The Bible is like nothing else on this earth. It consists of 66 different books, more than 40 authors, three different languages, and is inspired by the one and only true and living God. At first glance, you might think there is no way a Christian would ever esteem anything above the Word of God, but the fact is we all have busy lives, and so many of us are constantly being pulled in all sorts of directions: work, school, children, friends—even church events can fill our schedules, keeping us from getting into the Word of God and being saturated in its truth. When we don’t prioritize the regular reading of Scripture, it reveals to us where our hearts are oriented; what we really value. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and I hope to share my passion with you to encourage, challenge, and maybe even inspire you to give the regular reading of the Bible a place of priority in your life.
Day 1 – God’s Word as Sustenance
Read first: Matthew 4:1-4; Job 23:12; Deuteronomy 8:1-3; Exodus 16:2-3; Hebrews 4:12
When reading the Bible isn’t a priority, we forget that the Word of God is more necessary to us than our very food (Job 23:12 NKJV). Matthew 4:4 opens our eyes to the reality of how important the Word of God truly is. Matthew records the words of Jesus here, but Jesus was quoting the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 8:3, where God is reminding his people that he humbled them by letting them feel the pangs of hunger, so that he might show them that they cannot live without his words; bread alone could not sustain them. God was referring to Exodus 16, when the children of Israel complained that God had brought them out of Egypt, into the wilderness with no food (Exodus 16:2-3). Imagine being lost in the wilderness with no food; you would likely panic as well, because without food, death is certain. But God allowed his people to face hunger to show them they must depend on him and his Word above all else—even the very food they ate.
This principle applies to all areas of life. No matter how things may appear, we must depend on God’s Word as if our lives depend on it—because they do. God rained manna down from heaven to show his people—including us—that we need a supernatural meal that he alone can provide.
When we prioritize other things in our lives above the reading of God’s Word, we miss out on the spiritual food and sustenance that can only come from God and his Word. Reading the Bible is a supernatural event. The Bible is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12 NKJV), and where God’s Word is read and studied and taught, God’s voice is heard.
Consider your relationship to the Bible: if you find that you don’t read it often, what might that say about how you view the Scriptures?
Consider your natural diet; how often do you eat? If you ate only as often as you read the Bible, how healthy would you be?
As you think about your answers to these questions, don’t feel ashamed. God’s grace is abundant and his heart is for you! Pray and ask God to give you a renewed hunger for his Word, and ask him to open the eyes of your heart to see the beauty of his Word. Pray with the psalmist, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18).
Day 2 – Set Free By the Whole Truth
Read first: John 17:1-3, 17; John 8:31-36; 1 John 1:5-9
One of the most refreshing things about the Word of God is that it speaks perfect truth. Everyday, we are bombarded with lies and half-truths through social media, movies, television shows, and more. We become exhausted and weary, longing for something better. But when we open the Bible, we experience something far better: spiritual rejuvenation and true peace, because we know we are reading the unadulterated, unfiltered truth of God’s Word. As Jesus said in John 8:32, “the truth will set you free.”
When we read the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit, something amazing happens: God communicates with his people, revealing exactly what he wants us to know about him. This is something I have really come to treasure in my life. I can remember a time in my walk with the Lord when I was fighting and struggling with a particular sin, and I felt like I couldn’t get over it. The enemy had convinced me that God was done with me—that I could no longer be forgiven because I had messed up far too many times. That’s how the world lives and talks around us; it makes us believe that if we mess up too much, we don’t “deserve” God’s grace. But it was through this dark time that God sanctified me through the truth of his Word. In 1 John we read, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV). This truth set me free and caused me to see God as my Savior, and it strengthened my relationship with him. The truth surely will set you free.
Do you feel refreshed when you read the Bible? Why or why not? Do you believe that the truth of God’s word can set you free?
Are there things you believe about God that might not be true? What does God’s Word say about those things? Rest in God and his Word—you can trust him fully.
Day 3 – Words of Life vs. Words of Death
Read first: John 6:60-69; Genesis 3:1-7; Matthew 12:33-37
There was a time in Jesus’ ministry when many of his followers misunderstood his teaching and turned away from following him. He turned to his core group of disciples and asked them if they would leave him also. Peter’s response was not, “No, Jesus! I understood everything you said.” Rather, his response is one of desperation, knowing that true life comes from God’s Word alone! This is a precious truth we forget all too often. The Word of God gives life to those who have faith in him.
Thousands of years ago, Adam and Eve found this out the hard way. God told them that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would surely die. But Eve was deceived by the serpent and ate from the tree, along with her husband, Adam. Rather than feasting on the Word of eternal life, she chose death instead.
When we don’t give the Word of God a place of priority in our lives, we will inevitably choose and feast on the words of death. Many times, we don’t realize how important words are, and we fail to see the impact they can have on our lives. Words can build up or tear down; they can speak blessings or speak curses; they can encourage or discourage; they can speak life or speak death. Words really do matter! Jesus said that we will “give account for every careless word [we] speak” (Matthew 12:36 ESV). In Proverbs we read, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 ESV). There are a myriad of Scripture passages on the importance of words.
We live in a world that runs on the words and opinions of others, but we must not forget that Peter’s confession of Christ more than two thousand years ago is just as true and relevant and important to us now: Jesus alone has the words of eternal life.
Think about all of the negative words you can experience in a normal day. How important do you think it is to fill your mind with words of life rather than words of death?
Do you find yourself believing the word of others over God’s Word? If so, in what areas of your life? Pray that God would build your trust in his Word.
Day 4 – Learn to Love Correction
Read first: 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Romans 8:16-17; 2 Samuel 11-12; Hebrews 4:12
Our God is not a God who does not relate to his people. As Christians, we are adopted as sons and daughters, as mentioned in Romans 8:13-17. This is important for us to remember because our relationship with God is filled with love and grace, as well as correction and rebuke. Though we may not enjoy it, we all need to be corrected and rebuked from time to time. That’s just a part of the Christian’s walk with the Lord. God has used his Word in my life many times to rebuke and correct me. While it doesn’t always feel good to be corrected, we need God’s correction in our lives.
King David was on the path to destruction, blind to the seriousness of the sin he was living in, and how it had affected his walk with God. But God, being the loving Father that he is, sent the prophet Nathan to King David to speak the words of God to him—words of rebuke and correction (2 Samuel 11-12). We must learn to love the correction we receive from the Word of God. Scripture reveals God’s will to us, training us to live holy lives that are pleasing and acceptable to God (1 Thessalonians 4:1). God’s Word is perfect at correcting us because it is not subject to the weakness of our flesh. Rather, it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV). Don’t shy away from the gentle and gracious correction of God’s Word—it is meant for your good.
Have you ever made corrections to your behavior based on something you read in the Bible?
What dictates your views on what it means to live a holy life?
Do you ever find yourself getting defensive when you’re faced with correction from the Bible?
Day 5 – Don’t Miss the Promises
Read first: Hebrews 10:23; Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15:1-6; John 3:36; John 3:16-17
God is always faithful to his promises. This statement is such a profound truth that can easily be overlooked in our everyday lives. Every one of us knows the disappointment of being let down by a broken promise, but it is not so with God. He never breaks a promise. When we fail to prioritize reading the Bible, we miss out on all the promises we need to remember and meditate on daily.
Abraham was 75 years old when God called him and promised to make him “a great nation” (Genesis 12:1-2). God promised Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:5). Abraham didn’t end up having a son until he was 100 years old, and his wife, Sarah, was 90. In Genesis chapters 17 through 20, we learn that although Abraham’s promise from God didn’t come to fruition for many years, Abraham believed God—he trusted God and his timing. After God’s promise was realized, and Abraham was given a son, God tested Abraham by telling him to kill his promised son, Isaac, by offering him up to God as a sacrifice. Abraham responded in obedience to God, because he had faith in God’s promise. If God promised him an heir, he would have an heir. Before Abraham could kill Isaac, God stopped him, and provided a ram to sacrifice in Isaac’s place. God’s promises had not been broken.
Like Abraham, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus and all of his promises. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36 ESV) and, “whoever believes in [me] should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV). We are born again in Jesus Christ by having faith in God and the promises he has made—and continues to make—to us, even after we are saved. We must continue to trust in him and his promises, but we cannot do that if we don’t know what they are. We know his promises by reading them in his Word, and his Holy Spirit bears witness that they are true.
Do you find yourself trusting in the “promises” of the world more often than the promises of God?
God promises us everlasting life when we believe in him. Take some time to thank God for that promise! Does the way you’re living reflect your belief in that promise?
The God of the universe, who created you and me, has chosen to reveal everything about himself that he desires us to know in the pages of Holy Scripture. When we don’t prioritize reading the Bible, we are doing a disservice to ourselves. God wants to communicate with us. God Almighty, who is rich in wisdom and whose knowledge is unsearchable (Romans 11:33) desires to be in relationship with us. How great is our God! Something I have learned from reading the Word of God—and something that has greatly blessed me—is that in reading the Bible, we learn more and more about the “breadth and length and height and depth” of the love of Christ. Paul prayed in Ephesians that “being rooted and grounded in love,” we “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV).
The next time you pick up your Bible, know that you are receiving a better understanding of the love our God has for you—a live that surpasses all knowledge! The joy of being filled with the fullness of God far surpasses anything we could possible enjoy here on earth. It is my hope and prayer that I was able to help you see that God’s Word is not simply a chore or a daily task to check off your list, but it is a delight. I pray that you will learn to delight in God’s Word and that it will become something you look forward to every day, as part of growing your relationship with the one true and living God.
Image credit: Emilee Carpenter
Ben Parks III is a church planter at The Valley Church in Norwood Ohio, preparing to plant Pillar of Truth Ministries in Winton Terrace. He is very passionate about God and his Word and loves to share him with everyone he knows.