Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why do we read the Bible?

I've recently heard it said that the Bible is the bestselling, most cherished, most owned, most loved and least read book in America. I'm sure if we could look into every home in we would find at least one in most houses. In some we might only find a tract or perhaps a Gideon Bible provided at a critical time in the recipient's life. If we a "good Christians" we likely have a more than one. We may have a heirloom family Bible. One of those big, old Bibles with worn & cracked leather binding and pages yellowed by the years. We may have a small Bible given to us in Sunday School as a child. We may have several different translations, collected over the years as different translations have been favored by different churches or Pastors. Technology has now made it possible for us to have umpteen translations that we can search and compare right on our phones. (Christianity Today had an interesting article about this last month)

A quick count of my own office came up with 11 different Bibles. I have 3 study Bibles (ESV, NASB, NKJV) I have several of just the text (ESV, NIV, Message) I have both a Greek NT and a Hebrew OT to remind me of the many hours I spent learning the original languages in seminary. I have a Reader's Hebrew/Greek Bible that has helps to make reading in the original languages a little easier. I have interlinears that put the Greek and English side by side to help me even more. Some of them are leather-bound of some kind, some hard cover, some paperback, I even have one, printed by these smart folks that is completely waterproof which I use when I'm outside in case it rains.

We must question why the Bible is such prevalent book. Why do we keep so many around? Is it because we like the look of leather-bound books? Why do we read it? Why do we go to church every week to hear it read, sing songs from it and about it and then listen to a preaching talk about? Do we like the stories? Do we find it engaging and entertaining? Do we believe it is the Word of God, communicated through His faithful servants wrote it, preserved it, copied it, translated it and made it available to us.

The Bible is to be our handbook for life. It tells us where we came from, how we ended up mired in sin, how God loved us enough to provide a way out of our sin, and finally how God is going to put everything back to rights. It tells us how we can have a relationship with God. It tells us how we should live our lives as people of God. It is something we are to study, and take to heart. We must do this because the Bible is to be the standard by which we evaluate our lives and the teachings we follow. 

If you haven't spent much time with the "Good Book" today is a great day to do so.

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