Everyone has heard of the Bible. It is the most sold, most translated and most printed book of all time. The Guinness Book of World Records estimates that more than five billion copies of the Bible have been printed throughout history. The influence of the Bible is also enormous. It is the sacred text for the world’s largest religion—approximately 2.3 billion Christians. Historian Tom Holland traces in his book, “Dominion,” how the Bible has shaped modern culture and values more than any other book. It is impossible to overstate the impact of the Bible. So, the Bible has an important place in history and today.
There are many important books that many Americans have not read today. While reading such books might provide some literary value, reading them isn’t typically viewed as crucial for a person’s sense of purpose or wellbeing. But we do view the Bible this way.
But why should you read it?
3 Reasons Why You Should Read The Bible
1. The Bible is the word of God. In 2 Timothy, we read, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV). The Bible is inspired by God, meaning that every word has been authored by God. He is the source for what we read in the pages of the Bible. God is the same today as He was yesterday, and He will be the same forever. The divine wisdom found in the Bible is a solid foundation for us to build our lives upon.
2. In its introduction, the Gospel of John calls Jesus the “logos,” a Greek word that can be translated into “Word” or “reason.” John tells the reader that Jesus created everything and that understanding the reason for everything requires knowing Jesus. He is the key to unlocking what creation is about. This is just as true for you and me as it is anything else. If we want to know God’s plan for us and for the world, we will read the Bible. There are many books today that can tell you how things work or even where things came from. But only the Bible can explain why anything exists in the first place. The Bible provides God’s blueprint for everything and for us.
3. In the Bible, we meet Jesus. He is present on every page. The New Testament is about Jesus. It was written because Jesus told His disciples to be witnesses. The disciples were witnesses to who He is and what He did. Their witness was written down and collected into what we call the New Testament. Jesus, the subject of the New Testament, embodies and fulfills the Old Testament. So, at any point in the Bible, we encounter Jesus—not only a description of Him but, through the Holy Spirit, His real presence. When we meet Jesus in Scripture, we can be changed and become more like Him.
3 Quick Tips To Study The Bible
First, the Bible contains many types of books from poetry to biography to letters and more. It can be difficult to know where to start when jumping into the Bible. My advice would be to start with the gospels; specifically, the Gospel of John. John is a profound yet approachable book that will give you a powerful portrayal of Jesus and set you up well for reading the rest of the gospels and even the Bible as a whole.
Second, start a reading plan on your preferred Bible app or with a printable plan. Don’t just go for quantity. While reading the whole Bible is a great goal, you don’t want to take on too much too fast. Make sure that your Bible plan allows you to really take in what you’re reading and to meet Jesus in the text.
Third, the Bible was written in many places by many people across centuries. Therefore, we can sometimes feel confused or unsure about the social and cultural settings found in the Bible. People who have devoted their lives to studying the Bible’s original context. Background commentaries like Craig Keener’s “IVP New Testament Background Commentary” help answer the questions we have and clarify what the Bible is saying. When you come to something you aren’t sure about, reach for the footnotes in a Study Bible or a helpful commentary to answer the questions you have.
So, those are three tips to get you started. God bless you as you read His word.
for further study
- The Story of God, the Story of Us by Sean Gladding is a great book to better grasp the whole story of the Bible.
- The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry Into the Old Testament by Dr. Sandra Richter is a great book to read to understand the story of the Old Testament and its relationship to the New Testament.
- An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods, & Ministry Formation by David A. deSilva is a fantastic resource about the New Testament.
- Inductive Bible Study by David R. Bauer and Bob Traina for those interested in advanced Bible Study to learn a method for studying the Bible in its original context.
Caleb is the Youth Character Building and Camp Program Director for The Salvation Army USA Southern Territory. He holds Master of Divinity and Master of Theology in Biblical Studies degrees from Asbury Theological Seminary.