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Do I Really Have to Read the Bible?

Reading the Bible can seem like such a chore.  The old-fashioned language and writing style often make it very hard to understand.  Plus, it has so many pages.  Who has the time nowadays?  Besides, do we really need to read the Bible?  After all, that’s what the Sunday school teacher and pastor are for, right?

The answer to that last question is a resounding “No!”  It may be hard to fit it into our schedules.  It can be hard to understand what is being said at times, leaving you to wonder how it is relevant to your life.  However, the truth is that studying the Bible is a requirement for which there is no substitute or shortcut.  I can promise, though, that if you put in the time, the rewards are immeasurable.

Because He Said So

First and foremost, you have to read the Bible because it is a directive from God.  God tells us that we are to know his Word and keep it close to our hearts.  If you knew nothing else, the fact that God orders us to do it means you really do have to read the Bible.  There are other reasons, though, why it has to become part of your life.

Many times we feel that we need guidance.  Maybe we just need that quiet time for ourselves away from our crazy, packed schedules.  We think things would be easier if we could just talk to God.  Well, the Bible is God’s word.  It is one way that He communicates with us.

Any problem or any question we could ever have is covered in that book.  Whether we see it or not, the answers are in there.  Anytime we need peace, it’s in there.  Some of your most peaceful moments of clarity will be when you are spending quiet time studying the Word.

Maybe you’re happy and just want to share your joy.  The Bible has that, as well.  It is also very often a conversation starter.  You read.  You pray.  You find yourself talking to God and asking questions about what you’re reading.  What’s amazing is that you’ll find that God answers back.

Stop and Ask for Directions

Think about driving to an appointment downtown in a big city.  You glanced at the directions, but didn’t write then down or plug them into your GPS.  It’s no biggie.  You’ve been there before.  You kind of know the way.  However, once you get downtown in the thick of traffic, you start doubting if you’re going the right way.  Things don’t look exactly how you remember them.

You take a wrong turn and have to go around the block to get back on track.  Now you’re running late and get stuck behind the only person who decided to go ten miles below the speed limit.  So now you’re late, frustrated, and so mad you can’t see straight.  Your whole day is ruined just because you didn’t want to take the extra five minutes to study the directions and take them with you.

This is what happens when you don’t study the Bible.  The Bible is the complete set of directions God has given us for how to live our lives.  A lot of times we know the gist of what’s in it.  We’ve been there before.  We kind of know the way…. That is, until we get in the thick of our chaotic lives.

How can you walk the correct path to God if you don’t know the way?  Furthermore, how you can lead others to God if you can’t give them complete directions?  It’s not enough to know the basics.  You have to study the Bible in order to learn the complete set of directions God has given us.

There Has to Be an Easier Way

I wish there were a shortcut or a substitute for reading the Bible.  We go to church, we go to Sunday school, and we listen to the preacher teach us about what’s in the Bible.  We have unlimited access to information and advice on the Internet.  There are even whole channels devoted to sharing the Gospel.  However, nothing can take the place of studying God’s word for yourself.

Just because your preacher or Sunday school teacher is educated doesn’t mean they are always correct.  Just because that was how you were raised doesn’t mean it’s correct.  Just because your religion says that’s what you should believe doesn’t mean it’s correct.  You have to answer for your own actions.  You should never blindly follow.

There are a lot of false teachings in the world.  The Bible says that some are purposely put in our lives to try to keep us from God.  Others are honest mistakes or misinterpretations of God’s word.  If you don’t know the Bible well enough, you won’t know when you’re being led astray.

Your trust and faith in God should be the ultimate authority, not your religious leaders and teachers.  Rely on the Bible, not on your religion.  People are not perfect.  The Bible is.  Being able to recall proper and thorough directions when you need them will save you a lot of wrong turns and wasted frustration.

The Armor of God

When we’re little, we’re taught about putting on the armor of God in Sunday school.  We hear it but don’t really understand it.  As we get older, though, it becomes clearer how we need some sort of figurative shield to protect us.

The uncertainty and stress that comes with change can be overwhelming.  We are constantly evolving – finish school, get a job, lose a job, get a new job, get married, move to a new place, have a baby, sell the house, put the kids through college, suffer the loss of a loved one, struggle to pay bills, etc.

Those of us that choose to follow the Lord may have extra challenges to overcome.  It seems like the world constantly throws obstacles in our way during our walk with God.  Our jobs or schools sometimes ask us to do things that we feel goes against our beliefs.  People berate us for believing in God.  Kids get made fun of for praying.  It’s no wonder we need protection.  We need something to help us keep our sanity.

That’s why we talk about putting on the armor of God.  There are many ways God protects us from the world and gives us peace and joy.  The Bible is one of those ways.  It is one piece of that armor.  If we study what is in the Bible, then we can recall what we need when we need it.  It is the ammunition to help defeat whatever problem arises.

Yes, the Bible is huge and sometimes hard to understand.  Yes, it is sometimes hard to know how to apply it to your life.  The thing is that it doesn’t matter.  God knows.  You never know what problem or question you will have in the future, but God does.  You never know what questions others will ask of you about God, but God does.  Every time you read and study the Bible, you strengthen that armor.

Seasons of Change

There is another reason to study the Bible that isn’t discussed so often.  The Bible always seems to tell us something new and vital.  The Bible is God’s word.  It’s His instruction book and inspirational speech to coach you throughout your entire life.

The thing is we change so much over the span of our lives.  Who we are, how we view the world and what we need is completely different at the age of 21 than it is at 61.  The Bible, on the other hand, is unchanging.  Yet the message God wants to convey through his word seems to change with us.  The words may not change, but the lesson or inspiration we get from those words grow as we grow.

So, just because you read a certain part of the Bible years ago doesn’t mean that you don’t ever have to study it again.  Just because you have already been taught that particular lesson doesn’t mean you don’t need to revisit it.  God knows what you need at whatever stage of life you’re in.  Further study always yields further understanding.

So, open up your Bible.  It’s one of those things that God requires of his believers.  However, it doesn’t have to be a chore.  It’s a great way to communicate with the Lord, and yet it can be so much more.  It’s your one-on-one quiet and peaceful time with Him.  It’s your way of gaining the direction or inspiration you need.

It’s one more tool you can use to strengthen your heart and mind so you can shield yourself from any pitfalls you encounter.  It’s one way God gives us what we need when we need it.  It’s always there.  All you have to do is read it.

Don’t know where to start? Read this article: Which Books of the Bible Should I Read First?

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