Ten Reasons to Read the Bible
The Bible is brilliant and here are ten reasons why reading it opens up exciting opportunities for our lives. The Bible is God’s written word to us and as such:
1. The Bible can change our lives for the better
It can be very easy to live under oppressive man-made rules. The Bible warns us not to do this and encourages us to live in the freedom that God gives. Again, and again I have had to apply this principle when either others or myself have imposed unhelpful rules. I had a ridiculous idea when I was younger that I needed to get up at 5:00 am in order to succeed. I ended up exhausted and repeatedly failing in this. This was something I had made up and I even felt guilty when I slept in. Then I discovered that the Bible taught that God gives rest and sleep and he does not require either we get up early or stay up late. What a relief!
Levi was a loan shark and a man hungry for money who worked for very disreputable people. His friends were hoodlums, prostitutes and gangsters. Yet two words from Jesus completely changed his life. He became not only a follower of Jesus but wrote Matthew’s Gospel a book from the Bible. (Psalm 19:7)1The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
2. The Bible gives us hope for the future
As an eleven-year-old, I decided that I would trust that what Jesus had done when he died on the cross and was raised from the dead was sufficient for me to please God. This meant that despite my repeated wrongdoing and failed attempts at self-improvement I was acceptable to God. I found great peace and have never had a fear of dying because I know that I will be with Jesus forever in heaven. There can be no greater hope than this.
Elijah had run for his life from an evil queen who was intent on killing him. He felt burnt out and totally on his own and he lay down in the desert to die. Yet when God spoke to him he was re-energised giving him new purpose and strength. He went on to live an amazing life. (Romans 15:4) 24 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
3. The Bible makes us wise
One of my jobs involved resolving disputes and difficulties between people. There was often a lot of anger and accusation. Both sides were convinced the other side was lying and insincere. Two Biblical principles really helped me to deal fairly and well in these situations. The first principle was to be quick to listen but slow to speak. The second guideline was to establish what was happening on the basis of more than one witness. The amount of grief I was spared because of these and the avoidance of costly mistakes really helped me and the people I was dealing with.
Solomon realised he couldn’t handle the job he had. He was supposed to judge disputes in legal cases. God spoke to him and Solomon asked him for wisdom to judge in these tangled situations. Solomon became famous for his wisdom in these matters. (Psalm 19:7)3The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
4. The Bible develops us personally
In my late teens and early twenties, I was full of anger and arrogance. I did not deal well with people and was unaware of how I was living. As I read the Bible I saw ways of living and dealing with people that were very different. Over a period of time, I attempted to put into practice the changes that the Bible highlighted. I think this has made me someone who is better to know.
From an early age, Timothy learned about the Bible. He developed into a leader and Bible teacher that the Apostle Paul trusted to deal and be a troubleshooter between groups of people in places all over Greece. (2 Peter 1:4)44 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5. The Bible gives us direction
In my second year of higher education, I quit half-way through my course. I ended up in a dead-end job with no idea how I could get out of the mess I had made for myself. Not only was the Bible a comfort to me at this time but it taught me the need to acknowledge when I had got something wrong and be willing to put it right. In practice, this meant I had to go back to the college I had quit and asked if I could return. It did not seem possible that this could happen. The outcome of this was that I had to repeat a year but successfully completed my course and got my life back on track. I also met my wife which I would not have done if I had not followed the advice of the Bible.
Paul was a man who knew he had to travel around teaching people about the good news of Jesus. His problem was he didn’t know exactly where he should go. He tried several different directions without success. God spoke to him and he knew exactly where to go and experienced great success when he followed this direction. (Psalm 119:105)5 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
6. The Bible has the key to our success
There is a lot in the world that promise to bring us success. It is so easy to be taken in by promises that a get rich quick scheme or plan will work for us. The Bible has taught me that real change comes little by little and lasting success is built by doing what is right consistently over a period of time. I have found that whenever I follow this that I eventually succeed. When I try to take a non-Biblical shortcut it does not work out.
Some of the kings of Judah knew great success as rulers others were miserable failures. The ones who followed God’s word succeeded but the ones who didn’t follow messed up. There were some who were failing and then started following God’s word and ended up succeeding. There were some who were successful but then stopped following God’s word and ended up failures. (Psalm 1:2, 3)62 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.
7. The Bible protects us from being tricked
As a nine-year-old, I was listening to my headteacher telling the class about the theory of evolution. This did not jell with what the Bible taught. As I grew older I looked more carefully at what both taught and discovered that evolution is a theory and not a law. I believe what the Bible really teaches about this gives an accurate account of how things became as they are. Whenever science claims to contradict the Bible I have discovered other science that confirms what the Bible is saying. The Bible has helped me be more careful to assess what I hear.
The Israelites were tricked into forming a treaty with the Gibeonites. This was a binding contract that was not good for the Israelites. They were conned because they didn’t seek God’s word on this before they committed themselves. (Psalm 119:130)7 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
8. The Bible builds our self-respect
An evening viewing the adverts on TV can be an assault on our self-worth. According to the adverts I am not rich enough, do not look good and am leading a boring life. Yet the Bible tells me the truth that I am made in the image of God, and that I have been saved at great cost by Jesus from the wrong that I have done. Things are valued in the marketplace by how much people are willing to pay. God was willing to give his son for me.
A terrorist was caught by the authorities and sentenced to a slow lingering death. As this was in Roman times it meant crucifixion. He hung on his cross a failure and a murderer but Jesus was being crucified next to him. One sentence from Jesus changed him from failure with no hope or future to someone forgiven and saved forever. (Ephesians 1:3-5)8 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.
9. The Bible makes us courageous
In one very stressful job I had, I would regularly wake up at 3:00 am worrying about work-related issues. This was robbing me of sleep and not helping me either with the job or the stress of things. I discovered that if I thought about the promises in the Bible I would quickly go back to sleep and be refreshed in the morning. The Bible was a key ay this time to my overcoming fear.
Jesus’ disciples all ran away when Jesus was arrested by the Jewish authorities. After Jesus spoke to them following his resurrection from the dead they became bold witnesses travelling all over the world telling people about Jesus. (Proverbs 28:1)9 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
10. The Bible answers all our questions
Facing new things can be really challenging. The promises of the Bible have helped me to do new things and reap the benefits of change. On one occasion I sought voluntary redundancy because the time for that job had come to an end. I was diligent to look for a new job but was also confident that God had promised in the Bible to look after me during this change. The new job I found was great.
Time and time again the religious leaders came to Jesus trying to trap him with difficult questions. Jesus answered them all and silenced his critics. As we hear his voice through our Bibles we access his answers to the questions we face. (Colossians 2:3)10 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The Bible is brilliant why would we not want to read it for ourselves? The purpose of this series of articles is to help people access the Bible for themselves with the confidence they can learn for themselves.