Bible Reading: Duty or Joy?

Just a brief thought on the nature of Scripture. If Scripture is the Word of the Word – Christ's Word in which He reveals Himself and the Father to us – then it's much much more than a book about God. Rather than being simply a book that tells us about God, it's a book in which we meet with the Triune God. As we read the Bible (and as we hear it read and proclaimed), by the illumination of the Holy Spirit we see Christ who takes us to the Father. So the Triune God is at work to open our eyes and reveal Himself to us. He really does meet with us in His Word.

That means Bible reading (and sermon hearing) isn't our work, but God's. In other words, it's not our effort to read a certain amount each day that's the important factor, but God who is graciously at work as we read (and hear) to open our eyes to the beauty of His love.

We can so easily turn Bible reading into a work or a duty – something which places demands and burdens on us and which we end up feeling that our relationship with God depends on. But rather than a burdensome duty, if we see that Bible reading is about God's work, then we see how it becomes a joy. And so we read the Bible each day, not because we "have to", but because we "get to". We come to Scripture as a delight rather than a duty, because there we meet with Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us and there we see more and more of His great love and grace and so grow in our joy in Him.

And so, our approach to Scripture is rooted in who God is. If I look at Bible reading as a burdensome duty, then my focus is on me - it's what I do to impress God or stay in His good books. But if I look to Christ instead of looking to myself, then it becomes a joy - it's what Christ does to draw me to Himself and take me to the Father.