“How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart.” Psalm 119:1-2
We read the Bible for numerous reasons. Some of those reasons, however, are either misguided or selfish. For example, we may read a verse here and there to fulfill a sense of religious obligation or in pursuit of God’s blessing. Those approaches usually leaves us dissatisfied, frustrated, and spiritually weak. Why? Because our reason for reading the Bible affects our results.
It’s not a coincidence that the longest chapter in the Bible is about Scripture itself. In the 176 verses of Psalm 119, the psalmist explores his relationship with God and examines his life under the microscope of God’s Word. The first stanza spells out his purpose for knowing “the law of the Lord”—diligent obedience (v3-5). In other words, he had to know it in order to follow it.
American Christianity has developed a consumer mentality. Too often, we read the Bible looking for a specific answer to a specific need. We approach God as if He’s a genie in a magic lamp rather than our heavenly Father. The psalmist offers us some much needed guidance by describing Scripture as: statutes, precepts, decrees, commands, and righteous laws. These words imply the need for full and complete obedience.
We forget that all the promises and comfort in Scripture are found by seeking God Himself. The more we learn about who He is, the more we trust Him. Our hearts begin to overflow with gratitude and genuine worship; even when our most pressing questions seem to go unanswered. As a result, our foremost desire is to please Him. So, if reading the Bible makes us feel guilty or ashamed, the psalmist’s answer is simple—do what it says (v6)!
Read through the first eight verses of Psalm 119. Now ask yourself, “Why do I read the Bible?” Are you seeking a blessing or the Blesser? Are you open to the teaching and correction of the Holy Spirit? Your reason will affect your results. The benefits of reading God’s Word are far greater when we come with a teachable heart. When our purpose is to know the Lord intimately, we find that He is always enough.