Is it possible to read the Bible and sin against God by doing so? Absolutely.
It’s an example of what John MacArthur calls “Christian legalism” – the idea that I must engage in certain behaviors in order to earn God’s approval.
Rather than living by faith, “Many Christians still live by works. They believe if they do certain things, God is obliged to keep score and say, ‘That’s wonderful. You went to a Bible study, had a quiet time in the Word today, did something nice for your neighbor, and went to church.’ If those things are done in the overflow of one’s love for Jesus Christ as acts of devotion, that’s great. But there are many Christians who think they are meriting God’s favor that way. Instead of Jewish legalism, it’s Christian legalism.” (Source: Anxious for Nothing: God’s Cure for the Cares of Your Soul, p. 65).
I urge you today to take a close look at your motive for reading the Bible. Do you read the Word as a demonstration of your love for King Jesus, or is it merely one more thing on your “things to do list” to somehow earn the blessing of God?
Oh, may we all take time to examine our hearts!
I’ve written an article on this subject that I pray you’ll find helpful: “7 Deadly Sins of Bible Reading: How to Avoid Them Like the Plague.” What MacArthur calls “Christian legalism” is what I refer to as Bible Reading Sin #5: “Reading without believing – the sin of self-righteous legalism.” You can check it out here: