“In my experience, there are two main reasons people don’t read their Bible. The first is that people honestly don’t understand the Bible holds transformational power. Second, they don’t read the Bible because they don’t know how to find delight in reading it. Both issues are worth understanding in more detail.”
Over and over again, studies show the most important thing for spiritual growth is reading the Bible, yet most people in the church aren’t doing it. Only 45% of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. For each church attender who does read their Bible every day, there’s someone else who doesn’t read it at all.
Biblical illiteracy is an epidemic.
I say this as a pastor who talks to people every week, inside and outside the church, with next to no biblical knowledge. The most concerning thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a distinction between those who are new to the faith and those who isave been Christians for several years, sometimes even a decade or more.
Why is it that despite the evidence, despite our sincere longing to grow spiritually, we don’t do the one thing most capable of producing that growth?
In my experience, there are two main reasons people don’t read their Bible. The first is that people honestly don’t understand the Bible holds transformational power. Second, they don’t read the Bible because they don’t know how to find delight in reading it. Both issues are worth understanding in more detail.
Understanding the transforming power of God’s Word
Why do people always tell you to read your Bible more? Seriously, why do pastors and writers and bloggers go on and on about being in the Bible each and every day? Besides the overwhelming research indicating Bible engagement is crucial to spiritual growth, it’s because the Bible itself tells us that the Word of God is the only thing powerful enough to transform the human heart.
Nowhere is this seen in more vivid detail than the prophet Ezekiel’s vision from God of the valley of bones:
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.” – Ezekiel 37:1-4
Ezekiel knows he’s helpless to bring this bunch of skeletons to life. He says, “God, I don’t know, but you do.” Good answer.
God tells Ezekiel what it takes to bring the bones to life—his words. Ezekiel then speaks the Word of God over those dry bones and the unthinkable happens:
“And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them…So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” – Ezekiel 37:8,10
God spoke and enfleshed those piles of bones, then breathed into them the breath of life. All through the power of His Word.
Just how powerful is God’s Word? The book of Hebrews tells us that all things are held together by the power of God’s Word: “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3).
That same life-giving, universe-sustaining power is still wielded through the Word of the Lord. But these days, we don’t have to hear from prophets or judges or priests. The opening of the book of Hebrews tells us, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).
The Son (Jesus), then, is how we hear the Word of God today. And where are his teachings and commandments recorded? In the Bible. The more we read the Bible, the more we see how every verse is about Jesus. So if we want access to the transforming power of God through Christ, we have to read the Bible.