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Why should we read the Bible? What's the point of Bible study?

You probably know that reading your Bible is very important, but maybe you're wondering WHY. Anytime we get the sense that we "have to," the thing we "have to" ends up feeling like a chore. We're going to try not to give you the trite answers here. You have probably heard them all. If not though, we'll go over the facts:

Facts about the Bible

The Bible is literally "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, it is God's very personal love letter directly to us. The power of the breath of God shows up all over in Scripture. God breathed "the breath of life" into Adam (Genesis 2:7), and Jesus "breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:22). Yes, many human beings put the words to parchment, but 2 Peter 1:21 tells us that "prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." The truths of the Bible came directly from God, not from what the writers wanted to say; God simply used them to record His Word and His will.

The Bible is trustworthy and does not contain errors. While many have found verses that appear to contradict each other, these are just differences in writing styles and phraseology. Differences aren't contradictions. Errors lead to absolute confusion. Even if a verse raises questions for which we have no answers, that doesn't mean that there will never be an answer. It only means that we can't fathom it at this point in time.

The Bible stands up to tests. God's Word is different from other so-called "holy" books in that it doesn't just give us a set of rules that we must blindly follow. Instead, we can test its accuracy by examining the hundreds of specific prophecies, checking the historical accounts it records, and comparing scientific facts it relates to actual scientific studies and observations.

The Bible still applies to our lives today. Some things never change. As you read through biblical history, you'll find out two ultimate truths: 1. God doesn't change, and 2. human nature doesn't change. Even though technology and society has evolved and fluctuated over the centuries, God's basic principles for how to live our lives still apply to us today.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, "there is nothing new under the sun." Mankind continues to chase after love and success in all the wrong places, but our good and gracious Creator continues to encourage us toward actual true and lasting joy.

The Bible is so important that Jesus said of it, "Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). That is, we can stuff our faces with what the world offers, but it will never fully satisfy the way God's Word does.

Reasons to Read the Bible

What benefit will we get from reading the Bible? What kind of satisfaction we can get from God's Word? With all the different things that distract us and demand our attention every hour of every day, why should we spend time with God's Word?

  1. The Bible has answers!
    There are so many big questions that philosophers have asked that God answers in Scripture. What's the purpose of my life? Where did I come from? Is there life after death? Why is the world full of evil? The Bible tells us how to reach heaven (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:1-10; Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-18, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9-13). The Bible shows us just how much God loves us (Romans 5:6-8; John 3:16). By learning and experiencing God's great love for us, we are drawn to love Him back (1 John 4:19).

    Then there are the little questions: How can I be a good friend? Why do I struggle so hard to do the right thing? Is it possible to live a life that I won't regret when I'm older? The Bible is filled with tons of practical advice about life, relationships, work, parenting, government, and much more. The Bible gives us guidance in life, making us wiser than our teachers (Psalm 32:8, 119:99; Proverbs 1:6). 412teens.org exists to help you find those answers, but they are right there for anyone to access.
  2. The Bible is a measuring tape for truth.
    The world contains so many lies and false teachers, even within the Christian community. Being familiar with God's Word helps us discern truth from lies. Scripture tells us what God is really like and how Christ-followers should conduct themselves (e.g. following Jesus' example). To worship a wrong impression of God is the same as worshipping an idol or false god because it's giving worship to something that is not God. Reading the Bible provides an opportunity to discover truths for ourselves rather than only learning from a specific pastor or author.
  3. The Bible equips our hearts and minds to face the world every day.
    Since the Bible is basically our Manual for Human Life, our Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything Else, the wisdom within those pages can equip us for daily living. God's Word teaches us how to make good decisions (Joshua 1:8; James 1:25). For example, knowing the best way to treat other people will help us become better friends, coworkers, and spouses. Knowing how to be effective servants of God gives us power over the forces that want to bring us down (2 Timothy 3:17; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).
  4. The Bible empowers us to fight temptation.
    Knowing that we are saved from sin and its ultimate consequence (2 Timothy 3:15) empowers us to fight it. As new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we no longer must choose the sinful way. We can recognize sin in our lives and get rid of it (Psalm 119:9, 11). The Bible keeps us from wasting years of our lives on that which does not matter and will not last (Matthew 7:24-27).
  5. The Bible shines a light on God's will for our lives.
    John 16:13 says the Holy Spirit "will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." God often speaks through His Word when we read it. (Ever wonder why it's called the "living" Word?) A certain passage may not mean anything to you until that moment when you need to hear it most; that's God talking directly to you! When we have specific questions about God's will, we can turn to the Bible and ask God to reveal which direction is best.

The Bible isn't just a book of pages and passages to be memorized. The Bible is much more alive, much more useful and practical than you may think. To leave it on the shelf is to miss out on an opportunity for a fuller, more satisfying, joyful life.

If you don't know where to start, we'd suggest starting with the Gospels in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They will help you get to know Jesus better, and He is the greatest example for believers to follow. For very practical advice on living life, read the letters of the Apostle Paul, which begin with the book of Romans and basically go through Philemon.

Studying the Bible has often been compared to mining for gold. If we don't try very hard, merely "sifting through the pebbles in a stream," we'll only find a bit of gold dust. But the more we make an effort to really dig and discover, the greater our reward will be.

TL;DR

The Bible isn't just a book of pages and passages to be memorized. It is alive, useful, and practical. God's Word contains relationship advice, a measuring tape for truth, weapons to combat temptation, signposts about God's will for our lives, and much more. The Bible is our "Manual for Human Life," our "Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything Else," and the wisdom within those pages can equip us for daily living (2 Timothy 3:16).

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org and loves to write novellas with local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, five socially awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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