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Why Should I Read the Bible?

Why do you need to read the Bible if you’re a Christian and have the Holy Spirit as your Counselor? To start, it’s important to recognize that—like many concepts in Scripture—cultural Christianity has distorted the Holy Spirit such that what is said of him may not always be from God. That’s why we commit to discipleship, and that’s why we have the Word of God. We need a compass to keep us straight.

The Bible Is Reliable

In the Old Testament, the prophets delivered God’s message that he would send a Messiah to restore his people. The promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and revealed in his apostles’ teaching in the New Testament. Today, we have the full canon of Scripture: all of God’s laws, his promises, his fulfillments, and his teachings about how to live in relationship with him through Jesus Christ. In other words, we have the complete picture.

The Bible is unlike any other literary composition ever written. Archaeological findings affirm its truth. Geographical markers support its historicity. Scientific principles are implicit in its teaching. Many people have tried to summarize or expound upon its contents in creeds, commentaries, expositions, and topical studies, and while these can be useful tools, none can take the place of the full Word of God recorded in the Bible.


Why Should I Read the Bible? “The Bible is unlike any other literary composition ever written.”


Relying on God’s Word

The only way to know that we’re getting the intended message of God’s Word by the original, inspired author is to read the Bible in its entirety and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. Context is key. Even as we seek the Holy Spirit’s leading, we must make sure we’re hearing from him in the context of Scripture. God will not speak to us in a way that contradicts his written Word.

The scriptures tell us to be careful to avoid false teachings. Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith, telling him how to deal with this issue in the first-century Christian church (2 Timothy 2:14–19, 23–26). Imagine the struggle of Timothy, a young, uncircumcised preacher who had a Greek father and had not been raised adhering to Jewish traditions. He had cultural barriers to overcome and dealt with persecution from the Jews, just like Paul. Yet Paul told him to instruct his opponents gently, in the hope that they would be brought to repentance through hearing the truth.


“Even as we seek the Holy Spirit’s leading, we must make sure we’re hearing from him in the context of Scripture.”


We don’t use God’s Word to be contentious and quarrelsome. At the same time, we guard our own hearts against false teaching. As we begin to disciple others, we teach them how to guard themselves against false teachings also. In 2 Timothy 3:6–9, Paul warns about false teachers who hold sway over gullible people who are weighed down by the guilt of sin. People with ill intentions will try to prey on our weaknesses by manipulating Scripture to affirm fleshly desires; but if we know the truth—if we know what God’s Word truly says—we can stand firm.

If we don’t rely on the Word of God, then our tendency is to base our spirituality on our emotions. In 2 Peter 1:16–21, we find that no prophecy is of human origin; the prophets and apostles spoke the Word of God as they were carried by the Holy Spirit. It is a serious offense to speak of one’s own volition and then claim that it is from God. Yet people often claim to have heard from the Holy Spirit or to have received a word of prophecy and yet speak what they want—what feels good or empowering. But if it doesn’t fully align with God’s whole Word, it’s false.

What if you don’t have hours and hours to dedicate to Bible study every day? How can you know it all? Start by evaluating every truth, every claim, against the Word of God. Read your Bible so that you can become familiar with it. Learn how to search out topics and teachings in context. Let Scripture be your absolute truth by which every other claim is weighed.


Why Should I Read the Bible? “If we don’t rely on the Word of God, then our tendency is to base our spirituality on our emotions.”


The only way to know absolute truth is to read it in the inspired canon of Scripture. This is God’s eternal, enduring Word. You’ll never be perfect or know everything on this side of eternity, but you have the source of eternal truth to carry you until you get there. You must be diligent in studying Scripture and guarding yourself against false teachings.


Excerpted from Matthew Wilson, The 40-Day Discipleship Journey: Finding Answers to Why, What, and How of Following Jesus (Ekklesia Press, 2023). Used with permission.

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Want fresh teachings and disciple making content? Sign up to receive a weekly newsletters highlighting our resources and new content to help equip you in your disciple making journey. We’ll also send you emails with other equipping resources from time to time.

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