More than five centuries ago, Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, revolutionized the way books were made by creating a system of movable type: Load tiny metal letters into a tray, ink the type, and press the tray of letters down onto a sheet of paper. For five hundred years, books changed very little: pages sandwiched between front and back covers. That was until electronic (digital) books became available. Not only would Gutenberg be dumbstruck at the sight of modern printing presses, he would be even more shocked at how books are distributed digitally. Today books and magazines are easy to store and access. You can take hundreds of books with you, stored in your digital reading device, and read them anytime, anywhere.
Reading was on the mind of Dr. Charles Eliot, president of Harvard University in the early 1900s. It was his opinion that one could get an excellent education by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that would fit on a five-foot-long shelf. A book publisher challenged him to make good on his idea by selecting the classic works of literature—and the Harvard Classics was born: a 51-volume anthology of the world’s greatest works of literature.
Reading 15 minutes per day to be exposed to some of the world’s greatest minds could be valuable. But how much more valuable might that 15 minutes per day be if we were exposed to the greatest mind in the universe, God Himself? What if we spent 15 minutes daily reading 66 books, all inspired by God, packaged in one volume that will fit on a two-inch-wide shelf (or digital reading device)?
That’s what we get when we read the Bible. The Harvard Classics may be valuable for exposing us to great minds that were seeking truth. But God’s Classics, the 66 books of the Bible, are indispensable. Jesus Christ didn’t say, “I am seeking the truth.” He said, “I am the truth!” (John 14:6)
The Greatest Book
Most folks are reading more today than they ever have. The question is not, “Are we reading?” but “What are we reading?” The Internet has become a magnet for the eyeballs of humanity—we can spend an hour reading the news, sports information, self-help advice, celebrity gossip, and even edifying content before we know it. Our reading time can slip away like sand in an hourglass before we’ve read a single word of The Truth—the book God gave us to guide us through this life.
What priority does Bible reading have in your daily reading schedule? The answer could be a matter of spiritual life or death. Why? Because the Bible is a living book. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful . . . a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
In all of creation, life begets life. It takes a living book to sustain a living, spiritual person. It takes a book written by the Spirit of God to connect with the spirit of man. It takes a book of absolute, unchanging truth to serve as a standard by which other so-called truths can be evaluated.
If you find yourself reading more, but growing less, perhaps you should ask whether God’s Word is getting the priority in your reading life.
Here are 10 reasons why we need to get into the Good Book:
•The Bible will reveal who you are (Hebrews 4:12) and who you need to become (2 Timothy 3:16).
•The Bible is the most trustworthy book on earth, written by God through human authors (2 Peter 1:20-21).
•The Bible will provide guidance for your daily life (Psalm 119:105).
•The Bible will keep you from sinning (Psalm 119:11).
•The Bible can create faith in your heart to meet a specific need (Romans 10:17).
•The Bible can lead us to salvation in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15).
•The Bible is a weapon against the lies of Satan (Ephesians 6:17).
•The Bible accomplishes the purposes for which it was given (Isaiah 55:11).
•The Bible’s truths will endure forever (Isaiah 40:8).
•The Bible’s truths are perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, and righteous (Psalm 19:7-9).
Make 2016 the year in which you read God’s Word more faithfully and consistently than you ever have before. This time next year, you’ll be glad you did.