Why Read the Bible
If God sent you a letter, would you read it? One of the things that people don't often appreciate when it comes to the Bible is that God knows and loves us as individuals. Although he doesn't generally speak audibly to individuals, he is capable of communicating to you personally through the Bible. Here are some common reasons why people don't read the Bible.
"I'm not sure whether it is true"
The Bible is a book all about Jesus. In the Old Testament, there are over 300 prophecies predicting his coming. The gospels are obviously about his life and death. Then, we have the early history of his followers in Acts and the epistles speak of how to live for Jesus. The very last chapter of the Bible has Jesus at the very heart of it. In fact, the very last verse mentions him by name. Not everyone who reads the Bible is a fully-fledged believer but most people respect and admire Jesus enough to want to know about him. If you consider yourself a believer, this book is all about the one you love and serve. The early church father, Jerome said "ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ." On the other hand, if you are an unbeliever this book will help you to make up your mind about the Christian faith. You can look into the historicity of the New Testament here.
"The language is too old-fashioned."
Nowadays the Bible comes in many different translations. Some people prefer the old translations but there is no reason why you can't use a modern translation.
"It's too big and bulky."
Bibles are available is all shapes and sizes. You may remember getting a little Gideons New Testament in school. Nowadays, you can even get them for pocket PCs.
"My church doesn't like me reading it on my own."
Some say that this was the case in the past with the Roman Catholic denomination in particular. It is certainly not the case now. Even before Vatican II, Pope Benedict XV said, "We shall never desists from urging the faithful to read daily the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles, so as to gather food for their souls. Ignorance of the Bible means ignorance of Christ."
"It's too long"
The Bible isn't like a novel, which you have to sit down and read from cover to cover. It has many different books, which were written over 1600 years. You can start where you like. In fact, you could read one of the gospels in a couple of hours. The Bible in audio format is available free on the Internet. You can just click on a chapter and listen to it in a few minutes. It's a good idea to develop some plan or habit so that you read a little bit every day. Read through the Bible in a year
"It's too difficult"
There are difficult bits. That shouldn't surprise us. Most subjects in life have their difficult bits! But many people with very little education have got into it very quickly. God doesn't only want to speak to educated people.
"It's not relevant for today"
If God took the trouble to give us the most influential book in history, he would hardly have allowed it to go out of date. Millions all over the world read it everyday. When you read it, you might be surprised how little things have changed over the centuries. People are basically the same. If you have a look at the book of Acts, just after the Gospel of John, you can get a good idea of the way non-Christians thought as well as Christians and it doesn't seem that different to today at all - even though it was 2000 years ago. You could almost imagine yourself sitting among them all.
"It's too boring"
Many things seem boring on the outside before you get into them. People often complain that soccer is 22 men running around a field chasing a ball. I'm sure you can think of things that you are interested in now but once found boring and pointless. If you do not have an appetite for God's word, pray that you will develop one. Life has many distractions but at the end of the day and at the end of your life - what really matters?
"I don't want to be a holy Joe"
Terms like 'holy Joe' and 'Bible thumper' are used to ridicule those who are more interested in God and the Bible than ourselves. Perhaps there are some eccentric people who go on about the Bible but there are millions of perfectly balanced people who consider it a very normal thing to read it. Why should we think it odd that someone wants to read about our Creator? What is really odd is if someone classifies himself as a Christian and displays no interest in reading about Christ. I have heard people say "we get enough of it in church." That is a very strange thing to say if you desire to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. One of the dangers of imposing a religion on a country or a region (or at least assuming that everyone is a Christian by virtue of baptism) is that you will end up with people like this. It is far better to allow people to choose Christianity freely. Churches may be much smaller but at least they will consist of people who are truly interested in Christianity. No church is perfect because people aren't perfect but we should be at least aiming to be holy.
"I wouldn't know where to start"
The best place to begin is what people in Ireland are most familiar with - the gospels. You could read a couple of chapters each day. You can start right now. Just type 'John 1' in the box below. You can also use this box to look up other passages or do word searches.