I grew up in a Bible-believing, Bible-reading, Bible-loving Protestant family. You could say that the Bible was our Sacrament: it was the place where we met God. At least, it was the place where my parents met God, and the place from which they dispensed wisdom and taught us right from wrong. I wasn’t much interested in it myself, beyond giving it lip service. I didn’t really see the need.
But that was before I started to realize just how far I could fall on my own. I lost my way in high school. And one night — I even know which night, because the next day was my birthday — I lay in bed crying and wondering how I’d come to such a mess and how I would get out. I decided to give God a try: if he would fix my life, I told him, I would follow him. And just to show I meant it, I said I’d read my Bible every day.
The notes in the margins of that Bible show my progress: from my “discovery” that Mark’s gospel tells the same story as Matthew’s (I wrote in all the cross-references so I could prove it — really!) … to the words I read as though God wrote them right to me, underlined and circled with notes scrawled nearby. Words of love and understanding that touched my heart and helped me with the problems that I faced. I can honestly say that hearing from the Lord in Scripture changed my life.
From then on, my experience with the Bible is best described by this quote from Dei Verbum (the Vatican II document on The Word of God):
“In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them.”
Yes, Jesus meets us profoundly and intimately in the Eucharist. Yes, he reveals himself in nature and in other people and in many other ways … but he also meets with us in Scripture, to share his heart with us.
Seven Reasons to Read the Bible
The Lord himself said that Scripture is as necessary to us as food (Matthew 4:4). Here are seven reasons why you might want to start “eating” the bread of the Word regularly, just as you take care to fill your plate (look up the references in your Bible so you can get the context, or click on the links provided):
1. Scripture is like a teacher, equipping us for good works
Read 2 Timothy 3:16.
2. Scripture is like a light or a GPS, providing direction and clarity
Read Psalm 119:105.
3. Scripture is a tonic when we’re sad, depressed or lonely
Read Psalm 119:28.
4. Scripture gives hope when we can’t see the end of trouble
Read Psalm 130:5.
5. Scripture is like armor, keeping us from sin
Read Psalm 119:11.
6. Scripture is a powerful weapon against the devil
Read Ephesians 6:17.
7. Scripture is like water, necessary to health and flourishing
Read Psalm 1.
With all those benefits … why would we not read the Bible?
Blessings on you as you Come into the Word!
© 2020 Sarah Christmyer
Help Getting Started
If you’d like to know more about this or are want help with reading the Bible, search my blog category “Bible Reading and Study” or check out these related posts:
- The Richness of God’s Word: Psalm 19, 119
- How to Grow as a Disciple with Scripture
- Build a Bible Reading Habit (3 “Ps” to Get You Started)
- Not by Bread Alone: How to Live by the Word of God
- God Wants to Speak to You: How to Hear Him
Free Webinar on Encouraging Scripture Engagement
If you work in a parish or ministry and want to encourage others to read the Bible, I covered reasons (including those given above) and practical ways to do that in this free leadership webinar from Ave Maria Press.