One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is reading more. When I say “reading,” you likely think of novels, biographies, and magazines. Chances are, the individuals adopting this resolution think the same. But I encourage you to make Bible reading a habit in 2018.
For roughly four years, I’ve been reading the Bible for myself. It has changed my life. Sunday school lessons never changed my life. Bible classes never changed my life. Sermons never changed my life. Reading the Bible for myself certainly has.
I desire you to say the same. Today, I want to show you why reading the Bible for yourself is important.
The Bible is God’s Word—not man’s word.
The modern Church is suffering because most “Christians” lack a personal relationship with God. Therefore, I want to encourage those who claim Christ as Lord and Savior to study His Word for themselves.
It’s much easier to merely take the advice of Christian leaders. It’s much easier to depend on ministers to fulfill our spiritual needs. It’s much easier to rely solely on the counsel of pastors when navigating this thing called life. After all, why would you make an effort to study the Bible for yourself when other people tell you what it says?
People aren’t perfect. Pastors misinterpret God’s Word sometimes. Even the wisest ministers can easily fall into deception. As a result, preachers may lead their hearers astray. A good pastor will always encourage his or her listeners to study the Word for themselves. You should challenge any biblical lesson by reading the Bible for yourself. It’s not that you want to prove someone wrong; instead, you want to ensure they’re right.
The Bible declares itself as the written Word of God.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Tim. 3:16 NLT).
“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:20-21 NLT).
Although I greatly admire the faith of many men, the Bible alone is the handbook of life.
Reading the Bible keeps you focused on God throughout the week.
As I mentioned, many Christians are content to live by the words of ministers. As a result, most Christians only “read” the Bible during a Sunday morning sermon. Because of this, a great deal of Christians lose focus of God throughout the week.
When you read the Bible for yourself, you make it a habit to consistently seek God in your life. I can’t begin to describe how important this is! When you make a habit of reading God’s Word, you make yourself available to God. You open your heart to His voice.
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Ps. 119:105 NLT).
When you consistently dig into the Bible for yourself, you’ll become a stronger follower of Christ.
Now, let me warn you: starting a Bible reading habit isn’t easy. It takes time to develop.
I remember when I first started reading the Bible for myself. It was so difficult for me to read God’s Word that I had to force myself. I would sit down, open the cover, and read. Sometimes, it was boring. Sometimes, I wondered if it was really necessary. Sometimes, I had trouble comprehending the text. But I pushed through. I kept reading. And it changed my life.
Even today, I often have trouble reading the Bible. Seven times out of ten, I’d rather do something else. However, when it’s been a habit for four years, it’s hard to quit. Despite my struggle, God is faithful. He continues to speak to me through His Word, and I continue to change for His glory.
As 2018 unfolds, I encourage you to begin reading the Bible in a deeper way. As you can see, personal Bible study is life-changing—that is, when you apply it to your life.
Isaiah Pauley is a senior at Wahama High School. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.