When it comes to what the Bible has to say for itself, the message is pretty clear: read me.
All Scripture is God-breathed. (2 Tim. 3:16)
Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture (1 Tim. 4:13)
Like newborn babies, you should long for the pure milk of God’s word. (1 Peter 2:2, NIRV)
Verses like these—and a long list of others—invite the people of God to read, study, and meditate on the Scriptures regularly. But, if we’re honest, there is an often-unspoken reality: sometimes it feels like we’re reading the Bible because we’re supposed to, and that’s not the greatest kind of motivation. In fact, a sense of pressure or obligation when it comes to studying the Scriptures can become a deterrent from engaging at all.
This can leave us in a bit of a conundrum. We have been told that reading God’s Word is part of a healthy spiritual life. But doing so with a posture of boredom or drudgery can make everything feel worse.
Rather than simply challenging ourselves to read regardless of our feelings, or giving up studying the Bible altogether, there’s a one-word question that can help us find a better way: why?
Why should we read the Bible? We know that part of the answer is as simple as it is serious: because God asks us to do so. So maybe the more nuanced question is: why does God tell us to read his Word?
The answers to that question are many and profound, revealing themselves everywhere from the Bible itself to modern research. When these reasons are taken into account together, they make a strong case for the fact that God’s call for his people to spend time in his Word is a remarkable act of love for his children.
Fullness of Joy
Women are stressed out in a big way. The Hologic Global Women’s Health Index reveals higher levels of stress and loneliness in women than men. Not only that, but in Deloitte’s International Women at Work study, women say that their stress levels are increasing year over year, leading to feelings of burnout. Women are also nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression, the Mayo Clinic reports.
Issues like stress, loneliness, and depression cannot be addressed with one simple fix. But research shows that reading the Bible regularly can counteract many of the negative emotions associated with such experiences.
People who are regularly engaged with Scripture report levels of flourishing that are 19 percent higher on the Human Flourishing Index than those who don’t read the Bible, which measures factors like happiness, mental health, and purpose. The ABS study also reported that Americans who are engaged with Scripture are at least 14 to 19 percent higher on the Hope Scale than others.
“Our research continues to confirm that consistent Bible reading leads to hope and greater flourishing,” said John Farquhar Plake, PhD, director of ministry intelligence for ABS. Plake noted that “the data validates that applying the truths of Scripture leads to better health, better relationships, and a higher sense of purpose and meaning—all while bringing us closer to God.”
The Bible itself testifies to these truths as well. The Gospel of John tells us that knowing the truth of Scripture will set us free. The Psalms declare that God’s Word will illuminate our paths, revive our souls, and make us wise.
Again, the research bears out these truths. The Center for Bible Engagement reports that people who engage Scripture four or more times per week are 30 percent less likely to struggle with loneliness. The effect on relationships doesn’t stop there, either. The same population is a staggering 228 percent more likely to share their faith with others, as well.
So, why should we read the Bible? Because it enriches our lives in tangible ways, just like God promised it would.
Dive Deeper into Scripture
From mental health improvements to stronger relationships, the word of the Lord truly does not return void (Isa. 55:11). But even with that knowledge, it can be challenging to know where to begin with reading the Bible on a regular basis. For over 80 years, Our Daily Bread has published trustworthy content designed to make the Scriptures accessible, understandable, and meaningful in the lives of readers.
To address current levels of stress, loneliness, and overwhelm, Our Daily Bread has curated a collection of resources that can help women receive the hope, wisdom, and joy to be found in the pages of Scripture.
For women who long to experience the transformative power of Scripture, Our Daily Bread has several resources designed specifically to increase time spent in the Bible. From devotionals centered on women in Scripture to in-depth Bible studies, the books on the Our Daily Bread shelf will help readers learn and grow.
For the woman who wants to:
Trade panic for peace
Embracing Joy: An 8-Week Transformational Bible Study of Habakkuk by Jean Wilund
Discover renewed vision for her life
Known by God: 40 Devotions and Insights on Women of the Bible by Our Daily Bread
Feel closer to God
Transforming Love: How Friendship with Jesus Changes Us by Amy Boucher Pye
Unleash her full potential
Journey to Freedom: Discovering the God of Deliverance, An Exodus Bible Study by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson
Dig deeper into Scripture
Journey Through Series by Our Daily Bread