Editor’s Note:

The purpose of this series is to help Christians think through the doctrine of Scripture and provide practical guidance on not only how to read the Bible but to deal with objections and attacks on the Bible.

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Since I learned to read, I’ve been reading the Bible, but I didn’t start studying the Bible in depth until I was a teenager. One of the issues I’m increasingly becoming concerned about is the lack of reading or apathy of Christians towards the Bible. A post awhile back titled “Eleven ways to Reignite Your Passion for the Bible” helped many people to learn how for the first time in their lives to be passionate about their Bible reading. As I was thinking recently about the topic of biblical literacy it struck me that it may be important to write a series of posts on why reading, and studying the Bible is important. The focus of this first post will be on why hearing and reading the Bible.

Many Christians rightly believe that they need to read the Bible. Such Christians have reading plans and study the Bible themselves. Many other Christians though, tend to focus on reading the Word of God without application. Finally, many Christians read the Bible more like it’s a book of stories than the inspired Word of God. Understanding how to hear the Word of God, read the Word of God and study the Word of God is vital. Today’s post is part of a five post series on hearing, reading, studying and applying God’s Word.

Hearing God’s Word

The easiest of the spiritual discipline is the intake of God’s Word by hearing the Word of God preached. If one doesn’t discipline themselves to hear God’s Word regularly one may only hear it accidentally or when one feels like it or not at all. Disciplining oneself to hear God’s Word means developing the practice of steadfastly attending a New Testament Church where God’s Word is faithfully preached.

Luke 11:28, “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  Merely listening to God-inspired words is not the point. The purpose of spending quality time in the Bible is obedience to what God says and the development of Christlikeness. The method Jesus encourages this is hearing God’s Word.

Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ” Romans 10:17 teaches that initial faith in Christ comes from hearing the inspired Word about Jesus Christ which also means that the Christian day to day needs to hear the Bible. For example, hearing about God’s provision may aid a family to trust God in the families’ difficult financial situation. Hearing a biblically based sermon on the love of Christ may be God’s means of granting assurance to a downcast believer. Gifts of faith are often given to those who discipline themselves to hear God’s Word. There are other ways Christians may discipline themselves to hear God’s Word which is hearing it preached in one’s local church. The most obvious of these ways is through radio or podcasts. These can be used with one’s ipod, laptop, or other ways.

Reading God’s Word

Matthew 4:4, “But he answered, “It is written,” ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Jesus intends for His followers to read every Word of God. 2nd Timothy 3:16,  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,“ Every Word of God given by God is profitable which means every Christian should read every Word in the Word of God. Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” God promises that those who read and heed His Word will be blessed, but only those who discipline themselves to do so will receive these blessing.

The spiritual disciplines are scriptural paths where we encounter the transforming grace of God. The most critical discipline is one’s intake of Scripture. The primary reason why people don’t read the Bible is because they don’t discipline themselves and aren’t motivated to do it.

Discipline yourself to find the time to read the Word of God. Make a habit of getting up early if you go into work early, or at the very least when you wake up to read the Word of God. Second, find a good Bible reading plan. Many Christians just open up their Bible and play Russian roulette with the Word of God. Many study Bibles contain a reading schedule somewhere within their pages. There are inexpensive Bible reading plans in every Christian bookstore. Most local churches can provide you with a daily reading schedule also. Keep a record of which books of the Bible you’ve read. Put a check beside a chapter when you read it or the title of that book in the table of contents when you’ve completed. Regardless of how long it takes or in what order they are read, you’ll know when you’ve completed reading the Bible.

In the next post we will consider how to study God’s Word.