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  • Writer's pictureTrace Pirtle

Why Should I Read The Bible?

Updated: Jan 31

Let's imagine we are sitting at your favorite coffee stop. One of our discussion questions is, "Why should I read the Bible?" Here is my informal response. What's yours?

The Bible is "the" Best-Selling Book (Non-Fiction)

I had always heard that the Bible is the best-selling book ever. So, I decided to check the Guinness Book of World Records to see if it's still the case for our discussion. According to Guinness, as of 2021, the Bible is the top-selling non-fiction book, with 5-7 billion copies sold. Isn't it interesting that Guinness classifies the Bible as "Non-Fiction"? Humm.

But just because you bought a Bible doesn't mean you are sold. I don't know about you, but I've had Bibles in my house since the 1970s but didn't read it from cover to cover until the "Pandemic" hit.

So why did I read countless textbooks and journal articles before reading the best-selling non-fiction book? For me, I just perceived other books as more meaningful and more relevant to my life. I would pick up a Bible, randomly open it to a page, and see what it said. You know, like opening a fortune cookie after sweet and sour chicken at Canton Suzie's Chinese Buffet. I was typically left amused but asked the question, "So what?"

So, simple popularity isn't a sufficient reason for me to read the Bible. Besides, according to Pew Research, only 35% of adults read Scripture more than once per week. There must be a more compelling reason for us to read it.

The Bible is God's "Love Story."

I agree that God loves us--you and me. However, I never fully resonated with the "Love Story" description of the Bible. First, if I tried to read from Genesis and beyond, it didn't take long to see that God would vaporize people who sin or violate His instructions. Consider this example:

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took their censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Leviticus 10:1-2

Yikes! And these guys were priests! I don't recall, but this may have been when I closed the Bible and didn't open it again for a year. I understand "tough love," but the guys needed to survive to learn the lesson! I was terrified. Sigmund Freud was easier to read and helped me "normalize" my sinful nature.

Thus, the Bible as God's Love Story did not compel me to dive deeply into the Word. Maybe it does for you?

The B.I.B.L.E: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

I don't know when I first heard the Bible described as "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth" (B.I.B.L.E), but it resonated with my analytical mind. God must have known that He would need to dummy His word down so I would see its relevance. It worked.

On January 16, 2022, I finally committed to reading the B.I.B.L.E from start to finish. No matter how boring, shocking, blood-curling, ridiculous, anachronistic, or distasteful it seemed, I would read every page. It took me a little over six months.

A funny thing happened when I finished. I actually "felt" a sense of accomplishment. It was like a Godly rite of passage that every "real" believer must endure! Who needs to climb Mt. Everest? Just read the B.I.B.L.E!

More importantly, from a practical standpoint, it made starting all over the next day back on page ONE easier. I had a base of knowledge. I had "the Big Picture" overview. I had a new sense of commitment to God's word. And it was exciting!

Why Should I Read the Bible? My Takeaways

  • The Bible is the best-selling nonfiction book of all time for a reason. It contains more than simple information; it is God's word. But reading the Bible because it's a best-seller is insufficient for most humans to stick with it past Deuteronomy. After reading it the first time, I realized it wasn't "MY WILL" that pushed me through. It was the Holy Spirit pulling me forward, page after page.

  • The Bible is God's Love Story, but we can't fully appreciate it without reading the full text. Also, I realized that God shows both His love and His wrath. This completes the whole picture for the reader. You sit back, ponder what you've read, and then realize, so THAT'S why God fried Nadad and Abihu the priests!

  • For analytically oriented or slow Bible learners (like me), the Bible can be described as "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth." The more I read the Bible, the more practical it becomes. And the more I read, the less it's me reading and the more God speaks to me. Incredible.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on "Why should I read the Bible." In my next post, I'd like to share my thoughts on "What is the Bible?" with you. After my third in-depth reading of the scriptures, I've come away with some insights that have deepened my walk with Christ. Hope to see you again soon!

God bless! I'm here if you need prayers or want to share in the Fellowship of the Unashamed.


About Me

Image of Dr. Trace Pirtle sitting on park bench identified as Jesus.

Greetings, I'm Trace!
I'm a retired counselor education professor who spent 35 years in the "helping professions." I'm a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a Missile Launch Officer with I.C.B.M's during the Cold War (1980's). Today, I'm an "all-in" believer working full-time for our Lord Jesus Christ. I've included my personal testimony if you are interested. 
May God bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

In His Service,

Trace Pirtle

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