Today is September 30th. I didn’t know the significance of that, but according to an Email I got last week from Bible Gateway, it’s Bible Translation Day. That sounded like a good time to write about the importance of reading our Bibles.
Firstly, as Christians, it’s important because God’s Word starts us off on our faith-journeys. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:14, 17). I recently watched a good documentary about John Wesley – the founder of the Methodist church. He went along to a meeting where Martin Luther’s thoughts on Paul’s letter to the Romans were read aloud, and Wesley wrote afterwards that his ‘Heart was strangely warmed’. Something of God made it off the page and into his heart – faith came by hearing God’s Word. I can say the same about the night I became a Christian.
Secondly, the Bible’s important because even while parts of it were still being written, people began using it to connect with God. You might remember a previous post on Daniel 9, where I talked about how Daniel’s study of God’s message to Jeremiah prompted him to pray. Of course, it’s not only true for Daniel, but also for us. “It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says” (Matthew 4:4). “Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5). What Jesus means is that we can’t live or do anything of eternal value unless we stay connected to Him, and the Bible helps us to do that.
Lastly, the Bible is truth. “But test everything. Keep what is good, and stay away from everything that is evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). When I was a new Christian and talking about my conversion experience, one of my friends (who wasn’t a believer) told me it didn’t say anything about hell in the Bible. Now I didn’t know the Bible very well at the time, but if I had, I could have challenged that. I also came across a group of people who said they didn’t believe in the Holy Spirit.
Seeing whether something measures up to the truth can be extremely helpful in building ourselves up. I don’t feel good enough? Well, God’s chosen me and not rejected me. I’m concerned about the future? God will meet all my needs.
To summarise, the Bible is ACE. It helps us arrive at our conclusions about God, keeps us connected with Him, and by its truth we can evaluate the things we hear and feel. What keeps you from opening up a Bible and reading it for yourself?