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Reading the Bible
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
People, used to reading biographies, real life adventures, and fiction, will not readily classify the Bible as exciting literature. Regardless of human opinion, the Bible is the most important book of all times. Why then this discrepancy? The Bible is important, although ‘strange’ and ‘confusing’. Peter wrote, “Like new born babies, crave pure spiritual milk (the Bible) so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Pet 2:3). Using that as a yardstick, many Christians could probably die from spiritual malnutrition.
The reason for the wide spread failure to read and study this vitally important book is that the Bible is the only book in the world that has a spiritual enemy. (”When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” - Matt 13:19.) The devil will try his utmost to prevent believers from reading it. It is not uncommon when reading the Bible, that a tiredness, sleepiness, other business, or important sport pitches up, and the Bible is forgotten. Another factor is that the Bible can only be understood with the help of the Holy Spirit. ”The Counselor, the Holy Spirit... will teach you” (John 14:26). This is God’s way of seeing that the very clever is not given an advantage over the less clever. Both have to rely on the help of the Spirit, and can never take any honour for understanding and insight.
God revealed himself in a written account. He is omnipotent, and could have talked to each person individually. But subjective communication was not an option for God. His truth as contained in the Bible remains the same through generations. He is not a respecter of persons. He treats everyone equally. Some people have very good memories, others need continual repetition. But individual differences do not influence the Bible. There is only one Word of God, which is the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It excludes all the claims of ‘lost books’ that need to be included. All people have the same information.
John wrote that he wants to tell his readers about Jesus with whom he was well acquainted (1 John 1:1-3). This is so that all can share in the fellowship with Jesus. We can compare this with a family member writing a letter with news to other family members (today on computer). By reading the letter, we share in the news of the family. The Bible is the same. We can also regard it as a biography of God’s kingdom plans, or the origin, history, rights and wrongs, past, presence and future of the Kingdom. By reading it, we share in the accounts of God’s dealings with man, what He likes, and the mistakes and correct attitudes of real people. In a sense God is conversing with us each individually, telling us about Himself (Matt 22:31). He is telling us important news, and not reading it means we know nothing about God and His plans for us, what life is about, and the future after death. It is like being interested in emigrating to another country, but taking no trouble to learn about it. Such a person will not accomplish anything. It is the same with the Bible. Not reading and listening to God is displaying a disregard for God, and God regards it as such (read in Jer 36 about the evil king Jehoiakim who burned the scroll with the words of God as dictated to Jeremiah. Not that it hindered God. Jeremiah wrote another scroll, proving also that God’s Word is indestructible).
Conclusion: believers have to ask the Holy Spirit for help in reading the Bible. Since they will be opposed by an invisible force, they must realize how important the Bible is. Without reading the Bible, we have no communication with God, Who revealed Himself in the Bible.
Related articles: God and the Old Testament, Which Bible Translation?