Why is it so important?
2 Timothy 3:16-17(Modern King James Version MKJV) All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be perfected, thoroughly furnished to every good work.
First of all, because it is the Word of God. We call it the Bible and sometimes that sounds just like the title of any other book but it's NOT! It is the actual Word of the living God. His Word to us. And why did He give His Word to us? So that we could learn about Him, learn how to live a life that pleases Him and fulfill our purpose and existence. We were made to worship Him and if we don't worship Him, we will worship something else, anything else! And that leads to untold misery and an eternity in Hell. But if we accept His free gift of salavation and forgiveness, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, will come to live within us and empower us to do what God made us to do. And His Word can begin working in us to change us into the people God made us to be. I.e. we become more ourselves, who we were meant to be. We don't lose ourselves, we become more of what we were born to be so we become more ourselves. It is sin that messes us up and God can and wants to free us from that sin so that we can live freely and be who we really are. And there is NO sin that Jesus cannot forgive. If you think somehow you've sinned so badly that Jesus will never forgive you... then you have limited Jesus Christ. You have put Him in a box with borders as though He were limited!!! "Thus far and no further" says who!?! We are talking about the God who created the Universe, who spoke us into being, who breathed life into us, who arranges the stars in the sky and created Earth from nothing. How dare we limit God! No, there is NO sin that Jesus cannot and has not forgiven. So accept His forgiveness, accept His love, accept what He's done for you and live in freedom and grace!
God made sure through many miraculous machinations, that we would have His Word to read. And, here in America, we have the privilege of a free education so that we can READ His Word. And, in America, we have access to Bibles in every translation and Bible study aids available to us like never before in human history. Do you realize how privileged and blessed we are to have His Word, to have an education so that we can read His Word and to have access to Bibles and Bible study helps? There are churches every where too and we are allowed to go to church any time we want. There are so many people in this world who are illiterate and can't read the Bible. Or they aren't allowed to go to church. Or they don't have access to Bibles. Of course, God knows who will respond to His Word and to His gift of salvation so He makes sure that those who will accept Jesus Christ, hears the Word of God either through missionaries, gifts of Bibles, radio and TV preachers, etc. But, here in America, we have no excuse for not reading and knowing the Bible.
I currently have probably a dozen or more Bibles in my house. That's not counting all the Christian books I have. I really culled them out though and donated them to the Friends of the Library because I have access now to everything on the computer through ebooks and/or websites. All the study aids I need are free now. I use ESword.net for free Bible translations and Bible study reference books. There are many Internet sites that will help you study too. I really love reading a verse in multiple translations because it gives me different insights. For instance,
James 1:25 (King James Version KJV) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Jamess 1:25 (James Murdock New Testament) But every one that looketh upon the perfect law of liberty and abideth in it, is not a hearer of something to be forgotten, but a doer of the things; and he will be blessed in his work.
Jamess 1:25 (Young's Literal Translation YLT) and he who did look into the perfect law--that of liberty, and did continue there, this one--not a forgetful hearer becoming, but a doer of work--this one shall be happy in his doing.
James 1:25 (English Standard Version ESV) But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Jamess 1:25 (Easy To Read Version ERV) But when you look into God's perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God's blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard.
James 1:25 (Contemporary English Version CEV) But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don't just hear and forget.
As you can see, it's the same message but in slightly different words and can bring you a deeper understanding of God's meaning. We should read the Word continually; persevering; continue there; pay attention to it; never stop reading it; abiding in it (sit down and take residence in it). I.e. read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, think about it, talk about it, sing it, practice it, do it, write about it. All these are ways to learn it and get it implanted in our spirits. One of the ways to really get it is by doing what it says to do. Don't just listen or read it but actually do it. It's like a science class. If a teacher just reads the book outloud and doesn't allow the students to participate and experiment on their own, then they don't learn much. I had a teacher one time who literally wrote down her notes on the blackboard every morning. When we came into class our job was to re-write it word-for-word in our spiral notebooks. That was the only teaching she did. How much do you think we retained from her class? Very little. We were reading and writing it but we weren't verbalizing, we weren't participating, we weren't experimenting, we weren't memorizing, we weren't talking it out, etc.
So the first reason that I gave you to read the bible is because it's God's Word. He made sure it was written and He protected it down through the ages so that we could have it today. I won't go into details about how the Bible came into being or how it made it through the centuries. You can learn that on your own. I have so I know you can too. I encourage you to look at the history of the Bible.
But for today, we are looking at why it's so important to us. The second reason is that it is miraculously infused with power. It has a suspernatural ability to bring us life and blessing. God doesn't just hope we will read and memorize His Word but He has put a blessing into it so that it is a living Word that changes and blesses us. The Holy Spirit within us takes the Word that we read and applies it to our hearts, begins to renew our mind, but also supernaturally, miraculously blesses us and empowers us. If you know that taking a vitamin or a pill will keep you healthy, you will take it every day and never skip a day. So it is with reading the Bible. It will keep you spiritually healthy and bring blessing to your life. (And not just a quick verse, but really focusing on it, paying attention and devoting some thought to it. This is what we call doing our devotions.)
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (KJV) All the commandments which I command you this day shall you be careful to do, that you may live and multiply and go in and possess the land which Jehovah swore to your fathers. (2) And you shall remember all the way which Jehovah your God led you these forty years in the wilderness in order to humble you, to prove you, to know what is in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (3) And He humbled you and allowed you to hunger, and then He fed you with manna, which you did not know, neither did your fathers know it, so that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of Jehovah man shall live.
Deuteronomy 8:1-3 (ERV) "You must obey all the commands that I give you today, because then you will live and grow to become a great nation. You will get the land that the LORD promised to your ancestors. (2) And you must remember the entire trip that the LORD your God has led you through these 40 years in the desert. He was testing you. He wanted to make you humble. He wanted to know what is in your heart. He wanted to know if you would obey his commands. (3) He humbled you and let you be hungry. Then he fed you with manna--something you did not know about before. It was something your ancestors had never seen. Why did the Lord do this? Because he wanted you to know that it is not just bread that keeps people alive. People's lives depend on what the LORD says.
John 6:63 (Literal Translation of the Bible LITV) It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh does not profit, nothing! The Words which I speak to you are spirit and are life.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ERV) All Scripture is given by God. And all Scripture is useful for teaching and for showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching the right way to live. (17) ;Using the Scriptures, those who serve God will be prepared and will have everything they need to do every good work.
Should you vote for Candidate A or Candidate B? Educate yourself on the what these candidates stand for. Of course, they can and will lie but it's all you have to judge by so what does each candidate say on each subject? Compare their stated beliefs against the Bible.
Psalm 127:3-5 See, sons are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the body is his reward. (4) Like arrows in the hand of a man of war, are the children of the young. (5) Happy is the man who has a good store of them; he will not be put to shame, but his cause will be supported by them against his haters.
Ezekiel 16:20-21 (1965 Bible In Basic English BBE) And you took your sons and your daughters whom I had by you, offering even these to them to be their food. Was your loose behaviour so small a thing, (21) That you put my children to death and gave them up to go through the fire to them?
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (BBE) If in any of your towns in the land which the Lord your God is giving you, there is a poor man, one of your countrymen, do not let your heart be hard or your hand shut to him; (8) But let your hand be open to give him the use of whatever he is in need of.
Proverbs 28: 27 (KJV) He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
2 Thessalonians 3:8-9 (BBE) And we did not take food from any man for nothing, but were working hard night and day not to be a trouble to any of you: (9) Not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves an example to you, so that you might do the same.
Mattew 17:24-27 (BBE) And when they had come to Capernaum, those who took the Temple tax came to Peter and said, Does not your master make payment of the Temple tax? (25) He says, Yes. And when he came into the house, Jesus said to him, What is your opinion, Simon? from whom do the kings of the earth get payment or tax? from their sons or from other people? ;(26) And when he said, From other people, Jesus said to him, Then are the sons free. (27) But, so that we may not be a cause of trouble to them, go to the sea, and let down a hook, and take the first fish which comes up; and in his mouth you will see a bit of money: take that, and give it to them for me and you.
Mark 12:14-17 (BBE) And when they had come, they said to him, Master, we are certain that you are true, and have no fear of anyone: you have no respect for a man's position, but you are teaching the true way of God: Is it right to give taxes to Caesar or not? (15) Are we to give or not to give? But he, conscious of their false hearts, said to them, Why do you put me to the test? give me a penny, so that I may see it. (16) And they gave him one. And he said to them, Whose is this image and name on it? And they said to him, Caesar's. (17) And Jesus said to them, Give to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and to God the things which are God's. And they were full of wonder at him.
Romans 13:3-7 (BBE) For rulers are not a cause of fear to the good work but to the evil. If you would have no fear of the authority, do good and you will have praise; (4) For he is the servant of God to you for good. But if you do evil, have fear; for the sword is not in his hand for nothing: he is God's servant, making God's punishment come on the evil-doer. (5) So put yourselves under the authority, not for fear of wrath, but because you have the knowledge of what is right. (6) For the same reason, make payment of taxes; because the authority is God's servant, to take care of such things at all times. (7) Give to all what is their right: taxes to him whose they are, payment to him whose right it is, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour is to be given.
God’s example of taxation is flat, fair and equal. God’s work is to be supported by a divine tax on His people called the tithe. The word tithe means “a tenth,” thus 10%. Everyone of all ages and financial conditions are to give 10 percent to the Lord. This is a divine flat tax that is equal and fair to all. The tithe was to be used to support the tribe of Levi in their work for the Lord. Aaron was the first High Priest and the tribe of Levi was the tribe chosen by God to work in the Temple, be the priests and worship leaders, to make the sacrifices, etc.
Leviticus 27:30 (KJV) And all the tithe of the land, of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is Jehovah's. It is holy to Jehovah.
Leviticus 27:30 (CEV) Ten percent of everything you harvest is holy and belongs to me, whether it grows in your fields or on your fruit trees.
Numbers 18:25-30 (CEV) The LORD told Moses (26) to say to the Levites: When you receive from the people of Israel ten percent of their crops and newborn animals, you must offer a tenth of that to Me. (27) Just as the Israelites give me part of their grain and wine, you must set aside part of what you receive (28) as an offering to Me. That amount must then be given to Aaron (High Priest), (29) so the best of what you receive will be mine. (30) After you have dedicated the best parts to me, you can eat the rest, just as the Israelites eat part of their grain and wine after offering them to me.
Hebrews 7:7-10 (CEV) Everyone agrees that a person who gives a blessing is greater than the one who receives the blessing. (8) Priests are given a tenth of what people earn. But all priests die, except Melchizedek, and the Scriptures teach that he is alive. (9) Levi's descendants are now the ones who receive a tenth from people. We could even say that when Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth, Levi also gave him a tenth. &(10) This is because Levi was born later into the family of Abraham, who gave a tenth to Melchizedek.
The word equity in Scripture means “eveness, staightness, equality.” On the other hand iniquity means “injustice, wrongfulness.”
Micah 3:9-12, “Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity. They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us. Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of the forest.”
In one of the darkest days of Israel’s history, the prophet, Isaiah, says , Isaiah 59:14, “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
There should be balance, equity, fairness in taxation. Yes, we should pay our part, but our part should be a fair, equitable part. It is to be used correctly, not wasted or stolen in corruption.
These are just a few examples of subjects on party platforms and candidates plans. Once you know what they purport, you seek wisdom from the Bible. You read it, study it. Then you vote according to what you've learned in the Bible. Find it out for yourself! Don't rely on others to tell you how you should think. Read the Word for yourself! The same for all the important decisions you make.
The only way you will know God's thoughts on any matter is to pray and read His Word! It's so important and yet we treat it as though it were boring, an option that we prefer to ignore. If you can read the newspaper; can read the latest thriller novel; can watch hours of TV... then you have time to read the Bible. I'm not being any harder on you than I am on myself. I need this reminder every bit as much as every other human being.
Personally, I've made Bible study a priority each year. It's about my only New Year's Resolution any more, and that is to take at least one intensive Bible study each year (and this is in addition to my regular devotions). It can be in Sunday School, a Wednesday night class, or a separate Bible study as long as it is intense. Not a fellowship, feel good, inspirational-story kind of group but where the goal is Bible study first. There is a place for fellowship, a time for service and duty, a place for encouragement/edification/building each other up, and a time for worship and prayer. But there should also be a time and place for just reading and studying the Bible. We become unbalanced if we neglect any of these activities. We need to get together and get to know each other. We need to reach out and encourage each other, reminding each other of our hope. We need to reach out and serve and do our duties. There is such a need for time in worship and prayer. But we also must not neglect the reading and studying of God's Word. We need all these things.