When I was a young believer, I received a study Bible for a gift. The study notes helped me understand a book which had previously seemed like an enigma. The appendix contained a Bible reading plan. If one followed the schedule, he or she could read through the Bible in a year. I soon began following the guide. I have since read through the Bible on a number of occasions. My experiences have taught me that there is a lot to be gained from systematically reading Scripture. Of itself, the Word of God says the same thing (Psalm 19:9-11). The Bible is a beneficial book. When we read it, remember it, and rely upon it, many blessings come our way. Consider three.
Few like to be told that they’re wrong. I remember when I first learned how to drive a manual transmission. For months, I ground the gears when I shifted, not realizing the harm I was doing to my car. When a friend pointed my fault out to me, I was a bit peeved. Later I was thankful. His instruction saved me from harming my transmission. Mature Christians have a similar gratitude for spiritual correction. They know they aren’t perfect, and they understand how unaddressed sin can hold them back (Hebrews 12:1). They address their shortcomings, so that they can spiritually flourish. The Bible is a great source for receiving such improvement. Paul said the Word of God is “profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting” (2 Timothy 3:16). When we regularly read and heed what the Bible says, we experience deliverance from debilitating deficiencies.
Bible reading also does something to sanctify us. When its principles begin to take hold of our thinking patterns, our lives are gradually changed. In time, we begin to look drastically different than others. Our values, speech patterns, and general demeanors change. The Bible calls this resultant state “sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). It is the condition of being set apart from the world’s way of living unto the Lord’s way of living. Jesus taught the Bible is a primary means of undergoing such change. When He prayed for us, He said, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). If you want your life to be free of the toxic talk, emotional chaos, life-dominating hangups that characterize many people in our world, commit yourself to consuming God’s Word. It will sanctify you!
A final benefit of Bible reading is the way in which it gives us examples of people who were faithful to the Lord. Paul knew this. That’s why he once said, “For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures” (Romans 15:4). Regularly reading and reflecting upon Bible narratives can build us up. Every time I’m tempted to be impatient, I think about the perseverance of Joseph. When I’m tempted to sin, I think about the result of David’s failure. If I become discouraged over the evil in our corrupt world, I think of Daniel’s faithfulness in Babylon. The Bible blesses us with examples for our spiritual encouragement and endurance. Read it!