… Or more accurately – Here are five motivations that are less than optimal if they are your primary reason for reading God’s Word.

1. Looking for ways that you are better than others.
The Apostle Paul has several lists of bad behaviors in his epistles. Any human can look at those lists and say, “Well, I don’t do that, or that, or that” and “But I know my neighbor Bill does that, and that and that”. If the outcome of this reading is, “Wow, I’m pretty good. No need to change!” then you’re not reading it as the Holy Spirit wants you to. And I’m pretty sure Paul would not be pleased either.

2. Looking for ammunition for your theological debate.
Theological correctness is important. Using God’s word to define and clarify your theology is important. But if you are continually using your time in the Word to look for proof that you are right, you are not being God focused, you’re being people-focused (the people, in this case, being your theological enemy).

3. Thinking reading the Bible will save you.
“Well, I read my chapter for the day. That’s what good Christians do. This means I’m acceptable in God’s eyes. Now on to real life.”

No.

4. Looking for errors.
This has already been done. And if you consider the errors one by one, with an unhateful eye, you’ll see that these errors are based on and sourced by biases, fears and personal predilections. And a strong hope that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist. I suggest you consider the idea that the Bible is true and ask yourself, what is the real reason you want the Bible to be negligible? And, what would you have to do if the Bible is really God’s word?

5. Trying to impress people.
“Well, I read my chapter for the day. If I keep it up for another three weeks, I can casually mention this in my small group, or to my Pastor, or on my blog.

Again, No. Generally speaking, “then they will like me” is a bad reason to do anything. And again, this is people-focused.

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Now, make no mistake, reading the Bible for bad reasons is better than not reading it all. Here’s a rule of mine: “If it’s a good activity, don’t stop doing it because you’re afraid you’re doing it for wrong reasons.”*

So, please don’t stop reading the Bible every day (if you aren’t reading it every day, then you should start) because of your less-than-perfect motivations. A great deal of good has happened as a result of people reading the Bible for bad reasons.

But do, with the help of the Holy Spirit and through prayer, start reading the Bible for better reasons.

And what are the better reasons?

This fall, for the ninth time, I’ll be leading a Wednesday night class of kindergarteners and first graders, and it uses a curriculum that teaches kids about the Bible. The description of this curriculum begins this way: “God, who is the most valuable Being in all the universe, reveals Himself with clarity and authority through His Word.”

And one of the first lessons is this – the Most Important Person in each story in the Bible is God.

So do read the Bible to learn about –
1. God,
2. His Gospel,
3. His will for you, and
5. What He says are the important eternal realities of the universe.

And while you shouldn’t read God’s word to attain salvation, you should read it because it’s His will for you to do so. It pleases God when you do His will.

And pleasing God is always a good motivation.

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