10 Reasons to Read Your Bible in 2016
It is hard to overemphasize the importance of consistent, focused exposure to the bible. As you start the new year, consider 10 reasons to make reading the bible uppermost in your priorities for 2016.
1. The God of the entire universe addresses you through the bible. If the most famous person you admire wanted to meet because he/she had some important things to tell you, you would find time. Well, the God of the universe summons you day after day in and by his word. Through the scriptures, God is daily saying, “Come here, I have some things to tell you. I want to show you things that you won’t see anywhere else. I want to tell you important truths that will help and transform.” 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God." Heed is call; open your bible with ears to hear your God.
2. In the bible we see God most clearly. All we have to do is walk outside, look up to the skies and we see the works of God. This is called general revelation. But in the bible, we have his special revelation – God disclosing himself to us in a special way. When we open up the bible, we see what God is like, what he’s not like, what he loves, and what he hates. And this is life to us! No wonder the Psalmist wrote, “Open my eyes, that I might behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). No wonder Paul echoed those words in his prayer for the Ephesians, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know…” (Ephesians 1:18). Do you want to know God? Do you want to see him with the eyes of faith? Then spend time with him in your bible.
3. God gives us life by his word. The New Testament attests to the truth that we were born again by the word of God:
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)
Furthermore the vigor and strength of our spiritual life is sustained and increased by the word:
Give me life according to your word! (Psalm 119:25)
4. Freedom from soul-deadening sin comes through the word of God. Our struggle against indwelling sin cannot be won apart from God’s word. In Romans 8:13, Paul exhorts us to “put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit” which cannot be done without the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). So sharpen the blade and strengthen the steel of the sword by storing up God’s word in your heart that you might not sin against him (Psalm 119:11).
5. God’s word has eternal staying power. John Piper said, “When all your favorite preachers are gone, and all their books are forgotten, you will still have your bible. Master it.” That’s good advice since God says, “All flesh is like grass… the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:6-8). Master God’s words – they are not going anywhere.
6. The word of God makes you fitted for all of life. It is hard to state it any stronger than it’s stated in 2 Timothy 3:17. God’s purpose in giving us his very words in the bible is that, “the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” God has good works out in front of you to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). And the equipping you need in order to walk in them comes through the God-breathed scriptures.
7. God’s word is truth. Jesus prayed for his disciples, “Sanctify them the truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus doesn’t say, “your word is true.” That, of course would be true. But he affirms that God’s word is truth itself. Apart from consistent immersion in the truth of God’s word, we lay exposed to error, lies, and deception. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” We are given safe guidance and light on the narrow road through the scriptures.
8. That you may have hope. Hope is held out for the Christian in a way that no other person on earth can experience. In a world with all sorts of discouraging news – personal, local, and global – we need hope. Well, praise God we have a strong resource of hope in the scriptures:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance, and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope. (Romans 15:4)
Very simply, the bible was written for our instruction that we may have hope!
9. The bible feeds your faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Impossible. So how does faith come and how does it grow? Faith comes and faith grows through the word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Apart from being in the scriptures, faith is either dead or starving. But faith is made alive and feasts on the word of Christ.
10. Your increased and eternal joy. Far from being a bore, God intends for his people to find great joy in his words. The prophet Jeremiah expresses what can be the experience for every Christian:
Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart. (Jeremiah 15:16)
Jesus expands and deepens this by saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). His own joy in us! Jesus speaks to us so that our joy may increase and be a participation in his own joy. That’s amazing!
Resolve to consistently expose yourself to the bible this year. And I pray that as you make resolves before God for 2016, he would work in you and fulfill your every resolve for good, by his power, for his glory, and for your eternal good (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
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