiving the message audibly; from the Scriptures, the counsel of others, your circumstances or in your heart. God is His word and God is a Spirit as stated earlier. You can identify what He is saying better because you know Him so well and you will know when the message is contradicting His personality or purpose, an indication that someone else is speaking. This what the Lord Jesus was illustrating when He spoke of Himself (the good shepherd) in John, chapter 10.
Recognising God's voice is easier when we become intimate with Him through His word. Click To Tweet
“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” – John 10:4-5
Besides, it is God’s promise that He will speak to you when you draw near to Him and obey Him.
“Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.” – Psalm 25: 12 &14 (ESV)
The meaning of verse 14 becomes clearer in the following translation. I add the next verse to show greater relevance to human needs.
“God-friendship is for God-worshipers; They are the ones he confides in. If I keep my eyes on GOD, I won’t trip over my own feet.” – Psalm 25: 14 & 15 (MSG)
4. To build your faith and revive it constantly: It is not easy to believe God in the face of our challenges if we don’t know His promises, our inheritance in Christ and how He has shown His faithfulness to those who went before us. The Bible demonstrates the efficacy of the word of God as we see the accounts of its fulfilment in the lives of the faithful. Then we can hold onto the hope that God’s word is true and He is able to do what He promised. This is the testimony of Joshua to the Israelites shortly before he died:
“And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” – Joshua 23:14
5. To understand the precepts of your faith and to attain spiritual maturity: We all need to know what is and what is not required of us as believers so that when people try to sell us unsound doctrines, we won’t buy. Besides, if you don’t know what your faith entails, you will keep switching your beliefs according to the latest fads and fancies. That is a sign of spiritual immaturity. I have transposed the verses below to drive home this point.
“14. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
“13. [but that] we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” – Ephesians 4:14 & 13 (words in square brackets mine).
There are so many things being peddled as part of Christianity whereas they shouldn’t be. For example, the Catholic church has people praying to saints and bowing down to statues.
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – 1 Timothy 2:5.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” – Exodus 20:4-5.
New churches are constantly springing up, some with dubious motives and making burdensome demands on their members. Folks are fleeced as a condition for obtaining God’s favour; they run from church to church and beyond seeking miracles as though they were the essence of Christianity. You need to settle down and read the Bible for yourself from start to finish, constantly, to be ahead of these scammers and to generally have a stable faith.
(Related: I Want to Join the Parade, Lord!)
6. To be able to preach and teach correctly: You cannot share the word of God effectively if you don’t know it. Yes, you can share your testimony of conversion, like the Samaritan woman. But you need to go beyond that, else when the tough questions begin to be thrown at you, you will draw a blank.
A panoramic knowledge of the word is required to defend the faith. Otherwise, people can pull verses out of context to bamboozle you. Now imagine if they pull a verse from a part of the Bible you’ve never read or quote something as scripture that is not even in the Bible like “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” You will be flapping around with nothing concrete to say or concede when you could have built a strong case if you had the knowledge.
A panoramic knowledge of the Bible is required to defend the Christian faith. Click To Tweet
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” – Jude 1:3
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” – 1 Peter 3:15.
As you are presenting the gospel to those outside the church, you also need to correct those who might be erring in the church as the Lord leads you. Correction of wrongdoing is vital in the church and we cannot all abdicate that responsibilty on the basis of ignorance or a misguided notion that God’s love is unconditional and only He can judge. The fact that we are all pressing towards perfection does not mean we should watch one another stray without offering some guidance. But it should all be done in meekness.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:1-2
There are so many thorny issues in contemporary Christianity. For example, some are saying it’s okay for a Christian to be gay or transgender, you can have an open marriage, you can identify as a cat or dog. What exactly does the Bible say about such matters? Well, find out.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – 2 Timothy 4:2-4
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” – 2 Timothy 3:16.
You see, it’s plainly stated in the last verse above: “All scripture.” You’ve got to read it all, not some of it, and keep doing so. The goal is not to be able to point accusing fingers at others, but to keep learning in order to correct yourself and others as occasion demands.
7. To make your prayers more powerful: God answers our petitions when they are made according to His will, for the most part (1 John 5:14). We need to know His word in and out and constantly revisit it, so that we can pray it back to Him for effective results. The word of God is also the sword of the Spirit. We need to have it all inside us to enable us fight our battles with relevant portions as the Spirit of God stirs them in our hearts.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” – Ephesians 6:13, 17 & 18.
(Related: Bible Study Aids Prayer)
Decide today to begin reading your Bible through yearly. What I did was to make a binding decision on this, a pledge to God. That helps me to stay on track. The flesh is weak and if we leave such an important matter to our feelings and convenience, we’ll never begin or we’ll have a case of fits and starts.
Lord, help me to take your word seriously, to read it daily and go through my Bible at least once every year. Help me to do this faithfully without pause for the rest on my life and grant me the grace to live out Your word in all I do in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible unless where otherwise stated.
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