Many would agree that the past two years have been some of the weirdest times we’ve ever gone through. We witnessed global shakings, controversial debates, divisive opinions and a lot of disillusionment – also in the Church.
In light of all that, we are reminded that the only news source we truly can rely on is the Bible! Opinions, prognoses and prophetic words may fail but the word of God is 100% reliable. God’s word, the Bible, is truth, unchanging, trustworthy and life-giving.
Why is it important to read the Bible daily
In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus tells us to be hearers and doers of his word. Someone who hears God’s word (.i.e. reads the Bible) and acts on it, is like someone who built his house on a rock. When a storm hit, the house didn’t collapse because it had a solid foundation.
Whether the “normal” storms in life – challenging seasons we all go through – or storms of the scale of a national or global crisis: once the storm hits, it will be too late to start laying a solid foundation. We need to build a solid foundation now, so we can be equipped for life and for the future.
That is why we need to be solidly grounded in the word of God. And we do that by reading the Bible, studying the Bible, digging deeper into the word.
Benefits of personal Bible study
We shouldn’t see personal Bible study as a tedious duty we need to do, in order to be a “good Christian” or so that God is pleased with us. The person who most benefits from you reading your Bible is YOU!
It is in our own interest to read our Bible, if possible daily. By reading the Bible we grow spiritually, get to know God, find insight into spiritual things and very practical wisdom we can apply in our daily life.
And the more we read the Bible and grow, the more the people around us will also benefit! We will be able to impart what we learned, we will be more confident in sharing the gospel with them, and we will be able to give good and biblically sound advice if they ask us!
Here are seven benefits of personal Bible study (this list of course is non-exhaustive).
1. When we read the Bible, we will get to know God
If we want to get to know God, we need to read his word. In the Bible, God shares his thoughts with us. He speaks about the plans he has for the world and for us personally. He reveals his fatherly love and tender care for us.
The Bible also tells of God’s mighty deeds in history, especially in the history of his people Israel. They were recorded for a purpose, so we can be encouraged and learn from them.
The more time we spend reading the Bible, mediate on it and ask the Holy Spirit to give us understanding, the more we will know God. As a consequence, our confidence grows and our faith gets stronger – because we know what an awesome and all-powerful God we serve!
The prophet Daniel spoke about a ruler who will deceive and seduce many of God’s covenant people. Many scholars believe this prophecy concerns the End Times, when the antichrist will arise and seduce parts of the Church.
“He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.” (Daniel 11:32, NLT)
Whether this is about the antichrist or an antichrist-figure – be it a person, ideology or movement – Daniel says that only those who know their God will resist deception!
2. Reading the Bible gives us peace
“Great peace have those who love your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” (Psalm 119:165 NKJV)
This really hit home recently. So many believers are concerned about the future. They worry about the current situation, changes of government, their freedom and many more things. (They may not admit it, but you can tell by the amount of alarming messages they forward on a near daily basis.)
Even if we try to shield ourselves from that, it is not always possible in this age of technology. And so, even the few video clips and news we see can negatively affect us. (Be sure to also read: How to thrive in lockdown)
2.1 Fear is not of God
I remembered a lesson I learned over the years: whenever I begin to feel restlessness or fear of the future, or imagine “all those bad things that could possibly happen” – these thoughts are never from God! No matter what I have been though, I can honestly say that God has never used fear as a means to guide me in life.
I have seen God’s hand of protection again and again in my life, but God never used fear. And in those seasons when I did fear or worry, the things I worried about never came to pass.
This is what the Bible tells us. Jesus has promised to leave us peace and give us peace (John 14:27). Isaiah speaks of being led in peace (Isaiah 55:12). Colossians 3:15 tells us that peace should act as the umpire, i.e. the referee, in our hearts, meaning, if there is no peace, it is not of God.
So let’s have our hearts filled with peace – by loving God’s word!
2.2 How do we love God’s word?
According to Psalm 119:165, we experience peace when we love the word of God! In the Bible, love, אהב, is not a cheap overused phrase as it is today (“I love your shoes!” –“Really?”)
We love God’s law (the Bible) when we place a higher value to what it tells us, than to the opinions of others or even our own. We love the Bible when we live according to its principles, follow its instructions and really believe wholeheartedly what it says.
There’s a saying that children spell love T-I-M-E. And maybe that is a good indicator for us, whether we L-O-V-E the Bible 😉 You get what I mean.
3. When we read the Bible we get stronger
Another benefit of personal Bible study is that it sustains us in wilderness seasons. When God led the Israelites 40 years through the wilderness, he sustained them by feeding them with the manna from Heaven. It taught the Israelites to depend on God entirely and remind them “that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3, NIV)
The Bible calls the manna the “bread of Heaven” which is a shadow of the true bread of Heaven – Jesus (John 6:35). To safely get through a wilderness season – a difficult, tiring and dangerous time – we need to feed on the word coming from God’s mouth just like the Israelites had done.
Let’s look at how the Israelites fed on the manna:
- They had to gather it daily
- They had to gather for themselves (it was not transferrable)
- Their portion was always the exact amount they needed for that day
We can also find a negative example: many times the Israelites grew tired of the manna. The consequence was spiritual weakness. When the time had come to conquer the Promised Land, they were unfit for the task and overcome by fear.
“Familiarity breeds contempt” and we need to caution ourselves against that. We must never take God’s word for granted, be bored by it or devaluate it. Let’s make sure we’re ready when we reach our Promised Land!
4. Reading the Bible makes us successful
When Joshua was about to step into his calling, God revealed to him the key to be successful: mediating on the word of God and living by it.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8, NKJV)
In the original Hebrew text “you will have good success” is actually a verb, “taskil” (תשכיל). Other words originating from the same root are translated as “to behave wisely”, “be skilful” or “be prudent” (e.g. in Proverbs 19:14 – if you ever wondered what “prudent wife” meant!)
According to that, to be successful means to be a) skilful, and b) to know what to do in any given situation. And this brings us back to spending time with the Bible and allowing it to change and renew our thinking. If our thinking becomes aligned with the will of God our actions will also and we will behave wisely.
5. When we read the Bible we become wise
“The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7, NLT)
Sometimes I need to take decisions, or face situations, that I feel way too inexperienced for. It is as if these things are “beyond me”. And when I think of decisions I might need to take this year, I feel so helpless.
But thank God, there is hope for me – and you! Reading the word of God makes us wise! It teaches us to discern right from wrong. It sharpens our mind and spirit and guides us in our decision-making.
6. Reading the Bible gives us discernment
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16, NLT)
Jesus and the Apostles warned us that false teachers and new doctrines would arise and try to confuse us. If we study our Bible well, we will be able to train our senses and discern “lies that sound like the truth” (Hebrews 5:13-14; Ephesians 4:14).
7. Reading the Bible helps us through the darkness
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NIV)
In a world that is getting darker and darker, we need the word more than ever to know what way to turn and which step to take. The word of God illuminates our path and gives us the security we need to make the next step in the right direction.
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How often should you read the Bible
Ideally, you should read the Bible on a daily basis. Just as with the manna, that the Israelites collected each morning, we should collect our portion daily. Each day has its own challenges, so why not receive a word from the Lord that will guide us through each day?
But, if you don’t read your Bible every day, you are not a “bad Christian”! God doesn’t love you any less! But you miss out on a lot: spiritual strength, wisdom, discernment, peace – all the benefits listed above!
How to read the Bible every day
Read the book of Proverbs
An easy way to start or get back into reading your Bible daily is by reading through the book of Proverbs. The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, one for each day of the month!
Read through your favourite books of the Bible
This is another easy way to get back into the habit of reading the Bible daily. Revisit the Scriptures that resonate in your spirit, the ones you feel most drawn to. Once you have gotten used to read each day, you can then switch to using a Bible reading plan.
Use a Bible reading plan
Get yourself a Bible reading plan that suits you:
- a one-year or a two-year through-the-Bible plan
- a plan that takes you through two books or through five books at a time
- a chronological Bible reading plan
If you miss a day (or a week, or a month), just continue on the day you are NOW. Don’t even try to catch up, you most likely won’t be able to and fall even further behind.
How to read the Bible once a week
If you prefer to read the Bible weekly, follow the portions of the Torah (Parashat Hashavua): each week on the Sabbath, the Jewish people in the synagogues around the world read a portion of the Torah (the Pentateuch) and over the course of one year, they have read through all of it! Follow along – the Torah is as much the word of God as the New Testament!
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