Read any good books lately? I have sixty-six that I can recommend. Thirty-nine of them are in the Old Testament and twenty-seven of them are in the New Testament.
The Bible remains the most widely distributed and bestselling book in the world. More than one hundred million copies of the Bible are sold or given away every year. Sadly, according to www.statista.com, for the year 2018 it is estimated that 30% of people in the United States never read the Bible, 12% read the Bible once a year, 6% read the Bible once a month, 9% read the Bible once a week, and only 15% read the Bible every day. It is also noteworthy that, the younger a person is, the less likely he is to read the Bible. Of those people age seventy and older, 20% never read the Bible. The percentage of people who never read the Bible increases as their age decreases. Of those people in the eighteen to thirty-one years old age group, a whopping 35% never read the Bible and only 9% of this group reads the Bible every day!
When you read these statistics, do you get the impression that the number of persons who read the Bible regularly seems quite low in comparison to the number of persons who own a Bible? Why is this number so disappointing? A better question might be “Why should I read the Bible?”
First, we should read the Bible because it is the word of God. “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thessalonians 2:13). Those at Thessalonica who heard the word of God understood that the scriptures have God, not man, as their source.
Because the Bible is the word of God it answers questions no other book can answer. Where did man come from? How did life on earth begin? What is our purpose in life while here on earth? Where will we go when we die? No other book can answer these questions!
Second, we should read the Bible because it is how God reveal his wills to man. God does not speak to anyone today privately or individually, but through His written word! “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17). When we have the Bible we are perfectly, or completely furnished with everything we need to live a godly life.
Third, we should read the Bible because it is impossible to grow spiritually without reading the Bible. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (I Peter 2:2). If a child does not grow physically, the parent soon realizes that something is wrong. The parent becomes troubled and distraught. We do not grow spiritually by delving into pop psychology, the opinions of the majority or traditions of men, but by reading the Bible and applying its teachings to our lives. When we fail to read the Bible as we ought, God realizes that something is wrong.
Fourth, we ought to read the Bible because it provides guidance to our lives. Without the Bible we are “stumbling in the dark” spiritually. “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). The Bible provides us with the direction we need. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). Jesus said, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures” (Matthew 22:29). As long as we fail to read the scriptures we will continually live in error. Countless numbers of self-help books are written every year, yet none more helpful than the Bible.
Fifth, we ought to read the Bible because it helps us in overcoming temptation. The apostle Paul wrote, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (Ephesians 6:17). Like it or not, you are in a spiritual battle! Realize it or not, every day Satan is battling to win your soul. The word of God is a weapon we have been given to help us win that battle. Every time Jesus was tempted he used the scriptures to overcome temptation, and we can too (Matthew 4:1-10)! Remember the statistics we mentioned earlier? Only 15% of people read their Bible daily. Where do you suppose other 85% keeps their Bible? On a dusty bookshelf? On a coffee table as a decoration for their home? To overcome the temptations of life, we ought to keep the Bible in our hearts. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11).
Sixth, we ought to read the Bible because it is the standard by which we will all be judged. You and I will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:10). Many today are quick to say, “Only God can judge me!” But friends, that thought should be no comfort to someone who does not know the scriptures. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Doesn’t it make sense that we would want to know the standard by which we will be judged? I’ll give you a hint – it’s not at all what you have heard from many men!