We have at our disposal a wide variety of books that could be read. There’s fiction and non-fiction, self-help and pleasure, and on and on. But one book excels them all: the Bible. May I suggest several reasons why we want to know the Bible.
We want to read and study the Bible because it is the Word of our Creator.
God created man, and He gave undeniable witness of Himself in the heavens and earth that we observe and live in. But He gave us more than that; He gave us special revelation, divine revelation that you and I, His creatures, needed. The preacher writes, “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). “Remembering” our Creator is more than the idea of not forgetting; it really expresses the idea of giving attention to know Him and His will for us. We are awed and blessed by our Creator communicating to us in this special revelation.
We want to read and study the Bible because it is the way we can know God.
Indeed, we can know some things about God through His creation: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead” (Romans 1:20). But knowing God, not just knowing about God, is true riches: “But let him who glories glory in this, that He understands and knows Me…” (Jeremiah 9:24). How great a thing it is to know God! And the way we can know God is through what is written in the Bible. The apostle Paul wrote, “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13). The apostles have spoken (and written), in words from the Holy Spirit, the things of God. So we can truly know God, the things of God, by reading the Bible. You and I know a lot of things about a lot of people, but we could not say we know all those people. Likewise, one may know about God, but what we really want is to know God, and we can know Him through His written word.
We want to read and study the Bible because it is the way we can know about ourselves.
It is the Bible that tells us of origins, including our own. “For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:13-14). But more than just our physical beginnings, the Bible tells us that we are more than just this physical body; we are soul and spirit. “So God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). And the Bible tells us how to understand our hearts, including our intellect, our purposes, and will, our emotions, and our conscience. The Bible is a perfect mirror for our souls, a mirror into which we can, and must, look to see ourselves for what we are. We have in the Bible a standard and a mirror that if we will let it, will cut us deeply to know and understand the thoughts and intents of our hearts. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). By reading the Bible, we can understand our purpose in living: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
We want to read and study the Bible because it tells us what God has done and is doing for us.
God is active. To men in Lystra Paul proclaimed about God, “He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). But except it were written, we would not know that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The truth of the sacrificial death of the Son of God for our sins has been declared in the Bible to you and me so that we may have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And the blessing does not end with fellowship. Consider just one example of what God continues to do for us: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
We want to read and study the Bible because it tells us what God wants us to do.
Knowing what God has done and is doing, we ask this: does He want me to do anything? How shall I respond to Him and to what He has done? “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). We want to know how to respond to the gift of His grace through Jesus Christ, and we will not know that except by what is written. We would not know how to call upon the name of the Lord except for that which is written: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). And the Bible has the final, definitive answers to what God wants us to be and to do, for it contains “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). And the words of Jesus in the Bible are eternally important, for Jesus said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). We are interested in pleasing God, and “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6), and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Through the written word of God in the Bible we can then have faith by which we can please God. That faith is a faith that diligently seeks Him (Hebrews 11:6) and is a faith that not just hears the sayings of Christ but “does them” (Matthew 7:24). What a blessing to have in the Bible all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). So we want to read and study the Bible so that we can know and do what pleases Him.
We want to read and study the Bible because we want to defeat sin and error in our lives.
We recognize that the devil is real, and that he seeks our destruction. He has many evil workers in the world and has many schemes (Ephesians 6:11). And so the apostle Peter tells saints, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). How can we overcome him? “Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:9a). The shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, are part of the armor of God that we may be able to withstand in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13-18). So we want to know the Bible, the word of God, so that we can withstand temptation and evil. And not only does the devil try to overthrow our faith through temptations of wickedness and evil, but through error of teaching. The churches of Galatia had allowed a different gospel to come in among them: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-7). The solution for determining the error was simple: compare the gospel Paul had preached to them, which they had received, to the “gospel” that was now being taught: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). The Bible is the word of truth, and by reading, studying it, and knowing it, we can identify error in teachings that contradict the Bible. Accepting the error would cause us to stray, overthrow our faith, and cause a shipwrecked faith (2 Timothy 2:15-18; 1 Timothy 1:18-20). I don’t want that, and you don’t either. And so we want to know the Bible to avoid that devastating result.
We want to read and study the Bible because it tells us how to get home.
While the Bible shows us how to defeat sin and error in our lives, it also shows us how to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). In hearing and doing the sayings of Christ, we are building our house upon the rock, able to withstand the storms of life (Matthew 7:24-25). That’s important to us, because we recognize that “our life is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14), and “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). Since we are but sojourners and pilgrims on this earth, we want to be “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10) so that one day we can “be at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). God’s word is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). The Bible will lead us home.
- Larry Jones
“How precious is the Book divine,
By inspiration giv’n!
Bright as a lamp its precepts shine,
To guide my soul to heav’n.
Holy Book divine!
Precious treasure mine!
Lamp to my feet and a light to my way
To guide me safely home.”
(From “The Precious Book Divine”, by L.O. Sanderson)