• Jonathan Parnell

Why Do We Read the Bible?

In the opening pages of his Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, Lloyd-Jones writes:


It is possible for us to read the Bible in such a mechanical manner that we derive no benefit from doing so. . . . It is a good thing to read the Bible daily but be quite profitless if we merely do so for the sake of being able to say we read the Bible daily. I am a great advocate of schemes of Bible reading, but we have to be careful that in our use of such schemes we are not content just to read a portion for the day and then rush off without thought and meditation. That can be quite profitless. Our approach to the Bible is something which is of vital importance (p. 6).

To be sure, our approach to reading the Bible is determined by our aim. So then what is our aim? Why do we read the Bible? Even if we go deeper in thought to meditate and memorize, to what end do we meditate and memorize?

Our aim in reading the Bible is to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. To settle for anything less than faith in the exalted Lord is to undermine the goal of Scripture and miss its central message. We do not read the Bible to learn “stuff about God,” nor to gain moral advice, nor to increase our literacy in religious dialogue. We want Christ!

Through all its diversity, the Bible really does tell one story—the glory of God’s grace in saving sinners through the death and resurrection of his Son, the Lord Jesus. We read primarily to understand that story a little more, and then a little more, and a then little more—until one day we are completely overcome by its wonder so much that we’ll sing in an even nobler, sweeter song his power to save.


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