Do Christians HAVE to Read the Bible?
When we miss the point of reading the Bible, sometimes we ask ourselves (and those in spiritual authority over us) why we have to read the Bible everyday.
“Show me in the Bible where we are commanded to have daily quiet times,” we say, looking for a way to alleviate our feelings of guilt over the fact that we don’t want to take time to read the Bible each day.
We try to build an argument to support the idea that weekly quiet times or monthly Bible reading is sufficient. We reason that if the Bible doesn’t expressly say we must read the Bible every day, then we have the freedom to read it as frequently (or as infrequently, as the case may be) as our hearts desire. I mean, that’s just biblical. Christ has set us free from the Law!
(Insert William Wallace’s “FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOM!” cry here.)
The real issue at hand is not what the Bible does and doesn’t say about spending focused time with the Lord alone. The actual problem at hand is our lack of desire to be with Him. But, for argument’s sake, let’s pretend we really do want to understand the biblicality of quiet times. More specifically, let’s consider what the Bible tells us about one facet of quiet times – reading the Bible.
When the Lord was instructing Joshua on taking over as the Israelite’s leader, He said, “Be careful to obey all the Law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful,” (Joshua 1:7-8).
How can we obey the Bible if we don’t know it? How can we speak about it and meditate on it if we don’t know it? How can we know it if we don’t read it? How can we remember what we read if we don’t read it often?
But maybe this verse is not enough to convince us of the need for daily Bible reading… just often Bible reading. And “often” is the loophole through which our guilty feelings can escape if we only want to read the Word every once in awhile.
If we are going to emphatically dispute the idea that the Bible doesn’t require us to read it daily, we’re going to have to find another verse.
And I found that verse today.
In Deuteronomy 17, God is telling Moses that there will come a day when Israel will no longer be satisfied with God being their King – they are going to demand a human king. And when that king is appointed, God says of him, “He is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees,” Deuteronomy (17:18-19).
To modernize things, these verses are saying Israel’s leader is to a) have his own Bible, b) keep his Bible with him, and c) read his Bible daily.
Why? So he may learn to revere the Lord and obey His Word.
You can infer with me that if the king does not know the Word, he won’t know how to revere God or what he needs to do to obey God. And even though we are not kings of Israel, these commands still apply to us. Those who know the Bible know how to revere and obey Him.
So it is with us. The Bible tells us we need to read the Bible. If you’re struggling with not wanting to read the Word, tell Him about it. Tell Him why you don’t want to. Ask Him to make you want to. He can change your desire. Just ask.
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