In every tribe there is a secret code, unwritten rules, invisible laws you have to follow that no one ever tells you about, but everyone seems to know about. For Christians, one rule is that when you ask someone, “What is your favorite book,” you always have to end the question with, “…other than the Bible.”
The funny thing is, I think the Bible is actually on the favorite list of very few Christians. And I completely understand why. Other books are usually much easier, more fun, and sometimes more helpful to read than the Bible (am I allowed to say that?). So let’s talk about why we prefer other books to the Bible.
3 REASONS WE PREFER OTHER BOOKS TO THE BIBLE.
- A regular book is small; the Bible is big.
When you read a regular book, the objective is to finish it. And that goal is attainable. The chapters are laid out in a natural progression. Each new chapter builds on the previous one. And most books are less than 300 pages, so you can finish it relatively quickly.
When you read the Bible, the objective is usually to read a one-page-chapter (or less), and then to think about it, pray about it, maybe journal about it, and apply it to your life. That takes far more time and effort than reading through a regular book.
- A regular book is clearly applicable; the Bible seems abstract.
A regular book usually has a straight forward agenda. It is clear, often from the title, what the book is about. Many books even tell you exactly how to apply the concept to your life.
The Bible is a series of letters, poems and historical accounts of people and nations, often not even in chronological order, that do not always seem immediately or clearly relatable. We hear it said all the time that we should apply the Word of God to our lives. But what is there to apply when you read a story about a teenager who killed a giant with a sling and stone (I Samuel 17), or the story of some guys on a boat who saw their leader walking on water and one of them decided to join him (Matt. 14:22-33)?
- A regular book feeds my pride; the Bible makes me humble.
A regular book gives me new ideas I haven’t considered before. When I read the thoughts of a smart guy on Christianity or science or culture, I am puffed up with pride by a new intriguing idea. In reading this book I have knowledge other people don’t have. I have a list of mind blowing quotes I can use to impress others at nerd parties or over coffee.
When I read Scripture I am humbled by the conviction of truth. I see who I am and who I am not. It’s much easier, and feels better, to be smart than humble.
SO WHY READ THE BIBLE?
It is the canon of truth.
The word canon means “measuring rod” or “standard.” The Bible is the standard all other claims to truth are measured against. Yes, we should read other books, but if we don’t read the Bible, there’s no way to know if other books are right or wrong. All other books may or may not be true. The Bible is always true.
It is God’s Word.
The Bible is the surest way to hear from God. He does not primarily speak by an inner whisper or a prophet. He primarily speaks to us through His Word. If you need to hear from God, open the book.
It always brings more joy in the end.
When we choose to make the Bible the priority and read it first, it always brings more joy. Another book may bring happiness, but the joy of reading the very words and heart of God is worth far more than that.
3 MINDSETS YOU SHOULD HAVE ABOUT READING THE BIBLE.
Reading the bible can truly be enjoyable and engaging. But you have to think about it differently than you think about reading other books.
- The point of reading the Bible isn’t to finish it because godliness is a lifelong pursuit.
- The point of reading the Bible isn’t primarily to apply it to your life, but to know who God is by seeing how he interacts with His people.
- The point of reading the Bible isn’t to become smarter, but righteous.
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