Why and How Should I Read the Bible?
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Resolution for 2023: I will read the entire Bible. But why do this? And how should I do it?
John Wesley gives an excellent answer to the first question. Wesley was the great evangelist of 18th century England and American who founded the Methodist movement. He wrote these words about the Bible:
I have thought, I am a creature of a day, passing through life as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God and returning to God: just hovering over the great gulf; till, a few moments hence, I am no more seen; I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing--the way to heaven; how to land safe on that happy shore. God Himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end He came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me.
For Wesley–and all true Methodists–the Bible is the Word of God. God wrote it. It carries God’s authority. The Bible alone can teach us the way to Heaven. It is not a book about how to be healthy and rich in this life. It is about how to attain eternal life. The Bible contains revealed spiritual and moral knowledge that is vital to our destiny. This is wisdom that is available in no other source. It is the Bible’s exclusive gift to the human race.
Have you read it? Have you made a serious effort as an adult believer to read and understand God’s book? Do you continually feed upon the words and wisdom of scripture? Are you up to the challenge of a reading program that will take you through the entire Bible in the New Year?
Here’s a simple reading program that follows one Old Testament and one New Testament book at a time. It requires just 25 days a month–so you can miss a few days. It’s nice to have a little grace built in as you form a new bible-reading habit for yourself. Download it, print it out and keep it in your Bible here: navigators-book-at-a-time-bible-reading-plan.pdf. Using the paper copy will free you from the distractions of your cell phone or device.
If this plan seems too great of a challenge, try this: read the New Testament one chapter a day. Start with Matthew and go right through to Revelation. There are 260 chapters, and it will take most of the year to get through.
Best practice for forming a new habit: do the same thing, at the same time and in the same place each day. Make your plan and stick with it. If you miss a few days, keep returning to your original plan. Don’t ruminate on your failures, focus on the progress you have already made.
Pray before you read. Ask God for wisdom and understanding of his word. Seek the supernatural insight of the Holy Spirit to open God’s revelation to you. God wants to speak personally and directly to you. God has a message for your life. Meet with God in the Bible.
Here’s a couple of Bible editions I recommend: