Why is it that so many of us have never read the entire Bible? It’s a book we supposedly build our entire lives on. We claim to love God and His Word. Yet, many of us have never actually read the Bible in its entirety.
Is it because it is boring? I don’t know how any of us could say that, considering how many exciting stories are found therein. These stories are about horrendous men and women of history committing atrocious acts of adultery, murder, envy, and even leading political uprisings. Wars and battles are fought between nations and sometimes just between individuals. There are stories of witchcraft, human sacrifice, and even “zombies” raised from the dead. At the same time, there are stories of love found in unlikely places, forgiveness, and through the entire Bible is the story of God’s love for mankind, which led Him to rescue us from impunity and our own inanity. These stories are better than any of the stories we entertain ourselves with on television or in fiction. These stories are real, relatable, and revealing of our own human nature.
Maybe that’s why we don’t like reading the Bible. It’s easy to dismiss the evil we see on television or in the movies. It’s unrelatable when it’s on the big screen. Yet when we read it in the Bible, we think about it and see ourselves in those evil choices. We recognize our own rebelliousness in Eve’s choice to eat the forbidden fruit. We identify our own anger issues when we read of Cain’s murder. We perceive our own propensity for lying when we see Abram convince Sarai to lie about her relationship with him. We see our own family’s dysfunction when we read of Isaac and Rebekah’s displays of favoritism with their children. We notice our own jealousies when we read of Joseph’s brothers’ treatment of him. We reveal our weakness to lust when we realize we don’t have Joseph’s same self-control in the face of sexual opportunity with Potiphar’s wife. And all of those personal revelations are found in just the first book of the Bible.
Yet, there is a brighter side to our reading of the Scripture. Not only can we see ourselves in the bad but we can also find ourselves in the good. When we read time and time again of God’s forgiveness, we are reminded about how good it is to be forgiven by such a generous God (1 Jn 1.9). When another story of God’s grace is read, we can remember that we are saved by grace even though we don’t deserve such favorable treatment (Eph 2.8). When we read about God’s love for different men and women of Scripture, we can know God’s love spreads wide enough to engulf even us (Jn 3.16). We can find ourselves in the good of Scripture.
This is why we must start to dig deeper into God’s Word. Often, we only dig enough to find guilt. Finding guilt was God’s intention. The Bible reveals our sins (Rom 7.7). The Scriptures help us to see through our skewed perceptions and see reality—we are all sinners (Rom 3.23). But digging deeper will help us to find the good news along with the bad. While we first find that we are sinners in need of saving, God has also provided the means for our salvation. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6.23). While we must first deal with the guilt of sin, we also can deal with this guilt by handing it over to the Lord and trusting in His power of wash away our sins, remove our guilt, absolve our condemnation, and preserve us for our inheritance. The Bible reveals some bad news, but we call it the “gospel” because it is a book of good news!