Let us not read God’s Word for self-promotion, self-justification, or self-improvement. Rather, may we approach Scripture as those who love God and desire to know Him more, as those who desire transformation into the image of Christ, and as those who know that the Holy Spirit uses the Word to strengthen His people to endure to the end.
As a newly saved college student, I stumbled across Jeremiah 15:16 in my Bible reading:
Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.
This vivid depiction of the happiness that springs up in the heart from taking in God’s Word deeply resonated with my newfound faith and my newfound delight in reading the Bible.
God’s Word is precious to believers. Yet because of the indwelling sin that remains in us, we can be tempted to do good things for the wrong reasons. What then, should be our motives and goals when we come to God’s Word? I’d like to suggest three. As Jeremiah ate the words of the Lord, so too can we as we approach Scripture for the purposes of awe, transformation, and endurance.
An encounter with the God of the universe can’t help but produce awe and wonder in those to whom He reveals Himself. He is glorious and majestic, unlike anyone or anything else:
The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty . . . Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!” (Ps. 93:1, 4)
His greatness is unsearchable, and He is glorious, splendid, and majestic (see Ps. 145:3, 5). Holy Scripture is how we come to better know the God who has called us to Himself.
To be sure, our Bible reading won’t always evoke the degree of awe from us that is due Him. But through the work of the Holy Spirit, God can and does draw us into a deeper knowledge of Himself that results in true worship and greater love for Him. We marvel at His power and His wisdom (see Ps. 62:11; Rom. 16:27). We are comforted by His love and His sovereignty (see 1 John 3:1; Eph. 1:11). Therefore, one proper motivation for reading the Bible is to be drawn into a deeper knowledge of—and therefore deeper awe, appreciation, love, and gratitude for—its Author.