The Word of God, the holy Scriptures, the Good News—the Bible. It is the best-selling book of all time, yet every year, it’s being read less and less.
In fact, in the 2022 State of the Bible Survey sponsored by the American Bible Society, there was found to be a ten percent drop in American adults surveyed that were reading the Bible from 2021 to 2022. That’s about 26 million American adults who either decreased their reading or stopped reading the Bible altogether.
When asked why they were putting their Bibles down, those surveyed often cited that they couldn’t find the time to read—an expected response in our fast-paced, overtime-driven society. But several others said they just didn’t know where to start.
So why does the Bible matter? How can we practically study it? What do we gain, if anything from the effort? Even as culture shifts and people grow increasingly distant from Scripture, we believe that the Bible is more relevant than ever, and has the power to transform and change people. Our mission is to give people a place to connect with Scripture and a good place to start.
6 Crucial Reasons to Study the Bible
If we want to grow in our relationship with God, then the Bible tells us we can’t ignore the spiritual food of God’s Word. As Jesus himself said, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) Here are five reasons why you should be turning through those pages:
- It is the written word of God. God has many things to say if we’re willing to listen, and His word is ‘useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’ so that we are fully equipped. (2 Timothy 3:16)
- It guards our hearts and minds. Faithfully reading the scriptures protects us from the teaching of false prophets. (2 Timothy 2:16-18)
- It gives discernment. Studying the Bible strengthens our discernment between what is right, and what is almost right (but still wrong). (Psalm 119:11)
- It gives wisdom. Reading the scriptures gives you the wisdom to accept Jesus Christ’s salvation through faith. (2 Timothy 3:15)
- It provides truth. When we are constantly studying the Word of God, we are receiving truth from the Source, thereby protecting us from wrongly interpreting the Scriptures. (John 16:13, 2 Timothy 2:15)
- It brings blessing. James 1:25 promises that when we look intently at the Word, study it continually, and remember its words, we will be blessed by it.
What Happens When We Neglect Bible Study?
Not surprisingly, when we neglect to open our Bible often (or at all), the effects counteract the many blessings we get from reading it.
As with anything we study, when the Word is not studied enough we remain biblically illiterate, infants. That infancy opens a gateway wide to the deception of false teachers, prophets, and even Satan himself. Instead of being grounded in the truth of the Gospel, we become vulnerable to those who would lead us astray.
We also remain “unskilled in the word of righteousness” because our spiritual ears are not attuned to hearing from God, and our “powers of discernment” remain untrained “by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:11-14).
Thankfully, God remains faithful to us. Let us then, with confidence, draw near! It’s time to get back into the Word!
How Do We Start Reading the Bible for the First Time?
This might not necessarily mean the first time, but it could also mean the first time in a long time. So how do we get started? And where?
As mentioned, many of the people surveyed said they didn’t read the Bible because they didn’t know where to start. Below, we’ve given you an example of a simple way to get started. This can be done in less than 20 minutes:
- Reach out to a friend and ask them to join you in regularly reading the Bible.
- Understand the purpose of studying the Bible: knowing God by meeting Him in His Word.
- Start with the Military Bible Challenge which will introduce you to each of the major sections of scripture.
- Look up the SOAP Bible Study Method which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer
- The Holy Spirit will start to speak to you through the Scriptures.
With the world at our fingertips through the internet, it is also easier than ever to join Bible study groups. On top of the Bible studies happening at your local church/chapel, these kinds of groups can also be found on social media, and web-based, Bible-based organizations.
If you live near a military installation, connect with one of these organizations:
- Cadence House International
- Officers Christian Fellowship
- CRU Military
- The Navigators
- Cadence House International
- Protestant Women of the Chapel
- Catholic Women of the Chapel
At ASM, we also provide resources to get you into the Word. The Warfighter’s Study Bible is a great tool to get you engaged in the Bible on a daily basis. We have also created Bible studies designed to make getting into God’s Word accessible, no matter what season of military life you might be in today.
Make Encountering God and Studying His Word a Daily Habit
Reach out to a pastor, a Chaplain, or another trusted friend for accountability and encouragement..
Pray that God would give you the desire to read, and the Holy Spirit to understand what you read. However you feel led to open the Bible, it is important to start.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:1-5