Dear Dr. Graham:
I gave my life to Jesus at our church’s high school retreat this summer. Everyone told me to start reading the Bible, and I tried, but I got discouraged and just gave up. Do I have to read the Bible?
Dear P.L.: Don’t look on the Bible as a bad-tasting medicine — think of it instead as a delightful food that God has given us to strengthen our souls! The Psalmist said, “Blessed is the one ... whose delight is in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 1:1-2).
You see, God wants you to grow in your faith — and one of the ways that happens is through reading God’s Word and letting its truth sink deeply into our hearts and minds. Through the Bible we learn how God wants us to live, and we learn too what He has done to save us. Most of all we discover who He is and what He wants to do in our lives. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
How can you make the Bible come alive? First, use a translation you can understand. Then start with one of the Gospels (I often suggest John), reading at least a paragraph or two every day. In addition, always ask God to show you what it tells you about Jesus and His love for us.
I’m thankful you’ve made your personal commitment to Christ; it’s the most important decision you will ever make. But don’t stand still in your faith. Instead, ask God to help you grow stronger every day, as you pray, and learn from God’s Word, and gain encouragement from other believers. God bless you.