The Real Purpose of Reading the Bible (And How You Might Have Missed It)

I have only known Marc less than a year. We live in the same part of the country, but have never met face-to-face. (Hoping to change that sometime soon.) But I love this guy. I love his heartbeat. I love his passion. In fact, we share the same passion.

Helping people live out their faith from a place of identity, rather than a place of morality.

So, let me ask you something: Why do you read the Bible?

Most of the time I ask that question (and I ask it a lot), I get answers like:

  • To know God’s will. 
  • To find comfort.
  • To know what I’m supposed to do. 
  • Because it is true. 
  • To know about God. 

These certainly aren’t bad answers, as much as they are incomplete ones. The answers above should stay on the list, to be sure. But sometimes – heck, even once – I’d like to some different answers.

Reading the Bible for a different reason.

Today's post by guest contributor Keith Ferrin
Special Contributor:Today’s post is by Keith Ferrin.Keith is an author, blogger, conference speaker, and Biblical storyteller. Everything he does stems from a desire to help people come to know that the living Word of God is a reality…not a phrase. You can connect with him on his blog,, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Just one time I’d like to hear someone say they read the Bible for one of these reasons:

  • To hang out with God. 
  • Because it’s fun. 
  • To be reminded of who I am. 

Shouldn’t those answers be on the list? After all, those are the relational answers. Too often, we settle for studying the Bible for purely informational reasons.

We leave out the relationship altogether.  We forget that the real reason for reading the Bible is to BE with God, not just to learn about Him. Reading the Bible should be primarily relational, not informational.

Is there information in there? Absolutely. But the way we take it in needs to be relational.  Let’s come at this from another angle. If you and I sat down for a cup of coffee for an hour, would we learn information about each other? Definitely.

Now, picture me walking into the coffee shop, introducing myself, pulling out a note pad, and across the top you notice I have written:  “46 Questions I need answered for John to be my friend.” 

I proceed to ask you about your family, job, likes, dislikes, hobbies, upcoming events, etc. Once I get my questions answered, I thank you for your time and head out the door.

What do you think? Would you meet me the next week if I asked you to coffee again? Not a chance.

Why? Because a relationship that’s just about learning information isn’t a relationship at all.

But don’t we do the same thing to God all the time? We grab our Bible, pen, and devotional book. Then we read the assigned passage for the day. Next we look at the questions we need to answer. Once the blanks are filled in – we must be done.

And sometimes I wonder if God is trying to get our attention, wondering if we realize that “getting through” our reading for the day was never His intent. It was never His idea that our time in the Word would be primarily informational. For Him, it’s always been about the relationship.

Reading the Bible can be fun?

I think God wants our time in the Word to be, dare I say, fun. I think he wants us to like it, not just learn from it. Do we learn? Yes. Is there correction? Yes. Comfort? Yes. Instruction? Yes.

But don’t we learn, accept correction, embrace His comfort, and receive His instruction much more fully in the context of relationship? Absolutely.

That is exactly why I have written my new book, 10 Tips for Liking the Bible (Because Believing It’s True Is Not Enough).

After reading this post and seeing the book’s title, you don’t need me to explain it. My intent was to write something immediately applicable with accessible tips for someone who is exploring this Jesus guy or who has been around church for decades.

I hope you like it. And I hope you like the Bible more after reading it. (After all, it’s a fantastic read!)

NOTE FROM MARC: Hey all, I’m so happy to be able to support Keith this week.  Not only is this a great post to share with you, but he’s got a bunch of free stuff he’s giving away that can be a great help to your journey.  If this book sounds like it’s for you, then pick it up during his launch week, April 18-24, and you’ll get his 10 free bonuses. You can find out more here.

10 thoughts on “The Real Purpose of Reading the Bible (And How You Might Have Missed It)

  1. Keith, thanks for this great post. I grew up in a tradition that *definitely* taught the Bible as textbook above all else. It took me many years to stop underlining texts for the purpose of supporting my theology, and start just listening. I appreciate this so much.

    1. Thanks Marc! Honored that you’d invite me to share. Looking forward to sitting down over a long cup of coffee next time I’m in Portland. Can you say “Stumptown?” 🙂

  2. You are so right on!! When I first read Ezekial 16, I sobbed with relief. I saw that God truly knew me and had written that love letter to me. I take it personal. There are so many ways to “know”, in every (Biblical) nuaunce of that word, my Father. And the Bible has become like sifting through treasured love letters. Thank you, Keith and Marc, for your passion to lift the lid on that treasure!

  3. I find the bible to be very intimidating and the language often complicated. Also I think that fear that god my move ( which may sound weird) keeps me from jumping right in. Or that I’m not worthy enough…oh so many self inflicted obstacles. But the blog post helps to take it in smaller chunks.

    1. Hey Andrea! So glad you found your way over to my blog. Welcome. The internal obstacles make so much sense to me. I sure know how that feels.

      I think this is one of the places where we do the work of faith. Are the voices in our heart telling us the truth (unworthy! God’s not going to show up here! You’re not smart enough to make sense of this!), or is what God says about us in scripture the truth? (He will give us wisdom when we ask. He will teach us with the Holy Spirit! These things were written that we might have life and that our joy might be complete!) I think it’s an act of faith to tell the heart-voices to be quiet, and move forward trusting the unbelievable to be true.

      Hopefully I can be of some encouragement as you try this out!

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