I grew up in a Christian home and have gone to church my entire life. People have always told me I “have” to spend time reading my Bible. It has been presented as a duty and discipline of being a good Christian. There was one problem – I didn’t like reading anything. Then, when I forced myself to read the Bible I had another problem – I couldn’t understand it. I felt like a terrible Christian.
The sad reality is this is not at all God’s desire for us when it comes to the Scriptures. The Bible is not something I “have” to use, it is God’s Word I “get” to use. God wants us to encounter Himself and His love for us. He wants us to know what it looks like for us to love Him. When we see the Bible from this perspective, it can change our response from a duty to an opportunity and a blessing.
Over time, I have come to understand four significant reasons why the Bible is so important for us.
1. The Bible Helps Us Know God
I’m really not a fan of people thinking they know me because of what someone else has said about me. I would rather people know me by spending time with me. The same principle holds true with God. Humans have all kinds of ideas of what God is like. Many of those ideas have been passed on to us by other people. Sadly, some of those ideas are not what God has told us about Himself. This is where the Bible comes in.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is for us to love God (Matthew 22:37). If we are going to love someone, it is probably important we know what this person is like.
I am not saying the Bible is the way to know God. It teaches us Jesus is the only way this can happen. I am saying if we want to know what God is like and how He acts, the Bible is where we go to discover this.
2. The Bible Helps Us Grow to Be Like Jesus
If we claim to be disciples/followers of Jesus, then we are saying we not only believe in Him, but we also want to be like Him. The Bible teaches us God adopted us as His children, but is not content to leave us there. He is conforming us to the image of Jesus (Romans 8:29).
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 says, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” If we want to be growing as followers of Jesus, we need the Bible to correct and equip us.
1 Timothy 4:7 says, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness.” If we want to be godly, the Bible will help show us what it looks like to be godly.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” If we want to think the way God thinks, then we need the Bible because it helps us know how God thinks.
3. The Bible Helps Us Fight Temptations
I hear men all the time tell me about how they “struggle” with certain sins. They talk about how they never seem to have victory. Yet, most of the time we are trying to fight a spiritual battle with physical weapons.
When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, every single response He had to the temptations started with the words, “It is written.” Jesus fought against temptation by quoting the Bible.
The apostle Paul shows us how the Scriptures are a spiritual weapon in Ephesians 6:17 when he says, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We are to use God’s Word to help us give our minds clarity on what is true compared to the lie of the temptation we are facing.
In Psalm 119:11, King David tells us how the Scriptures helped him. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
If we are tired of sin and temptations in our life, then we need the Bible to help us fight back.
4. The Bible Prepares Us to Represent Jesus
The Christian life is not to be a private life. It is not primarily about the moments we are gathered with other believers or our personal moments with God. Every day, we are in the company of people who are hurting and broken. Every day, there are people around us who do not know God. The Bible is what we need to prepare us to faithfully represent Jesus.
1 Peter 3:15 teaches us, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” The Bible is what will help us understand the hope that is in us.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” One of the most important ways to know how to handle the word of truth is to know the word of truth.
Use Your Bible
The Canadian Bible Engagement Study tells us the vast majority of Christians rarely read the Bible. I get it – I’ve been there. We need to have a new perspective about why connecting with God’s Word is so important for our own life and relationship with God. I have learned to approach the Bible as an act of growing my relationship with God more than a duty to show how good I am. I have also learned the more I read, meditate, and study the Bible – the more I understand it.
May we all have a better appreciation for why we need God’s Word.