For many Christians, reading the Bible is critical. We call it our “Quiet Time” and we go to great lengths to make sure we have it. We want to read, study and meditate on the Word, for it is our daily bread. Did not Jesus himself say that “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word the comes from the mouth of God?” (Matthew 4:4).
There is a danger to avoid, however, when we read the Bible — treating Bible time as an end in itself rather than the longing of a seeking heart to experience and enjoy intimacy with God.
Psalm 119:2 speaks to this issue – “Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart“.
And so we must regularly examine ourselves and our motives. I’m writing this article to challenge you and me to ask ourselves the question, “Why do I read the Bible? Do I read the Bible merely to acquire knowledge that becomes a badge of pride, a way to impress my Christian friends, a means to receive praise from others?”
If that is the case, Bible time has little to do with seeking God. Rather, it has everything to do with me – my self-seeking, self-absorbed agenda of impressing others so I can be viewed as spiritually mature, when in fact I may be anything but that.
If this is an area you struggle with, I’d like to encourage you to spend time in prayer about it. Confess the pride of Bible knowledge as an end in itself and ask God to instill in you a greater desire to spend time in the Word because you want to spend time with Him.
Focus on the simple fact that being a Christian is first and foremost an intimate relationship with your Maker. And this relationship, like any good relationship, is characterized by communication between two people – you and your God. This communication must be a two-way street. We communicate to God through prayer, and He communicates to us through the Bible.
God wants to speak to us through His Word. When we read the Bible, we have the wonderful privilege of hearing what He has to say. And when we listen, with an open heart and a humble mind, there is a communion that takes place that satisfies the soul and brings us into the very presence of King Jesus.
Oh that this would be the cry of our hearts every time we open the Word and read it: “I seek you with all my heart . . . Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain” (Psalm 119: 10, 36).