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It’s an ancient book that’s difficult to understand. So why should I read the Bible?

The primary reason for reading the Bible is to understand the experiences of those who claim to have encountered God. The collection of books within the Bible spans approximately 9000 years, revealing aspects of how humanity understood the divine. Daily reading enriches our familiarity with how God has revealed himself.

With the bible spanning such a vast period of time and being of ancient origins, is it still relevant for us today? Should we engage with it, and should we take it seriously?

Firstly, we need to understand what it is we are reading, and then we realise why we should read it.

 

The Bible emerged over thousands of years, containing 66 books from over 66 authors as they documented, reflected, sang, recited and storied their interactions with who they understood God to be. Their genres include wisdom, poems, songs, eyewitness accounts, apocalyptic and prophetic writings, epistles, parables, narratives, genealogy, history and laws.

hese genres of the Bible demonstrate a profound range of experiences regarding what it means to be human. Moving throughout the books of the Bible, we see people wrestling with the hardship of existing in a broken world. The oldest book (although not the first one) is Job and is wisdom literature. It depicts a godly man struggling with blessings and suffering and seeking to reconcile those experiences in light of his faith, amongst other themes. One of the oldest questions is explored in this book ‘why do bad things happen to good people‘?

We see humans attempting to understand the God of the universe as He steadily reveals himself incrementally and purposefully to humanity. They learn to love, legislate, preserve, protect, mourn, celebrate and triumph as they navigate the harshness of existence. And make no mistake; these books come from a more brutal context than most of us are familiar with.

The earliest writings explore a world in which there is little civility, the rule of law and any sense of what we might understand as morality. Additionally, surviving was a choir. There were no supermarkets or industrial organisations. There were no fast modes of transport or ways to preserve health effectively. So much of what we enjoy in advancing the human race is entirely unimaginable to the people of the Bible.

These experiences gave them an appreciation for the beauty in life and a respect for the severity of existing long enough to encounter the positives. Each genre gives us a deep and immeasurably rich understanding of the themes of the human experience. Furthermore, they help us understand how God became acquainted with our existence, despite our rebellion towards Him.

The Bible is how we can know God, know ourselves and what this thing called ‘life‘ amounts to. Therefore, everything we experience in our journey of faith in the future can and should be measured against who God has already revealed Himself to be through the Holy Christian bible.

 

What is the importance of the Bible in our daily life?

 

The Centre For Bible Engagement released an interesting report in 2009.

Reading the Bible 4 times a week leads to a sense of spiritual closeness with God and tangible changes in character and behaviour. The Bible allows us to understand the nature of God and how he reveals himself to humanity. It helps us make sense of life and our faith.

If we encounter information in our travels that claims to reveal the nature of God, yet it is not found in the Bible, then we can safely dismiss it. That’s because we understand the Bible, in its current form, is a closed collection of books. It’s not that new experiences cannot be considered to be from God; it’s that we hold this book to be a standard of reliable authority on which we build our sense of who God is.

Consequently, we can know God better through engaging with the Bible. It continues to guide us as we grow in our understanding of life and our relation to God.

 

How Does The Bible Guide Us?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Several things are happening as the Bible guides us. Firstly, we are building a working knowledge of how God interacts with humanity. Secondly, we are inspired by the things we read. Thirdly, we sense something spiritual takes place as we seek to contextualise and apply what we read.

Regular reading of the Bible helps develop our perspective on the collective experiences of those who have already interacted with God. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable for us to build some expectations around what we read in the Bible as we seek to know God and know Him better.

The more we read the Bible, the more perspective we gain. As we continually build the picture, we are often struck with a moment of deep conviction by the things we read. We understand this to be more than a conscious awareness that something needs to happen concerning what we have just read. Instead, we see this as the Holy Spirit bringing us to attention of needed change within our lives. There is a synthesis between what we read and the work of the Holy Spirit as we read.

So, we read to know who God is. We read to know Him better. We read to allow Him to work on our hearts and lives. We read to understand the nature of humanity and our journey through life. We read to find guidance, hope and wisdom.

These are just a handful. What are the reasons you read the Bible? Comment below.

KEY VERSES: 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Bible references are taken from the NIV
Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

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