Faith: Perhaps the most selfish reason to read the Bible
I've struggled to read the Bible.
I would pick it up occasionally because I knew God wanted me to.
I would read a verse or two.
Then I would put it down again.
Never becoming a consistent reader.
Why I didn't read the Bible
Honestly, I didn't know where to start reading the Bible.
Do I flip it open at Genesis and take it from there?
Do I read it from cover to cover?
And how do I interpret it?
I found many stories hard to read (about war and murder), and for that reason also hard to translate to today and apply to my life.
So what's the easiest thing a person can do when something's a struggle?
Just let it be.
Then why can I read the Bible consistently now?
I knew that if I wanted to grow in my faith, I needed to know more of God's word.
My first baby step to reading the Bible more often was praying for a desire to read more.
The helpful second step that made that happen, eventually, was reading a book with daily devotionals paired with Bible verses—this was the era before mobile phones and YouVersion.
Later on, the Bible app would help me too by providing great day-by-day Bible plans.
(How blessed am I to be able to provide Bible plans on that platform today?)
Reasons for reading the Bible
Now I'm at a point where I can hardly remember what it was like to not read the Bible. I've seen the fruits of reading it, like the strengthening of my faith and getting to know God better.
Those are great reasons for reading the Bible, but there are more:
→ You can get to know God's promises for your life
→ You'll see the abundance of God's love
→ You will understand God's purpose for people, and for you
→ You will be more prepared for what's yet to come: trials and tribulations
→ And, as the first part of 1 Joshua 8 explains: You will become careful in doing, and acting wisely (last one translated from Dutch).
Even if acting carefully and wisely were the only things I would gain from reading the Bible, it would be more than worth it.
But there's more.
The most selfish reason
1 Joshua 8 continues.
"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
—1 Joshua: 8
I think this is a big reason, if not the most selfish reason to read God's word every day—'cause who doesn't want a prosperous life, right?
Now, I know that prosperity doesn't mean what the world so often portrays to us.
It's not the big house, the full bank account, the many vacations, and the wealthy life.
(It can be but it's so inferior to what prosperity means to God).
However, prosperity still means things are good. They are good in God's eyes.
That's why I need to know what is good in His eyes.
A great way, if not the best way, to find out is by reading the Bible.
The more I hang out with my Bible, the more I'll think like God.
The Holy Spirit will fill me with His wisdom and give me thoughts that are of God.
If I have thoughts of God, my understanding of what is prosperous and successful will come from God.
I will act on it and so my life will be more prosperous and successful.
As you can see, it's a full circle.
Filling myself with what's good according to Him, will help my eyes to see what's good and set my heart to desire what's good according to God.
Focus on self
As a person who leans toward humbleness instead of arrogance, I do find it challenging to accept that God gives me a selfish reason to read the Bible.
God isn't about selfishness and yet He created us for His own pleasure.
A loving parent understands that you give your child reasons to do something for personal gain or fun. The reason behind it can be that it will be beneficial for the child's character and development. Or for the relationship between the two of you.
That's how I see this reason too.
It will be beneficial for me on many fronts to read the Bible. And yes, one can be a selfish reward.
I just love how God put it in there.
He wants me to be prosperous and successful.
On His terms.
And I accept that invitation.