Biblical Necessity: Why Do You Need to Read the Bible?
What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
It’s hard to overstate how important it is to read the Bible as a Christian. But, it’s still tempting to ask, “Is it really necessary? What if I don’t?” Here’s just one way it could go badly. There is a commonly known phrase that goes something like, “God helps those who help themselves.” It sounds convincing, but it’s nowhere to be found in the Bible.
Because it sounds somewhat true, however, people have built their lives—knowingly or not—around this principle of expecting God to help us as we try to help ourselves. In contrast, the Bible actually says, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). We aren’t often capable of helping ourselves, if ever. Without reading the Bible, it would be extremely easy to fall into the trap of believing lies and behaving selfishly.
So, how does reading the Bible help with not falling into traps like this? Reading your Bible can do many things, but it will certainly do these three: build familiarity with Scripture, provide a fallback in uncertainty, and create a foundation for truth.
What Can We Do On Our Own?
Before we begin, it is important to note what the Bible is not necessary for. First of all, the Bible is not necessary to know that God exists. That can be seen in creation, especially as new scientific discoveries complicate the likelihood of life randomly occurring more and more. Romans 1:19-21 says that people can learn about God through creation. Every tree and mountain are proclaiming God’s existence and his goodness. This leads us to the second point: God’s goodness and character can be seen without having to read the Bible. Even people who don’t believe in God require good behavior. Every civilization has built a structure of laws to punish people who do bad things. The law is rarely perfect, but it is nonetheless a reflection of God’s character as a judge who requires goodness.
Building Familiarity With Scripture
Now, let’s look at the first thing the Bible is necessary for. Building familiarity with Scripture might seem hardly worth mentioning, but it is one of the first steps to growing spiritually.
Being able to read Scripture means being able to hear the gospel, anytime and anywhere. With the good news of God’s kingdom in our hands, we can tell others about Jesus in specific ways and show them the stories in black and white. While the gospels are an extremely powerful example, there are countless other stories in the Bible that teach us many good things.
One of the most important reasons to be familiar with Scripture is to be able to tell what is not in line with Scripture. Someone who has read the Bible thoroughly will be able to determine when popular theology contradicts the Bible. There’s no shortage of people who twist the words of Scripture to mean something completely different. The best way to protect ourselves from these individuals is through the constant reading of Scripture.
Providing a Fallback During Uncertainty
When we are familiar with what Scripture says, it will also serve as a fallback when we discover trouble in our lives. We often find ourselves uncertain of what we ought to do or what God wants us to do. Remembering and turning to Scripture provides guidance and comfort for every situation we find ourselves in. While it won’t tell you specifically if you should go back to college or take that new job, Scripture teaches us principles that we can then apply to our lives. Choosing not to look to Scripture, or only reading it when we think we need it, could result in a mentality that looks much too close to “God helps those who help themselves.”
The Bible clearly demonstrates what God’s will for our lives is. Everything from keeping his commandments in 1 John 5:3 to abstaining from sexual immorality in 1 Thessalonians 4:3. God has made strong statements about what we do with our lives and from those statements, we can find help and guidance when we encounter trouble.
Creating a Foundation For Truth
Pilate somewhat famously asked Jesus, “What is truth?” when Jesus was on trial before him. This question is one that has racked the brains of humans since the dawn of time. What is truth? Where does it come from? How can we believe it? There are so many questions that puzzle our finite minds.
The Bible boldly claims that, by being God’s Word, it is Truth. The word itself might seem subjective. We know that what is true for the rich man is not true for the poor man, or what is true for men may not be true for women. So, how do we find real, capital T truth? The only way, apart from divine intervention, is by reading Scripture. It’s principles inform and educate us on every subject of life and equip us to build a life that is honoring to God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” meaning that he claimed to know what reality is and how to get back to it from our broken world (John 14:6). It was through his fulfillment of Scripture that he made a path for us to follow in Truth.
In summary, the reading of the Bible is necessary because, without it, we allow people to deceive us with their smart sayings or good intentions. But instead, we must be driven by our desire to find Truth and certainty at all times so that we are, as 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us, ready to give a defense of the reason why we are Christians.
Benjamin Murray graduated from Grand Canyon University with a BA in Christian Studies with an emphasis in Biblical Studies. Since high school, Benjamin has had a discipline for learning and passion for God's Word and his Church.