Why You Should Read the Bible in 2023


It's that time of year: we're all thinking about the New Year and thinking about our goals. Whatever other plans you have for 2023, I want to encourage you to make Bible intake your top priority for the New Year. To that end, here are seven reasons why you should read the entire Bible at least once in 2023. 

1. Read the Bible because it reveals God. 

Psalm 19 is one of the classic texts about God's revelation to man. Verses 1-6 describe "general revelation" seen in nature. Verses 7-11 describe "special revelation" as learned through Scripture. 

Just take a look at these verses: 

            7       The law of the LORD is perfect, 
      reviving the soul; 
                  the testimony of the LORD is sure, 
      making wise the simple; 
            8       the precepts of the LORD are right, 
      rejoicing the heart; 
                  the commandment of the LORD is pure, 
      enlightening the eyes; 
            9       the fear of the LORD is clean, 
      enduring forever; 
                  the rules of the LORD are true, 
      and righteous altogether. 
            10       More to be desired are they than gold, 
      even much fine gold; 
                  sweeter also than honey 
      and drippings of the honeycomb.

Did you notice the repeated “of the LORD?” No matter what term is used to describe Scripture, don't lose sight of the fact that it is God's Word. It's from Him and about Him. He's both the Author and the Content, both the Source and the Subject of Scripture. The point of the Bible is to reveal God. 

Just as a window is designed to let in light, so the Bible is designed to let in glory. Just as a window is designed to look through, so the Bible is a window through which we see God. 

2. Read the Bible because it is absolute truth (19:7-9). 

According to various guesstimates, there are 156,264,880 unique books in the world today. All are flawed for all are human. God’s Word, by contrast, is “blameless,” "sure," "right," "pure," "clean," "true," and "righteous." 

The Bible's message is not going to be debunked by future studies. It never lies or errs. God's laws are just and absolutely righteous. It's a perfect standard by which to order our lives. 

Because the Bible is from God, it reflects and reveals His pure character. It reveals God’s pure holiness. As the Word of the eternal God, God’s truth endures to every generation and is relevant to all times and places. It stands the test of time. 

Back to our window analogy: the Bible's inerrant truthfulness means that there are no smudges on the glass. The Bible's perspicuity means that the window is clear, not opaque. 

3. Read the Bible because it refreshes the soul (19:7a). 

Our haggard souls and weary hearts need the refreshing water of the Word every single day. The truth is, not every day is great. In fact, many days are awful. We need to be restored. The Christian life is not just one massive party that keeps getting better and better. We face persecution, loss, depression, bereavement, failure, and sin. The Bible, according to this verse, restores and refreshes our souls. 

It is like a drink of cold water after mowing the grass on a hot day. It is like a good night's rest after a long day of hard work. The Bible refreshes our souls by calling us away from the chaos of the moment to consider the bliss of eternity. It takes our eyes off human flaws to see the Perfect One. It’s an oasis in a desert. It's an island of divine truth in a sea of human uncertainty. 

4. Read the Bible because it gives wisdom (19:7b). 

According to II Timothy 3:15, the "Holy Scriptures" make us "wise unto salvation." It is only through the Bible that we learn of our true condition, God's solution through Christ, and the necessary response of repentance and faith.

We need the whole Bible helps us grasp the whole problem and the whole solution. While it is gloriously true that a sinner can be saved with as little as John 3:16 or Romans 6:23, the more of Scripture's vista we can take in, the better we will appreciate all that God has done for us in Christ.    

5. Read the Bible because it brings joy (19:8a). 

The rightness of God's Word rejoices the heart of God's people. As John Piper notes in Desiring God, the Bible is the kindling for the fire of our joy in God. Bible is not a lifeless book of dead sayings; it is a life-giving, joy-creating, happiness-sustaining book.  

How does the Bible do this? It reminds us of God’s promises when we need them most. It leads us on the path of freedom from sin, guilt, and shame. It points us to our all-sufficient God. You can read the Bible without joy, but you can’t have joy without reading the Bible. Treasure your joy by treasuring the Bible. 

6. Read the Bible because it is practical (19:8b). 

The Bible is intensely practical. It enlightens our eyes, giving us insight for living. It gives us a vision for living life in two major ways, by issuing clear commands and establishing ultimate priorities. The Bible gives us explicit commands in so many areas. Commands take so much of the guesswork out of life.  

But what about those myriads of daily decisions that are not immediately "moral" and that aren't directly addressed by command or prohibition? The Bible's priorities give us a God-centered worldview, a set of "spectacles" through which we at the world. Your glasses, of course, do you no good if you leave them in the truck or refuse to wear them. So too with the Bible. 

7. Read the Bible because it grants a rich reward (19:10-11). 

The blessing of the Bible does not belong to those who merely read it like a student completing an assignment never to return to the subject again. It belongs to those who value the Bible above all else.  

The reward of Scripture belongs to those who delight in it. The analogy switches from gold to honey. Put your favorite food in here. Steak. Fried shrimp. Chocolate trinity ice cream. Roast lamb. You get the idea. We’re called over and over again to delight in the Bible in texts like  Psalm 1:2; 119:11,16, 97; Jeremiah 15:16; and John 15:11. 

We will only delight in Scripture if we have acquired the appetite for it by means of a new birth (see John 3). We grow in our delight of Scripture the more we indulge in Scripture. We love what we spend time on, and we spend time on what we love.  

Conclusion: Read the Bible because you can!

According to Crossway, it takes a total of 74 hours, 28 minutes to read the entire Bible. That’s just 12 minutes a day of reading to get through it in a year. Build in for distractions and some time to think, plan 30 minutes every day, and you’ll make it through the Bible in a year without any trouble.  

That's not hard. 

Contrary to many people's suspicions, God's Word is not some mystical codebook understood by only the enlightened few. Rather, it is an open book for God's people, given to us in normal language designed to be read and understood. 

Keep it in context, and take things at face value. Read it in a translation you understand and enjoy (the Bible does not require that you read only one translation). Read it regularly and daily. 

You won't regret it. 


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