2 Good Reasons to Read the Bible (For Holy Rollers and Atheists)
Bible reading is an education in itself." --Lord Tennyson
As a kid I used to stand in awe of my sister's voracious reading habits. She could devour a book in a matter of hours; I, on the otherhand, would take my darn good time... which could be weeks... okay, let's be real here, folks... months. It wasn't that I was a bad reader, I just had a different style of reading, and it didn't seem to delight me as much as it did Sarah. That,... and she's 11 years older than me. Anyhow... As I've gotten older, I have grown to love reading. I love learning new ideas, imagining, and thinking. There's something beautiful and edifying about sitting down with a good book and being drawn into the writers thoughts. I think as humans we are made for stories, partially because we want to know how our own will turn out. Also, we are made for ideas, because ideas form our stories (how we live our lives, what we think of the world around us... ect.) As I have begun to love reading more, I have begun to love the Bible. At an earlier point in my life, the Bible seemed dry, old, and (to be honest) a little irrelevant to my life as a young wipper-snapper in the 21st century. I mean, let's be real here folks, who of us have not been bored by genealogies, shocked by Levitical law, or be bewildered as to where to begin reading. The Bible can be daunting, boring, and shocking. But since then I have had a change of heart. While at one of the Summit summer conferences, Dr. Noebel gave a series of talks on why we should read the Bible. His talk inspired me to go back home and really dive into the Bible. Since then, I have developed my own convictions on why we should read the Bible, which I would like to share with you. The first reason applies to anyone; whether you be A crazy Jesus lover or Agnostic, I believe there are good reasons to read the Bible. The second reason is specifically for Christians (though I still encourage all of you to read it ;)). I don't care if you're christian, atheist, buddhist or cosmic humanist.... You should read the Bible. Here's why.
1- It's a good book! (really!)
Often the Bible is viewed as a Christian handbook... only for the Holy Rollers, like myself and Billy Graham. It's thought of as an inspirational book, or a book of stories. Here's the reality... YES! It's a great holy roller book! It IS inspirational and has many beautiful stories (historical... not myths)... BUT, it is also an incredible piece of literature. In the lecture I mentioned, Noebel stated that "Reading the Bible is a sign of a well educated man." Note that this is not necessarily in reference to Christians. Study of the Bible is a sign of a well educated man. Period.
The Bible has influenced history and our current culture more than any other book. It presents earth shattering ideas that have been the basis for many philosophies, political ideas, and institutions. It's sold more copies than any other book. It's well written (yes, it really is). It has beautiful examples of poetry, profound philosophies and excellently crafted arguments. Countless books have quoted, analyzed, and studied the Bible. It's an incredible Historical document, unparalleled in accuracy and detail. No matter how you swing it, the Bible is an important, superb, relevant piece of literature. You don't have to agree with it, but just as I would be blind for me to say that Neitzche (who I actually really like...) was not worth reading because he was an atheist, so it would be blind for people to cast away the Bible as a "Christian-eze" book of nice sayings. To say this would be ignorant. The Bible is a powerful book that has formed a great deal of culture as we know it. If you are interested in philosophy, culture, religions, morality, history, ect., the Bible is a logical book to read.
2-God will speak to you through it.
I can't count the times I have heard people say things like "God just doesn't speak to me" or "I hear about all these other peope talking about God speaking to them... But I just don't hear Him". These are legitimate concerns, but, there is an easy fix to "not hearing" God. The Bible is the Holy Word. Who's Holy Word? God's. 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,". Scripture is God breathed, that means he inspired it, told the writers what to say, and in turn, He speaks to US through it. God's word is exactly what it sounds like... God speaking to us! It surprises me sometimes how hesitant people are to read the Bible when they want so desperately to hear God. I believe the Bible is one of God's primary ways of speaking to us. As Christians we also have the Holy Spirit (mentioned in John 16:7), but aside from that, the Bible is there always available, God's true words. It's as though He left us, His beloved children, a letter, pouring His heart and soul and truth into it, and we refuse to read it because we'd rather have a phone call. God does speak to our hearts in other ways, but it simply makes sense that we should take full advantage of the immediate insight he gives us to His heart through His word. In my own life, I find so often that when I take the time to read the Bible, that I leave my reading time inspired and uplifted, full of wisdom that is not my own. God truly speaks to me through the Bible. He teaches me things I wasn't even asking to be taught. So, if you want to hear from God... don't complain that you can't hear a booming voice from the sky... God has put his heart down on the pages of the Bible. Read it.
So, there's my little sermon for the week.
Now I shall go to bed so that I can wake up bright and early meet God in my time in His word.