As Christians, we know that without taking in God’s word, our faith will become anemic, shallow, and weak. And yet, so often, we neglect the precious gift of God’s word in our daily lives.
This is a simple list meant to help motivate souls-prone-to-wander see that giving ourselves to God’s word in 2016 will be worth it — one reason for every month you might be tempted to give up.
1. The Bible enables us to know and love Jesus more.
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me [Jesus].” (John 5:39)
The Bible is not ultimate. Jesus, the Word of God incarnate, is ultimate. But the Bible is the place where we know for certain that we can see and savor Christ each day. The Old Testament writings promise him and point toward him. The Gospels show us his ministry here on earth leading to his death and resurrection. The letters show us the work he continues to do by his Spirit through his church, which is his body.
There is nothing and no one more valuable for you to know and love in 2016 than Jesus, and there is nowhere you’re more likely to encounter him than in this Book.
2. The Bible gives us hope in God no matter what is happening in our lives.
Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
The Bible is the foundation under our feet that gives us the encouragement we need to remain hopeful in Christ through times of depression and suffering. We have a God who wrote a Book so that we might be people with hope. We should take advantage of that precious gift.
3. The Bible leads us to supreme happiness in God.
Blessed [this means happy!] is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1–2)
God has revealed himself in his word. In the Bible, discover the path of life that leads us to “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
The happiness the Bible offers us is as unchanging and durable as the God who wrote it and who is himself our greatest Treasure.
4. The Bible arms us to kill our sin by the Spirit of God.
If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)
The word of God is the sword in the hands of the Spirit of God. The sword goes to work to hack up sin in our life that keeps us from God. The sword pierces through bone and marrow to reveal our hearts. With sin removed and cleansed, we can see Christ more fully and find greater holiness and happiness.
5. In the Bible, we hear directly from the mouth of the God of the universe.
All Scripture is breathed out by God. (2 Timothy 3:16)
May we never be bored reading the Bible. May we never forget that the almighty God of the universe is speaking directly to us in those moments.
There are probably people you are dying to meet in person. You would never miss the opportunity if it was given to you. You would clear your schedule of anything to be with them. Shouldn’t the God of the universe make that list? We meet him again and again in his word when we read our Bibles.
6. The Bible is a free course on life taught by God himself.
All Scripture is . . . profitable for teaching. (2 Timothy 3:16)
If God is speaking, and his word is profitable for teaching, then we get to go to class every day under the professorship of God himself. And it’s free. Indeed, God has given us his Spirit to teach us his secret and hidden wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:7, 10).
7. The Bible enlightens us to areas where we need to grow so that we can be changed and trained into the image of Christ.
We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
As we see Jesus in his word, we will also see that we don’t measure up. We will see sin and areas for growth. Jesus is the standard for change and the means of change. As we see him, the Spirit goes to work to change us more and more into his image, and to set us free from the silly little desires and idols we’ve been settling for.
8. The Bible equips us for good works that bring glory to our God.
All Scripture is breathed out by God . . . that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)
The Bible stirs us up and equips us to do good works that beautifully adorn the gospel. And as we do these good works, others see them and give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12). We want our lives to count for his glory, and God gives us the guide for that great cause in his word.
9. The Bible produces healthy and happy families and relationships.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. . . . Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1, 4)
We cannot know how and why we ought to obey our parents, at least in a way that honors God, if we do not know the word of God. And we cannot know how to raise our children to know, and love, and obey the Lord if we do not know the word of the Lord.
Families and church families will be much healthier and happier places, for all of the reasons already mentioned above, if we are people saturated with the Bible.
10. The Bible keeps us from being conformed to this world.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
The world bombards us with sinful and foolish temptations. The world screams for conformity to its systems and ways. We desperately need to be people who fix our eyes on Jesus, and meditate on all his words, so that we are not conformed to the world, but transformed to be more like him.
If you want to be average and irrelevant, ignore the word and fall in with the world. If you want to make an eternal difference for the world, be transformed by God’s word.
11. The Bible teaches us to pray.
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)
Without the Bible, our prayers too easily drift into our own fleshly, sin-driven complaints, desires, and pity-parties. With the Bible, we can see reality, see our sin, even see the sins of others against us, and approach the throne of grace for help, with deep and lasting truths ringing in our ears.
12. The Bible spurs us toward genuine and healthy fellowship and accountability.
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)
The Bible helps us in our families and churches to make God’s glory the goal, sin the enemy, and perseverance in our faith the priority. It gives us the courage and wisdom to humbly and lovingly admit our own wrongs to others and to confront sin in one another.
Make this next year a quest to find joy in God by hearing from God. He’s worth all the effort.
One Must-Read in 2016: We will never fully comprehend or appreciate the fact that God has given us his own words in a book. John Piper gives us seven reasons to read the Bible every day.
Advice for Another Year of Bible Reading: Most Christians know they should spend time regularly in God’s word, but they don’t know how. Bruce Ware offers us five tips from decades of Bible reading.
How to Read the Bible for Yourself: When John Piper sits down to read the Bible, how does he see the things he sees? Here he gives us three steps to understanding and applying every passage in God’s word.