Have you ever wondered why it’s so important for Christians to read the Bible and to have an understanding of God’s Word? What does the Word of God actually do for you? There are many compelling reasons for reading God’s Word. Here are some of them.
1) It guides and directs
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
The Word is like a high-powered flashlight to help us see the path of God’s will more clearly so we can make the right life choices and know in which direction we should walk.
The Word tunes us in to God and helps us to go in the right direction.
A minister went far into a backwoods settlement to hold a meeting and it was necessary that he return late in the very dark night. A woodsman provided him with a torch of pitch-pine wood. The minister, never having seen anything of the kind, said, “It will soon burn out.”
“It will light you home,” answered the other.
“The wind may blow it out,” said the preacher.
“It will light you home,” was again the answer.
“But what if it should rain?”
“It will light you home,” was the answer a third time. And, contrary to the minister’s fears, the torch did last him all the way home. The Word of God is a torch given into the hands of each of us. What if it rains? What if the wind blows? If you will hold the torch high, it will light you home.
People throughout history have turned to the Bible as their “guidebook.” The Bible has been the foundation of faith for many generations. It has been embraced by the peasant and the king, the educated and the poor, and has stood the test of time. Here are some interesting comments from famous people about what the Bible meant to them:
Sir Isaac Newton, English scientist who formulated the laws of gravitation and motion, 1642-1727:
Newton’s achievements in science are very well known, but it is not so well known that he spent more time studying the Bible than studying the stars.
“There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history. All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer. I can take my telescope and look millions of miles into space; but I can go away to my room and in prayer get nearer to God and Heaven than I can when assisted by all the telescopes of earth.”
Mother Teresa, Albanian founder of the Missionaries of Charity, respected worldwide for her sacrificial work among the poor, 1910-1997:
“You will be surprised to know that in the poorest neighborhoods in many of the cities where we live and work, when we get close to the people who live in shacks, the first thing they ask for is not bread or clothes, even though often they are dying of hunger and are naked. They ask us to teach them the Word of God. People are hungry for God. They long to hear His Word.”
Immanuel Kant, German philosopher, 1724-1804:
“The existence of the Bible as a book for the people is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity.”
Patrick Henry, a prominent figure in the American Revolution, 1736-1799:
“The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed.”
Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, 1809-1865:
“I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book that you can by reason and the balance by faith, and you will live and die a better man. It is the best Book which God has given to man.”
Charles Dickens, English novelist, 1812-1870:
“The New Testament is the very best book that ever was or ever will be known in the world.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, and psychologist, 1813-1855:
“When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, ‘It is talking to me, and about me.’”
Alfred Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate of the UK, 1809-1892:
“Bible reading is an education in itself.”
James McCosh, 1811-1894, prominent philosopher. He was president of Princeton University 1868-1888:
“The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that.”
Billy Graham, American evangelist, 1918-
“The word of God hidden in the heart is a stubborn voice to suppress.”
George Washington, first president of the United States, 1732-1799:
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, 1767-1848:
“So great is my veneration for the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read it the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens of their country and respectable members of society. I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year.”
Daniel Webster, American statesman, 1782-1852:
“If there is anything in my thoughts or style to commend, the credit is due to my parents for instilling in me an early love of the Scriptures.”
John Ruskin, English art critic and social thinker, 1819-1900:
“Whatever merit there is in anything that I have written is simply due to the fact that when I was a child my mother daily read me a part of the Bible and daily made me learn a part of it by heart.”
Horace Greeley, American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, reformer and politician, 1811-1872:
“It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.”
Josh McDowell, Christian author, 1939-
“After I set out to refute Christianity intellectually and couldn’t, I came to the conclusion the Bible was true and Jesus Christ was God’s Son.”
Amy Grant, American singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and occasional actress, 1960-
“I was taught a lot of Bible at home and had a voracious appetite for reading the Bible.”
Kirk Cameron, American actor, 1970-
“Put your nose into the Bible every day. It is your spiritual food. And then share it.”
Cameron Diaz, American actress, 1972-
“Script for an actor is like a Bible. You carry it with you, you read it over and over, you go to your passages.”
Helen Keller, American author, political activist, and lecturer, 1880-1968:
“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.”
Barry White, American record producer and singer-songwriter, 1944-2003:
“When I commit, I commit with my whole heart, my whole being. I know the Bible like the back of my hand.”
2) It Cleanses
Another good reason is the cleansing of mind and spirit we experience when we read it. Jesus said in John 15:3, “Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you” (KJV). But how is it that the Word cleans you?
Here’s an interesting analogy by Charles R. Swindoll:
When our four children were young, we often spent our vacation weeks each summer camping together. We owned one of those tent campers on wheels, which we pulled behind our car to various campsites. One of our favorite spots was located in a wooded state park. A river ran through it. Its cool, clear water gave us a place to swim and ride the rapids on old truck-tire inner tubes. A large, natural rock formation rose out of the water on the other side. We’d take turns jumping off those huge boulders into the cold, deep water.—Talk about fun!
Our kids are all grown now, but those memories of camping together remain vivid in all our minds. The river water served another very practical purpose: by swimming each day, we didn’t have to take a shower. I smile when I remember taking a bar of soap with us, as we’d walk down to the river. By the time we’d spent a couple hours in the water, we’d be squeaky clean. It always felt so good when we’d crawl into our sleeping bags in the camper after a long afternoon in the river.
One of the many benefits of water is its cleansing ability—not only on our bodies but in them as well. We read of this in Paul’s first-century letter to his friends in Ephesus. In Ephesians 5:25–26, he reminded them of how deeply Christ is committed to the church, the body of believers: “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”
Just as clear, fresh water cleanses our bodies, God’s written Word washes us clean deep down inside our souls. It purifies our thoughts, scrubs our motives, and cleans our conscience as we absorb it and obey its truths.
Charles R. Swindoll
3) It inspires faith
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The more you read the Word, the more your faith in God will grow. The Word is spiritual food for your spirit, and the more you absorb it into your being, the stronger and healthier you’ll be spiritually.
Here’s a quote by Martin Luther about faith: “Faith is not an achievement; it is a gift. Yet it comes only through the hearing and study of the Word.”
4) It fills us with joy
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.
If you’re feeling a bit down or lacking in joy, reading the Word can help to give you a boost!
5) It instills peace
Psalm 119:165 Great peace have those who love Your law (the Word), and nothing causes them to stumble.
When your mind is focused on the Word, you’ll have more peace, even in the midst of difficulties or challenges.
6) It gives understanding
Psalm 119:130 The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.
When you read the Word, it brings understanding. If you’re feeling confused or you feel like you just don’t know what to do, the Word will bring clarity of mind.
7) It transforms lives
It was in a meeting where they were giving personal testimony. One man arose, holding a New Testament in his hand. “My story,” said he, “is unlike other men. I was a pickpocket, and one day I saw a man with a definite bulge in his hip pocket. ‘A fat purse,’ thought I, and soon it was in my pocket. But when I arrived home, behold, it was a Book. In disgust I threw it aside, but afterward, out of curiosity, I opened it and began to read. Before many days had passed I discovered Christ as my Savior and Lord.”
Listening to this testimony, one of the volunteers of the Bible Society became interested. After the service he asked to see the New Testament. It was the one he had carried with him for years, the one he had considered lost. Is not this evidence of the power of the Word to change and to transform man’s life?