Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. (Psalm 119:97, ESV)
With 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest in the book! And it’s all about the Scriptures. While the secular world may not give much account to a collection of ancient stories, sayings, laws, and histories, those of us who are Christians know that the Bible is truly God’s Word. Yes, we can affirm the veracity and authority of the Bible. But there’s another question to be answered.
Why do you read the Bible?
No doubt there are many reasons. The Bible is full of ancient history, and is a treasure trove of information about past cultures, and peoples. It contains many fabulous Veggie-Tales-worthy “morality stories” (kind of like Aesop’s fables) that help us teach our kids simple little life lessons—like, “If David could beat Goliath, you can face your giants, too.” The Bible has much to say about virtue and how we can become virtuous people. Scripture is full of laws from which we can learn how societies and governments should function to establish justice. It has many ethical teachings and wisdom-sayings that show us how to properly live as humans. And it presents a worldview that actually explains where the world came from, why we exist, who we are, what’s gone wrong with the world, and how it will be restored.
In short, the Bible is a priceless book of philosophy, theology, history, poetry, and prose.
But, why do we read it?
Certainly, we should read it to learn. We learn about history, about humankind, and about God in the pages of Scripture.
And assuredly, we should read it to grow. The Bible teaches us not only what is true about life but also how we should live.
But necessarily, we must read the Bible to meet with God.
One can learn information from Scripture without being changed by it. Some of the leading scholarly experts on the Bible today aren’t Christians. They know more about what the Bible teaches than most Christians, but they don’t accept it as true or authoritative. Similarly, many Christians read the Bible for its moral teaching. But religion without a relationship with God only produces self-righteous, modern-day Pharisees.
Whatever else we gain from Scripture, the most important reason to open your Bible is to spend time with the Lord. If you commune with God in the pages of his Word, you will learn and you will grow—not only in knowledge and morals but, more importantly, in love and maturity. But if you miss the necessary, you’ll miss the point. And the point is a relationship with God. When we have that, we’ll have everything else, too.