The Bible is necessary for us to know, trust, and obey God.
You must somehow hear the Bible’s message—whether by reading it yourself or hearing someone else read or explain it—in order to become a Christian. “The sacred writings . . . are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17, NIV).
You must keep hearing the Bible’s message to grow as a Christian.
This means hearing it read and preached, reading it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, and applying it. A Christian needs the Bible like a human needs food and water. The need never goes away. That’s why Peter writes, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). That “pure spiritual milk” is “the living and abiding word of God,” “the good news” (1 Pet. 1:23–25). Can you say with Job, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food” (Job 23:12)?
The Bible is necessary for more than survival. It’s our only infallible guide to navigate life wisely because it reveals God’s will. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” the psalmist asked.
By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119:9–11)
How Should We Then Read?
Of course, our high view of Scripture won’t matter much if we don’t actually read the Bible. But, you may ask, how should we read this holy book? In one sense we should read the Bible like any other book. It consists of different styles of literature that express truth according to the intention of its authors. But we shouldn’t read the Bible merely like any other book because it is unique. There’s no other book like it.
Because the Bible stands over us, it requires reverence, submission, and obedience. Because it is completely truthful, it requires trust. Because its nature contrasts sharply with our finiteness and sinfulness, it requires humble reading that is always open to correction. And because it reveals God and his ways, it requires careful, prayerful reading that situates passages within its grand story of God’s creation, our fall, Christ’s redemption, and the universe’s consummation.
Rejoice with John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, that the Bible is a priceless book—a book like no other:
Precious Bible! What a treasure Does the Word of God afford! All I want for life or pleasure, Food and med’cine, shield and sword:
Let the world account me poor, Having this I need no more.
This article is adapted from Andy Naselli's chapter in Don't Call it a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day.
We need to read the Bible with it's grand mission in mind.
Stephen Nichols gives us some pointers on understanding the prophetic texts.