This is an interesting question to think about and maybe more so the answers that we choose. Over the course of my life, I’ve read the Bible for loads of different reasons. In my childhood, growing up as a pastor’s kid, I was often told that I should read my Bible. Consequently, I read the Bible for many years because I should, and that motivation worked for a little bit.
As I got older, I read the Bible to accomplish various things. For many years, it made me feel good to say that I read through the Bible in a year, kind of like a Christian merit badge. If you asked me, during that season, if I liked reading through the Bible like that, I would have told you that it was important to be consistent and keep with a plan. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” So I’d dutifully read my Bible, but truth be told, it was often an exercise in keeping a daily discipline. To a degree, I think that’s very important.
For more than a few years, I would read my Bible to get sermons. When this was my motivation, I’d hunker down into whatever passage I was studying, dig into the original languages, use Bible dictionaries and commentaries, along with doing historical research around that passage so I had a robust understanding for a well-informed sermon.
Sometimes, I’d read the Bible to get answers or help with various situations and challenges. When I found poignant verses, I’d be sure to write them down, keep them in front of me and maybe even memorize some of them. I’d also often pray these verses and have faith that God would employ His Word to be active in my life, going in lockstep with Isaiah 55:11.
There was also a season in my life when I read the Bible because I liked it and found it to be helpful for growing in my relationship with God. This is where I’ve landed in relation to reading my Bible now – for the outcome of deepening my relationship with God and getting to know God more intimately. I’m discovering that reading my Bible for intimacy more than achievement is very delightful to me.
Here’s what I’ve been doing in recent years that has been very fulfilling and sustaining to my relationship with God. I still read my Bible almost every day. However, I read my Bible very differently than I’ve done in the past. In order to let my Bible reading facilitate greater intimacy with God, I have slowed down massively. Indeed, I don’t even look at reading a specific quantity of the Bible daily because my higher priority is to increase my quality of relationship with God, so my reading is slower and deeper.
Additionally, in the last year or so, I’ve immensely enjoyed reading the same passage in the Gospels every day for several weeks or even a few months. Doing this has helped me to see and experience Jesus much deeper than my speed-reading efforts or box-checking accomplishments. Just recently, I read the story of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11 every day for close to two months. This was a deeply fulfilling experience, and my love for Jesus has wonderfully grown to greater depths.
In this blog, I want to encourage you to read your Bible, but I’d also ask you to consider why you read your Bible. Perhaps there could be some additional benefits to Bible reading that you might explore. Happy reading!