It seems to me that fewer and fewer people are reading the Bible. Most Christians say they read it, but sometimes I wonder if they’re just saying that so others won’t think they are “bad Christians.” And of those Christians who do read the Bible, they only read the parts of it that they like. I remember one person I know used to just read the Revelation over and over again because it was cool, but she’d never touched the Old Testament because it was boring.
It’s interesting to me that we can call ourselves Christians without really knowing what we believe.
Granted, we know the most important thing, as today’s verse explains:
1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4
1 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.
As Paul writes, Christians all know what is most important: Christ died for our sins and rose again on the third day.
But what about the rest of it? If the Bible isn’t important, why do we have it? If the Old Testament is just a bunch of history and timelines and geneologies, why did Jesus have such a respect for it? Even the verse above makes reference to Scripture, basing our faith on what Scripture says.
Why is it that we think we can live a Christian life without reading the Bible? Without knowing what it says?
This is what I think:
The Bible is a living book. You can read the same verse over and over and over again for years and years and years and then all of a sudden — one day — you can read it and it means something completely different to you. When you’re a child, it means one thing. When you’re a teenager, it means something else. When you’re an adult, it means something else yet again. Its depth and breadth grows as we grow. It reaches different levels of meaning as we are able to understand them.
The Bible is God’s Word. The Bible is God’s means of communicating with us.
Maybe there are times when you think you hear a voice in your head. Maybe there are times when you have dreams. Maybe there are times when God speaks to you through someone else. Maybe. I’m not going there today. Because sometimes these things aren’t real. But the Bible is always real.
The Bible is the best way to get to know God, to get to know what He wants for your life, to understand what the future holds.
But if you never read the Bible, you’ll never know who God is. Can you believe in Jesus without reading the Bible? Of course. Can you believe Jesus died for your sins without actually reading the account? Yes. There’s no verse anywhere that says you have to read the Bible to be saved.
Okay. Bad analogy time.
I have never owned an i-Phone, but I know people who do. And they seem to be able to do just about anything. There’s an ap for just about any conceivable need or want. There are games. There are tools. The IT guru at church can even control the computer that runs our giant screens from his i-Phone . . . which about freaked me out the last time I was running them because the screens started running themselves.
What if someone purchased an i-Phone and only used it to call people?
I mean, that would be okay, wouldn’t it? After all, an i-Phone is — first and foremost — a cell phone. But it’s so much more than just a cell phone, it seems a waste to only use it to call your mom or your best friend.
Being a Christian who doesn’t read the Bible is like using an i-Phone only to call people. You have grasped the most foundational truth about it, but there is so much more functionality, more purpose, more awesome experiences you can have if you just know how to use it.
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross means so much more when you understand who He is.
The depravity of the human race is so much clearer when you understand that people were the same 10,000 years ago as they are now.
God’s great love for His creation is so much more dumbfounding when you understand the lengths He has gone to in order to protect the people who are willing to follow Him.
Reading the Bible gives you insight into people, into yourself. It teaches you how to live, how not to live. It reminds us that for every action there is a consequence, what we reap, we will sow. The Bible is full of wisdom, and if you can wrap your head around it and live by it, you will come to know God Himself.
How can you say you’re friends with God if you never talk to Him? If you never listen to Him? The Bible is the key to understanding God’s will for your life. So how are you to know what that is until you read it?
If you think the Bible is too confusing, find a translation that makes sense. Try the New Living Translation. Try the Message. Just read it. Read it again. And read it again. Don’t stop. And when you find something that doesn’t make sense, ask somebody.
Even if it’s just five minutes a day, even if it’s just one verse a day, read it. If you have time to watch movies, play games, read novels, go to work, go to school, you have five minutes you can give God. Just give Him that and see what He does with it. You won’t be sorry.