Why Do People Read The Bible?
I started reading the Bible regularly a few years ago, and it’s had a great impact on my life. I grew up attending church on Sundays, but I never opened the Bible for myself. There were a number of reasons for that. I didn’t think reading the Bible was important. It was an outdated book written in confusing old English.
Now I can’t imagine not reading the Bible on a regular basis. When you study the Scriptures, you’ll realize how incredible the Bible is. Even though it was written thousands of years ago, the revelation and wisdom you’ll find still applies to your situations today.
There are many different reasons why people read the Bible. A 2021 study by American Bible Society reveals the top 8 reasons why people are still reading the Bible today.
1. The Bible brings us closer to God
One of the greatest benefits we experience in reading the Bible is becoming closer to God. When we read and study the God-inspired Scriptures, we draw near to Him.
We can see this play out in other areas of our life. When we watch a movie or TV show, we start developing a connection with the characters. When I listen to a certain podcast or YouTube video, I feel like I know the creator.
Spending time in the Bible strengthens our relationship with the Author.
Jesus explains to His disciples that His sheep (people who have a relationship with Him) know His voice and listen to what He says.
James 4:8 tells us that when we draw near to God, He responds and draws near to us. Reading the Bible, prayer, worship, and church services are all ways we can draw near to God.
2. The Bible brings comfort
The Bible is filled with Scriptures that offer comfort in times of trouble. I’ve found that when my life is getting out of control and filled with stress, I need to fill my mind with Scripture. I need to remind myself of what God says about the world, about me, and my troubles.
When I spend less time reading the Bible, I find myself getting more stressed and worried about life.
Bible verses like these bring peace and comfort into my life:
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NIV
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NKJV
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:1-3 NLT
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Isaiah 26:3 NIV
3. The Bible gives wisdom
The Bible is filled with wisdom for every area of our life. Scripture gives us great insights into how we should live, how to build healthy relationships, societal issues, marriage advice, business advice, and how to manage money biblically.
When we’re in need of wisdom, the Bible should be the first place we look.
Once you start reading more of the Bible, you’ll see that the vast majority of self-help wisdom is taken from biblical principles.
The book of Proverbs is called the book of wisdom. If you simply read a chapter of Proverbs every day, you’ll find that you gain incredible wisdom. Again, the Bible was written a very long time ago, but we’re still facing the same issues, and the wisdom within the pages of the Bible offers us answers.
One of the writers of Psal, 119 says, “I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.”
Jesus said that when we hear His words, and follow His instructions, we will be wise and will be able to withstand the troubles of the world.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Matthew 7:24 NKJV
Theodore Roosevelt said: “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”
4. We should read the Bible as Christians
Some people responded to the survey and said that they read the Bible because it’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s not a bad thing. If you want to have a decent life, you need to do things that you don’t feel like doing.
“Because I’m supposed to” can’t the the only reason you read the Bible, but having that as one reason is beneficial. Christianity is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ, not about following a set of rules.
But I agree that we are supposed to read the Bible. The Bible tells us that there are many things we should and shouldn’t do as Christians. One of those is reading and studying the Bible.
Acts 2:42 says that the early church was fully devoted to the teachings of the apostles. We have many of those teachings written down in the Bible, and we should be devoted to them as Christians.
5. The Bible shows us how to treat other people
You’ll often hear Bible critics talk about how the Bible approves of slavery, and all sorts of wickedness. The Bible does talk about the unjust actions of people. King David commits adultery and then has the woman’s husband killed. That is something that happened, but it’s not an example of how we ought to live. King Solomon had 100s of wives, but the Bible never tells us to follow in his footsteps.
The Bible is full of wisdom and instructions on how we should treat other people. Most of society’s rules like “The Golden Rule” and “The Good Samaritan” come straight from the Bible.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
Matthew 5:43-44 NIV
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”
Philippians 2:4 NLT
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Luke 6:41 NIV
6. The Bible tells us about God’s nature
Humans have a natural desire to seek God. God gives us hope that there’s more to our life and the world than just what we see. But, since God is an invisible being, it’s difficult to “know” Him.
We understand that Jesus is the Word of God. When He walked the earth, God was made visible. People heard Jesus speak. They saw Him do miracles. They ate and drank with Him.
Colossians 1:15 says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
What does that mean? Jesus, the Son, the Word of God, is the image of the God we can’t see with our eyes.
Does that mean your Bible (the Word of God) is equal to Jesus and God?
No. But, it does mean that we can see aspects of God within the Scriptures. We can learn more about God’s nature when we read the Bible.
Jesus was the physical representation of God on the earth, so when we read about what Jesus said and did, we learn more about God’s nature. We also learn about God’s nature when we read Bible verses about God telling us who He is.
God says that He is our Peace (Judges 6:24), He is our Protector (Psalm 3:3), He is our Healer (Exodus 15:26), He is our Provider (Genesis 22:13), He is our King (Psalm 47:6-7), and He is our Shepherd (Psalms 23:1).
7. The Bible helps reveal God’s will
One of life’s most prominent questions is what is the purpose of life? What are we living for?
What’s the point of all this?
One of my favorite Bible verses about the Bible is Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
The Bible doesn’t give us specific instructions about what we’re going to do, where we should live, or who we’re going to marry. You won’t find what you’re supposed to eat for breakfast in the Bible. But, reading the Bible does help us understand God’s will for our life. It doesn’t give us exact step-by-step directions. Instead, God’s Word lights up our path. We’re no longer wandering around in the darkness.
I’ve found that when I spend more time reading the Bible, I have more confidence in the direction I’m going. And I recognize when I seem to be off the right path. It’s more like walking with a compass in-hand than specific turn-by-turn directions.
Reading the Bible helps you reveal what God wants for your life, and acts as a North Star that you can follow.
8. The Bible is part of education plans
The final reason why people read the Bible is because it’s part of their education plan. Maybe they’re going to a Christian school and reading the Bible is part of their teaching, or enrolled in elective classes about Christianity.
I was enrolled in a two-year Bible college program, and reading the Bible was part of our weekly homework. Even though this was something I “had to do” it was a huge help. It got me to read books and chapters that I had never read before, and brought tons of clarity about the Bible.
Because I did two years of Bible college, I feel significantly more confident reading the Bible on my own, and helping other people understand it.
Many people choose not to read the Bible because it’s confusing, they don’t know where to start, or the language is unfamiliar.
Enrolling in a class that includes regular Bible study can help solve all of those issues. And hopefully there’s a teacher there that can help you gain a better understanding of the Bible.