When I write or give a presentation about how important it is for Christians to read their Bible on a regular basis, I nearly always get some kind of pushback. The core of the most of the criticism that I receive is centered on the idea that I am turning reading the Bible into a chore rather than something that brings joy. I’ll be the first to admit that there are instances when my communication on this subject is not the most nuanced it could be. Following one of these exchanges, I’m frequently left asking, “Why do we need to qualify and clarify daily Bible reading?” After all, daily Bible reading is part of a long-standing tradition in the history of the church, particularly in the tradition of the Reformed church that dates back to the Protestant Reformation.
Reading the Bible on a Daily Basis: Obligation or Delight?
As Christians who adhere to the Reformed tradition and hold to a conservative interpretation of the Bible, we affirm that we believe in the inspiration, inerrancy, authority, clarity, and sufficiency of the written word. My inquiry is this: “How can we be living the Word of God on a daily basis if we are not reading it on a daily basis?”
At this point, some readers may be thinking to themselves, “Well, you are intending in this essay to guilt-trip me into regularly reading my Bible,” which is a reasonable assumption to make. And nothing could be further from the truth than this assertion. We are living in a culture that is biblically illiterate, where even Christians, as demonstrated by the majority of surveys, are unaware of the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and other parts of the Bible. Daily immersion in the Bible is an absolute prerequisite for Christian faith and practice. Both inside and outside of the church, we are confronted with significant challenges to the biblical understanding of sexuality, including homosexuality, transgenderism, and other issues. As the people of God, we have a responsibility to ask ourselves, “How will we stand for what the Bible says if we do not read or listen to Scripture on a daily basis?”
And so, please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here—daily Bible reading is a joy, not a responsibility; nevertheless, despite this distinction, it is still necessary for a robust Christian life. We show our affection for a person or thing by devoting our time and energy to that person or object. For instance, I cherish my wife, and as a result, I make it a point to spend as much time as I can each day with her. If we believe what I said in the last paragraph about the essence of the Bible and if we love Jesus, we have to ask ourselves, “How can we not spend daily time in the Word?” (How can we not spend time in the Bible?) Being in the Word of God is a responsibility as well as a privilege; it brings both joy and satisfaction. Those who consistently spend time in God’s Word are the ones to whom God makes particular promises in His Word (Psalm 1 is an excellent example of this).
Paul instructed Timothy to train himself for godliness via self-discipline (1 Timothy 4:7). Reading the Bible is one of the ways provided by God’s grace by which His people are to regularly discipline themselves. It is also important to note that one does not engage in such self-discipline out of a sense of solemn obligation but rather out of the sheer joy of doing so. When we discover that God is priceless and unfathomably great, we are filled with joy in him. The end effect is that we will have a greater thirst for knowing more about Him. And the perspective I just mentioned ought to be the defining feature of the life and the day-to-day experience of every genuine Christian. Every self-respecting Christian ought to have a ravenous appetite and insatiable thirst for righteousness, including a daily desire for the Bible.
The Procedure for Viewing the Daily Bible Reading
Reading the Bible on a daily basis is not limited to the use of a printed Bible. I look forward to spending 10–15 minutes of my day using the ESV Bible App to listen to the Bible each day. Reading the Bible on my own can often cause me to miss important details that are brought to my attention when I listen to the Bible instead. When I wake up in the morning, one other activity that gets me thinking about the truths of the Bible is listening to the Bible on the ESV Bible app. You can also think about devoting five to ten minutes of your day to reading or listening to the Word of God.
I’m not suggesting that you start your workout at the one-hour or two-hour mark, then push yourself to the point of exhaustion. Because I’ve been reading the Bible for a while now, I don’t even do that. Instead, I want to spend quality time with the Bible every day—perhaps five to ten minutes to begin with—so that I might get to know the Lord better. I hold the Bible in high regard because it is the source of the primary message of redemption that is centered on the Lord Jesus. For this reason, the Bible is dear to me.
Reading the Bible Every Day Should Be a Delightful Obligation
Reading the Bible on a daily basis is a delight. When reading the Bible every day becomes an item on our spiritual to-do list rather than a means to grow in grace, we will never progress. We are not going to ever self-discipline for the purpose of becoming more godly. The notion that we do not need anything outside of ourselves is at the root of many of the arguments against daily Bible reading. Within the context of the Christian life, we cannot manufacture our own path to godliness. Instead, we have a reliable and authoritative word available to us in the Bible that sheds light on the path that leads to God’s righteousness.
Reading the Bible on a daily basis is a privilege as well as a rewarding responsibility. Learning more about the Lord of the Word is a wonderful experience, but we also have a responsibility to love Him with all bit of our being (Matthew 22:37-40). Therefore, we read, study, and meditate on the Word in order to prepare the way for the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and apply the Word to our lives, which ultimately results in the people of God growing more grace-filled.
It is not an option for Christians to grow in grace; rather, it is a command (2 Peter 1:3-15; 3:18). The firm, authoritative, and honest basis that God’s Word provides is essential to our development as recipients of God’s grace. Having said that, we still need to put forth spiritual effort; one component of that effort is reading the Bible on a daily basis. Reading the Bible every day is a form of self-discipline that we perform for five to twenty minutes each day before the Lord of the Word. When a Christian reads God’s Word, the Holy Spirit works in that person’s life to help them delight more in Jesus and less in themselves on a day-to-day basis. God’s people were given the Bible, which is sometimes referred to as “the ultimate love letter,” so that they could better know and serve God.
Learn the purpose behind God’s gift of His Word to humanity, rather than considering it as a spiritual task to be completed on a regular basis so you can check it off your list. Getting to know the Lord better is a joy that can be experienced every day. He has provided us with a total of sixty-six books, 39 of which are found in the Old Testament, and 27 of which can be found in the New Testament. Before we get started on our day, how about we make it a point to spend anywhere from five to twenty minutes each day reading or listening to the Bible? Not only will our ways of thinking start to shift, but also our hearts and our lives will, which will have the knock-on effect of the Lord of the Word continually reshaping our attitudes, behaviors, and ethics, as well as our character and our perspective of the world, on a day-to-day basis.
All that has been discussed thus far in this article is founded on the idea that the Lord changes our stone hearts by giving us new hearts, new desires, and new affections for Himself as a result of reading the Bible. This idea lies at the center of the reason why Christians read the Bible. When we make it a habit to read or listen to the Bible on a regular basis, we provide our fresh emotions and wants with the training they need to be disciplined before the Lord.
A Few Parting Thoughts
When you read the Bible every day, make sure you comprehend what you are doing. We believe that God communicates with His people, the people of God, through the authoritative Word that He has given them, thus as God’s people, we read and concentrate on the Bible. Since we are to find Him to be all-satisfying and find delight in Him, we study His Word every day to get to know the boundless depths of God that are revealed in His final revelation, which is the Word of God.
Please take a moment to pick up your Bible, read it or listen to it using the ESV Bible app, and continue to grow in the grace and understanding of Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and Savior. As you continue to do so, you will find that you are not only advancing in your comprehension of the Word of God. You’ll also find that your mind and emotions are always considering what is noble, pure, good, holy, and just. This is something that you’ll become aware of over time. There is nothing more beneficial for the people of God to do than to take pleasure in God on a daily basis by engaging in the discipline of reading the Bible.
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