One of my favorite authors and pastors from a previous generation is John Charles Ryle. He was a pastor in Liverpool, England back in the 1800s. Here are a few excerpts from a book entitled Practical Religion that I am presently reading. This chapter is simply entitled “Bible Reading.”
There is hardly any discipline more important to our faith then Bible reading. 2 Timothy 3:15 says that the Scriptures are ” to make us wise to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus.” Yet, one sweeping charge that can be brought against the church throughout the ages is it’s neglect and abuse of the Bible. We have Bibles by the thousands but to actually take time to read them is quite another thing. If you can hear for yourself, you should value the Bible highly, study it regularly, and thoroughly acquaint yourself with its contents.
Why read your Bible?
1. There is no book in existence written in such a manner as the Bible.
2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21 set forth profoundly the unique nature of this book.
2. There is no knowledge absolutely needful to a man’s salvation, except the knowledge of the things which are found in the Bible.
All the education a person’s head can receive will not save his soul from hell, unless he knows the truths of the Bible and believes the Gospel.
3. No book in existence contains such important matter as the Bible. It sets forth God’s grand plan of salvation and the way by which our sins can be forgiven. How precious are the promises which the Bible contains for the use of those who love the Lord. How blessed are the hopes which the Bible holds out to the believer in Jesus Christ. How striking is the light which the Bible throws upon the character of man (Heb. 4:12).
4. No book in existence has produced such wonderful effects on mankind as large as the Bible.
This is the book whose doctrines turn the world upside down in the days of the apostles. In a few generations they entirely changed the face of society by the doctrines of the Bible. They emptied the temples of heathen gods. They famished idolatry and left it high and dry like a stranded ship. They raised the character and position of women. They altered the standard of purity indecency. They put an end to many cruel and bloody customs, such as the gladiatorial fights.
The Bible is the book that turned Europe upside down in the days of the great Protestant Reformation.
This is the block on which the well-being of nations has always hinged and with which the best interest of every nation at this moment are inseparably bound up. See 2 Kings 22:8, Matthew 15:6.
This is the book to which the civilized world is indebted for many of its best and most praiseworthy institutions.
5. No book in existence can do so much for everyone who reads it rightly as the Bible.
It can show you the way that leads to heaven. It can show you the great giver of pardon, peace, and grace, the Lord Jesus Christ. From every part of the Bible, you can see the majesty, the beauty, and the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit is the grand instrument by which souls are first converted to God. The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit is the chief means by which men are built-up and established in their faith.
6. The Bible is the only rule by which all questions of doctrine and duty can be tried.
A man must make the Bible alone his rule. He must receive nothing and believe nothing, which is not according to the word. Make it a leading principle of your life never to act contrary to God’s word.
7. The Bible is the book which all true servants of God have always lived on and loved. For biblical examples of this, see Job 23:12 and Psalm 119:97.
8. The Bible is the only book which can comfort a man in the last hours of his life.
I have never seen anyone enjoy what I would call real solid calm reasonable peace on their deathbed who did not draw their peace from God’s word. The man who thinks to go to his deathbed without having the Bible for his comforter, his companion, and his friend, is one of the greatest mad man in the world.