(Extracted, Adapted and Edited from Halley’s Bible Handbook Classic Edition)

Everybody ought to love the Bible. Everybody ought to read the Bible. Every-body. It is God’s Word. It holds the solution of life. It tells us about the Best Friend mankind ever had, the noblest, the kindest, truest man that ever trod this earth.

There is nothing in history, or in literature, that in any wise compares with the simple annals of the Man of Galilee, who spent days and nights ministering to the suffering, teaching them concerning the kingdom of heaven, dying for human sin, rising to life that shall never end, and promising eternal security and eternal happiness to all who will come to Him.

Most people wonder how things are going to stack up when their end shall come. We may laugh it off, or toss it aside, but THAT DAY WILL SURELY COME. And THEN WHAT? Well, it is the Bible that has the answer – a most unmistakable answer. There is a God. There is a Heaven. There is a Hell. There is a Saviour. There will be a Day of Judgement. Happy the man, who, in the days of his flesh, makes peace with the Christ of the Bible, and gets himself ready for the Final Take-Off.

How can any thoughtful person keep his heart from warming up to Christ, and to the Book that tells us about Him? Everybody ought to love the Bible. Everybody. EVERYBODY.

Yet widespread neglect of the Bible by churches and by church people is simply appalling. Oh, we talk about the Bible, and defend the Bible, and praise the Bible, and exalt the Bible. Yes indeed! However, some church members may seldom look into a Bible – indeed would be ashamed to be seen reading the Bible. Moreover, church leadership generally seems to be making no serious effort to get people to be Bible Readers.

We are intelligent about everything else in the world. Why not be intelligent about our faith? We read newspapers, magazine, novels, and all kinds of books, and surf the Internet by the hour. Yet some of us may not even know the names of the Bible books. Shame on us! Worse still, the pulpit, which could remedy the situation, seems, with rare exceptions, not to care.

The Bible is the Book we live by. Bible reading is the means by which we learn, and keep fresh in our minds, the teachings that mould out lives. We read the Bible frequently and regularly so that God’s thoughts may frequently and regularly become our thoughts; that our ways may be conformed to God’s ways; so that we may be faithful witnesses here on this earth.

We may, indeed, absorb Christian truth, in some measure, by attending religious services, listening to sermons, Bible lessons, testimonies, and reading Christian literature. However, none of these things can possibly take the place of our reading for ourselves the BIBLE ITSELF, and grounding, for ourselves, our faith, hope and life, directly on God’s Word. God’s Word itself is the Sword of the Spirit for the redemption and perfection of the human soul. It is not enough to listen to others talk and preach about the Bible. We need to keep ourselves, every one of us, in direct touch with God’s Word. It is the power of God in our hearts.

Bible reading is a basic Christian habit. We do not mean that we should worship the Bible as a fetish; but we do worship the God and the Saviour of the Bible. It is because we love our God and our Saviour that we love the Book that is from Him and about Him. Nor do we mean that the habit of Bible reading is in itself a virtue, for it is possible to read the Bible without applying it to one’s own life, and there are those who read the Bible and yet are mean, crooked and rebellious. As a rule, Bible reading, if done right with humble dependence upon the Holy Spirit, is a habit out of which all Christian virtues grow, the most effective character-forming power known to men.

Our attitude toward the Bible is a sure indication of our attitude toward Christ. If we love a person, we love to read about him, do we not? If we could only bring ourselves to think of our Bible Reading as an act of devotion to Christ, we might be inclined to treat the matter less lightly. Well, now, the Bible, which is the Written Word, tells us about Christ, which is the Living Word. Is it possible to love Christ, and at the same time be complacently indifferent to His Word? IS IT POSSIBLE?

Now it is true that the Bible contains things that are hard to fully comprehend, things which are beyond the comprehension of even the most erudite. This is a reflection of the infinite wisdom of the Most High God, who is the author of the Bible. However, for all that, the main teachings of the Bible are unmistakeable, so plain that “wayfaring men, though fools, need nor err therein.” It is thus the duty and privilege of the Christian to be a student of the Bible, that he may rightly divide the Word of Truth.

How then should the Christian read and study the Bible?

Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Pin your faith on the Bible. It is God’s Word. It is the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme. It will never let you down. Trust in its teachings, and you will find eternal joy.

Read the Bible humbly, devotionally and thoughtfully. In Bible reading, we need to watch ourselves very closely, lest our thoughts wander, and our reading become perfunctory and meaningless. We must determine resolutely to keep our minds one what we are reading, doing our best to form an intelligent conception of it, and being on the lookout for lessons for ourselves.

Habitual, systematic Reading is of great profit. Unless we have some sort of system to follow, and hold to it with resolute determination, the chances are that we will not read the Bible any too much. We need spiritual feeding just like how our fleshly body require its daily food.

A certain time each day, whatever our plan of reading, should be set aside for it. Otherwise, we are apt to neglect it. We should try to hold ourselves to it, but not be discouraged if now and then our routine is broken in by things beyond our control. On Sundays, we may do a good part of our Bible Reading, as it is the Lord’s Day, set aside for the Lord’s work.

Memorise the Names of the Bible Books. The Bible is composed of 66 books. Each of these books has a theme. The starting point for any sort of intelligent conception of the Bible is, first of all, to know what these books are, and the order in which they are arranged, and, in a general way, what each one is about.

Our plan of reading should cover the whole Bible, for it is all God’s Word. The whole Bible tells us about Christ. The Old Testament paves the way for His First Coming. The Four Gospels describes His earthly life. The Epistles explains His Teachings and Doctrines. In Revelation, we see His triumph and victory.

However, some may remark that they are not able to find the time to read the Bible. Well, it is important enough to take time. If we are Christians, and Christ is our all in all, why not take our religion seriously? Why play at it? Let us not fool our-selves. We CAN find time for the things we WANT to find time for.

We end with the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:97 – “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” Let us therefore be in the habit of reading the Bible.