The Bible has undergone something of a revival in recent years. The Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson, drew global appeal with his lengthy YouTube commentaries on the book of Genesis. Fr. Mike Schmitz’s ‘Bible in a Year’ podcast maintained over 400,000 daily listeners throughout 2021. And recent studies show that a majority of Americans still believe in the God of the Bible.
All this suggests that people today, and especially young people, are searching for something more. We’re searching for meaning, for purpose, for adventure. Even more fundamentally, we’re looking for a story – a true story – which can help us make sense of why the world is the way it is, and where we stand in it. As a Catholic, I believe the Bible offers us that true story, so here are 5 reasons why you should read it daily.
5 Reasons To Read The Word Of God Daily
- The Word of God Teaches Us About Who We Are
In a world with so much physical and spiritual fatherlessness, many of us find ourselves confused today about who we are and what we’re here for. As the holy and inspired Word of God, the Bible helps us to answer the deepest longings of our hearts. It teaches us that we were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27), and He loves us so much that no matter what we do, we can never escape His presence (Ps. 139:9-10). The Word of God teaches us that our identity does not rest on our social status, family situation, wealth, physical health, or accomplishments. Rather, we are first and foremost defined by the Father’s love for us; He is the one who gives us our identity and reveals to us the meaning of our lives.
- The Word of God Challenges Us to Be More Radical
With so much corruption going on in the Church and in the world, it is easy to feel disheartened. At times we might start to wonder whether holiness is even possible, never mind desirable. A key lesson the Scriptures give us, however, is that not only is holiness possible, it is essential! In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us an invitation and a challenge: “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). The Greek word for ‘perfect’ in this context is teleios, which is related to the English word ‘teleological’, relating to a purpose or goal. In other words, in calling us to be perfect, Jesus is really challenging us to become fully who we are meant to be. Reading the Word of God every day helps us to understand what it means to be a more radical follower of Jesus Christ, and a more radical version of ourselves.
- The Word of God Contains Real Spiritual Power
The author of the letter to the Hebrews famously describes Sacred Scripture as “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12). Perhaps we struggle to believe this sometimes, especially when we’ve been going to Mass for years, and it feels like we’ve heard the same stories a thousand times before. But so often this familiarity-breeds-contempt-syndrome is symptomatic of a serious spiritual and intellectual laziness on our parts. The truth is the Word of God is living and active, and a whole lifetime of reading and study will only begin to scratch the surface of its incredible depth and power. Cultivating a habit of daily encounter with Scripture helps teach us this reality, and it reminds us that if we want to change our lives and even change the world, we need to begin by listening to what God has to say to us.
- The Word of God Offers An Antidote to the Chaos of the World
With so much confusion, despair, and division in today’s world, the Word of God offers an oasis of peace and joy which deep down we all crave. One of the awesome things about Sacred Scripture is that it most definitely does not sugarcoat reality. You only need look at the figure of Job in the Old Testament, or Calvary in the New, to see that this is the case. The Bible is a thoroughly human collection of books in the same way that Jesus is a thoroughly human man. The Bible enters into the messiness of the world, just as Christ takes on the messiness of humanity. But like Christ, the Bible also contains the divine within it, and that is what makes it so incredible. Reading the Word of God helps fill us with that uniquely Christian virtue of hope. Hope is both richer and less fleeting than optimism. Hope recognizes the journey may be arduous, but it knows the destination is worth the pain – and the Scriptures are there to teach us that.
- The Word of God Helps Us Encounter the Person of Christ
Daily encounter with the written Word of God helps us to better encounter the living Word of God – Jesus Christ – in our prayer and in the Eucharist. The twentieth century French Benedictine Dom Celestin Charlier once said that in our daily experience as Christians, the Eucharist is our life and the Sacred Scriptures are our light. We can’t afford to forego one or the other. By combining both, we open ourselves up to approach Jesus in new and exciting ways. Like any good friend, He wants to listen to our needs, but He also wants to respond to those needs by sharing His heart. Daily immersion in the Word of God is one essential doorway to that heart.
Looking For More Insight Into The Bible?
If you are looking to go deeper into the Scriptures this Lent, I recommend you check out my little book of Lenten reflections, Journey Through Lent: Daily Reflections on the Mass Readings, available at www.StPaulCenter.com. I also encourage you to check out Dr. John Bergsma’s World of the Lord: Cycle C, which contains excellent, in-depth commentary on the Sunday Mass readings for every day of this liturgical year.