The Bible is God's Word to us, and it contains instructions and wisdom for our lives as humans and as believers in Jesus Christ as Lord. If God did not desire for us to read His Word, why would He have written it and preserved it for several thousand years? Not reading the Bible may not inherently be a sin, especially for those who are not Christians; however, in the believer's life, it may indicate a sinful position of the heart such as laziness or apathy in our walk with God. James 4:17 says, "Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." For believers who have ready access to the Bible, not reading it is a sin of omission. Not only that, as is true with any sin, it is harmful to us. We cannot neglect God's Word and expect to know Him well and fully enjoy the fruit of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The Bible is a book about God. It tells us who He is and who we are. Second Timothy 3:16–17 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." Spending time in God's Word is vital to our spiritual growth.
Being God-breathed, the Bible is our standard for truth. Second Timothy 2:15 talks about the importance of rightly understanding and employing the truth of God's Word: "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." Ephesians 6:17 describes God's Word as the "sword of the Spirit." We cannot neglect this vital piece of armor as we go about our daily lives.
Hebrews 4:12 declares, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." God's Word has a way of exposing our hearts. It helps to clear the cloud of sin and misunderstanding so that we can see clearly. Hebrews 4:13 reminds, "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." Not reading the Bible makes us more likely to be deceived by the lies of Satan, the lies of this world, and the deceitfulness of our own hearts (John 8:44; James 1:14–15; 22–25; Jeremiah 17:9–10).
Reading God's Word increases our hunger for God. Many have referred to the Bible as God's love letter to us. Why would we not want to read that? And when we do read it, we grow in our understanding of Him and His character. We grow in our love for Him and mature in our faith.
Others have referred to the Bible as God's instruction manual for our lives. It shows us how we are to live. The Bible helps us understand what sin is and what righteousness is. Before sin is acted upon, it begins in the heart, which is the first place God looks (1 Samuel 16:7; Jeremiah 17:10; Romans 8:27). If we desire to live free from sin and instead cling to righteousness, it is essential that we read and study the Bible. Psalm 119:9–11 says:
"How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you."
This passage reveals that we can keep our way pure by following the guidelines that are laid out in God's Word. Having God's Word in our heart will help keep us from sinning. It not only helps us see what not to do, but the things that we should be doing instead. God's ways lead to life (John 10:10), while sin leads only to death (Romans 6:23). Not reading the Bible means not availing ourselves of the knowledge of the way of life. The Word of God helps to sanctify us as we walk out our faith (John 17:17).
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is an ode to delighting in God's Word. Verse 105 says: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." The Bible brings wisdom and shows us the way to walk. When we know God's Word, it helps us to recognize God's voice in our own prayer lives. His voice in prayer will never contradict His Word, the Bible.
The Holy Spirit helps us understand God's Word (John 16:13–14; 1 Corinthians 2:14). The Bible is not something we read and apply on our own. It is not a self-help book or a do-it-yourself guide to salvation and life. Rather, it is the living Word of God. Our righteousness comes only through Christ, not our works or our knowledge (Ephesians 2:1–10). But the Bible is a primary tool that God uses in the life of a believer as He transforms them to be more like Christ (Philippians 1:6; 2:12–13; Romans 8:28–30).
We should desire to read the Bible. Even in seasons of spiritual dryness when it feels like God is far away, when we have planted His Word in our hearts, He can bring verses of hope and encouragement to mind at the moments we need them the most (Romans 15:4). As believers, we are also instructed to know God's Word, so that we may rightly interpret its meanings (2 Timothy 2:15) and always be prepared to share the gospel (1 Peter 3:15). We should make it a habit to get into God's Word. The more we do that the more we will desire it—for it will incline our hearts to desire Him and delight in His words to us.
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