It’s time to flip the page and turn the calendar to a New Year. With that comes a new set of resolutions, and for Christians, a new resolution for reading the Bible. Maybe you are a brand-new Christian, and you simply resolve to read the Gospel of Mark this year. Maybe you have been a Christian for fifty years but have not read the Old Testament in a long time, so you resolve to read through the Prophets.
Different people will commit to different resolutions, so that I won’t tell you your Bible reading resolution. My aim is encouragement. You probably set a Bible reading goal last January and shot out of the blocks like an Olympic sprinter. By February, though, you probably discovered the same way I did, that reading the Bible is a marathon, not a sprint. Many of us don’t want new strategies for getting off the blocks. We need encouragement to keep going when your legs feel chained to the ground. Reminding ourselves what the Bible is and what the Bible does can give us the encouragement we need.
What the Bible Is
The Bible is a treasure, but not a distant, buried treasure. It is the treasure of freshly baked bread for starving stomachs, and deep freshwater wells for parched desert wanders. The Bible is not a long-lost treasure we dream of discovering one day. The Bible is the treasure of God’s Word, held in our hands!
When I need reminding of how precious God’s Word is, I go to Psalm 119. In this love letter to God’s Word, the Psalmist gushes about what God’s word is. His word is true, “The entirety of your word is truth, each of your righteous judgments endures forever” (Ps 119:160). His Word is pure: “Your word is completely pure, and your servant loves it” (Ps 119:140). God’s Word is as firm as his character. He will never cease to be God; therefore, His Word stands firm in every generation. “Lord, your word is forever; it is firmly fixed in heaven. Your faithfulness is for all generations; you established the earth, and it stands firm” (Ps 119:89–90).
What the Bible Does
The Psalmist takes a scoop from every station of the buffet, filling his plate with all that God’s Word gives.
- Life and Salvation: “Let your faithful love come to me, Lord, your salvation, as you promised” Ps 119:41.
- Worship: “Confirm what you said to your servant, for it produces reverence for you” Ps 119:38.
- Enduring faith while suffering: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good, and you do what is good; teach me your statutes… It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn your statutes” Ps 119:67–68, 71.
- Wisdom: “Your command makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is always with me” Ps 119:98.
- Holiness: “Make my steps steady through your promise; don’t let any sin dominate me” Ps 119:133.
- Joy: “your decrees are my delight and my counselors” (Ps 119:24). “I delight in your commands, which I love. I will lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and will meditate on your statutes” (Ps 119:47–48).
Meditate, Memorize and Enjoy
The Bible is not a treasure displayed behind glass, preserved and adored in a museum. It is a treasure we can touch. The Bible shapes our lives and our loves. We know God, glorify God, and enjoy God deeper as we feed on the Bible. The Psalmist says, “I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (Ps 119:15–16). Knowing what God’s Word is and what God’s Word gives, when we give ourselves to meditating on, enjoying, and memorizing the Word, we discover we are walking on streets of gold. We honor God with an open Bible and persistence in coming regularly and feeding on the bread of life.
Whether you keep a steady pace or find it a daily slog, resolve to keep reading (and listening to) the Bible in 2022.