Q: What’s the point of reading the Bible every day?
We publish a lot of different Bibles at Crossway these days—Bibles with elaborate reference systems, Bibles with all the headings and verse numbers stripped out, devotional Bibles, a Psalter, wide-margin editions and many others.
What do we expect people to do with the Bibles we publish? Why do we hope people pull a Bible off the shelf each day?
After all—let’s be brutally honest for a moment—do we really feel a need for the Bible? Between Twitter, Oprah, our acountant and Sunday morning sermons, there’s already a flood of counsel washing into our lives.
What’s the Point?
So why read the Bible? And why every day? Dozens of reasons could be mentioned. Here are a few of the most important: Daily Bible reading is how we calm down, tank up, get wisdom, go deep, get busy and commune with God.
1. Calm down. Each day we roll out of bed and, as C.S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity, “all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.” One reason we read the Bible is so that we are not subject to living the day out of haste but rather out of calm. We remember the shortness of life, the eternality of heaven and the abundance of a gospel from which no sin or failure is excluded. The promises of Scripture are like an asthmatic’s inhaler, enabling us to slow down and take a deep breath.
2. Tank up. Reading Scripture is like eating food. We have to do it regularly, it tastes good to taste buds that are alive, and it nourishes us for the day. Bible reading is stored energy, stockpiled emotional and psychological capital. We stay afloat throughout the day by making moment-by-moment withdrawals from that vast reservoir.
3. Get wisdom. By nature, we are fools. Over time we can shed folly and become wise. We will not do it on our own. And we will not do it by downloading all the cleverness of the world’s best self-help gurus into our minds. We need a word from heaven, from beyond. The Bible is the world’s great self-corrective. Each day it tweaks our lives and prompts fresh mid-course corrections. Wisdom flourishes.
4. Go deep. Daily Bible reading deepens us theologically. On the one hand, the demons are excellent theologians (James 2:19). They would ace our seminaries’ doctrine exams. So it isn’t enough to have right doctrine. But it is certainly necessary. Defective doctrine means a defective view of God, and to the degree our view of God is defective, to that degree the ceiling lowers on our potential for joy, comfort and above all enjoying the gospel of grace. One reason we read the Bible is to deepen our minds. To sharpen the contours of our vision of God. To think more accurately about all that matters most.
5. Get busy. We also read the Bible to be told what to do. It’s not the main thing we read the Bible for. But we do find ourselves stirred to take action in concrete ways. Sometimes the text commands action directly. Other times it doesn’t, but at the least, indirectly, a text will mess with us, change us a little bit, alter our outlook and thus impel us forward in some new step of practical obedience externally because we have been changed a tiny bit internally.