by Mike Bieber
What’s the benefit of reading the Bible? As far as questions go, that doesn’t seem too hard to answer! But when I begin to answer it, a different question immediately comes to mind: the Bible is so full of wisdom and direction, so where do I start?
Nevertheless, we are confronted with some shocking statistics: only 12 to 19% of Christians in Canada say they read the Bible at all, and of those, only 14% say they read it regularly—at least once a month. That includes all Christians, not just Lutherans.
This should be of great concern to the Church of today, especially in light of some other statistics. For example: those who read the Bible are nine times more likely to attend church and Bible study, receive Holy Communion, and tell others about Jesus. Bible readers are far more willing (and able) to bring to others the Good News—the message that God loves us, that He loved us so much He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. The Bible tells us He will remove from us our sin “as far as the East is from the West.” So why are we so reluctant to read, hear, and share the Good News with our neighbours?
Why are we so reluctant to read, hear, and share the Good News with our neighbours?
The answer comes in Genesis chapter 3. In this first book of the Bible, we learn that our first parents were deceived by the master of lies. Satan led Adam and Eve to believe that they were just as wise as God. Today we have inherited the same problem. We are inundated and influenced every day by the “wisdom” the world supplies.
And that is the challenge for Christians and the Church today. We in Lutheran Church–Canada can be very thankful to God for supplying us a president, Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee, who encourages us to read the Bible daily so that we can deeply understand the benefits God offers to all mankind. We should support our leaders who strive to take us back to the truth of God’s Word.
That truth is the greatest benefit of all, far greater than any the world has to offer. It is the gift of salvation to all who believe, and the gift of forgiveness that is offered to us daily.
The Bible tells us the truth about ourselves and how we fall short of what God expects of us. King Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 7:20 that there is no one who does good and does not sin.
When Jesus died that cruel death on the cross—when the sun ceased to shine, the graves broke open, some who were dead were seen alive, and the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom (Matthew 27:40-55)—it gave us a priceless gift. It gave us free access to God through Jesus Christ every day of our lives. What a benefit! What love! Love beyond all human understanding.
When Jesus died that cruel death on the cross, it gave us a priceless gift: free access to God through Jesus Christ every day of our lives.
The promise that Jesus made will not be broken. “Believe in God; believe also in me,” He says in John 14:1-3. “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
These are not just nice words spoken at a funeral. It is a promise from our Savior Jesus Christ.
All these benefits come to us—and all we are asked to do is believe in Jesus Christ, Who died, descended to the depths of hell, and rose again to defeat sin, death and the power of the devil.
Before He left us, He made another promise: that we will never be alone. Jesus said: “I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” This is the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth”who will “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all I have told you” (John 14:16, 27). Godly teaching and remembrance of Jesus’ word—surely these are what daily Bible reading provides to us. Praise God!
Friends, this is not a story; it is the truth. It is found in our Bible, and all we have to do is read it. And then mark it, share it, teach it—and above all believe it. Take it to heart and share the great gift of salvation, God’s grace and God’s undeserved love for all the human race. Can I hear an amen?
Mike Bieber was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Bruno, Saskatchewan. He served his Lord at both Zion Lutheran and St. John’s Lutheran Church in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Mike and his bride Doris (nee Harvey) have been blessed with 66 years of Holy Marriage. In 2008 Mike and Doris moved to Saskatoon and transferred their membership to Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church.