As a Christian you’ve probably heard over and over, “Read your Bible!” But why? You get busy and it just doesn’t happen. Or you begin, but get bogged down in the “begats.” Or you really try, but it just doesn’t seem worth the effort; it’s not doing anything for you. Reading the Bible becomes one of those “should’s” hanging over your Christian life and making you feel guilty.
If that’s our experience, we must be missing something. Consider what the Bible has meant to believers throughout history. Would monks and other religious workers spend their entire lives painstakingly copying the Bible by hand if it were just a duty? Why would Guttenberg choose the Bible as the first work to be produced on his new invention – the printing press? Why would governments aligned against the Christian faith not uncommonly kill people simply for possessing a book? Would underground evangelists risk their very lives to bring Bibles to people if it were just something they “should” read? Why would believers in some countries rejoice with tears when they received their first Bible if they were only “supposed to” read it?
There must be something more to the Bible than we usually pay attention to. Many people in our culture possess multiple Bibles that are never read. Perhaps we value it too lightly because it hasn’t cost us anything, or we haven’t experienced any benefits from putting it into our souls.
If you haven’t experienced the Bible as vitally nourishing to your soul, here are 5 benefits that you’re missing out on:
- It changes your thinking. One of the biggest factors in your success in any area is your thinking: personal relationships, enjoyment and fulfillment in life, vocation, character development, and more. Spending time reading the Bible regularly provides wisdom, perspective, ideas, principles, and truths that elevate, stretch, clarify, strengthen, and sanctify your thinking. It’s the only way to “renew your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
- It changes your heart. Our natural God-given desires have become tainted and distorted by the sinful world in which we live. We can’t change our hearts ourselves no matter how hard we try. God’s word is a vital part of the way God works His transformation in our innermost being, causing our desires to change and making us again into His image. (Hebrews 8:10)
- It cleanses your soul. Our inner being is constantly being bombarded with distorted, ungodly, or shallow images, sounds, and other messages from media, people, or our own sinful memories and desires. God’s word provides the counterattack to the enemy’s war to contaminate and capture our souls. We need a regular dose of this cleansing. (Ephesians 5:26)
- It nourishes and grows your character. There is satisfaction and nourishment for your soul in God’s word that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a doorway to intimacy with God. It provides a barrier against destructive and sinful behavior, and a pathway to forgiveness when you need it. Without time in God’s word your inner spiritual being will be starved and stunted.
- It demonstrates the big picture. The Bible is a story, the story, of God making humankind, humanity’s royal mess-up, and God remaking humankind. It tells us that “Jesus is going to win!” Finding ourselves in that big story provides context for our suffering, meaning for our present, and hope for our future.
If you want to experience the nourishing and transforming grace that’s available through God’s word, find a way to make it a part of your life daily. Listen to an audio Bible while commuting. Read a few verses together as a family at breakfast. Download the Bible app on your smartphone and sign up for a reading plan. It’s never been easier, or more important, to make the Bible part of your life.
Your very life may depend on it.