"Why do people read the Bible?"

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I was going to try to write a page about the different reasons people are motivated to read The Bible. While doing some research I stumbled across this little poem from a late 1800's bible study guide called Bible Readings. (published about 1890?) Unfortunately I could not find the name of the original author. The little poem seems to sum up most of the reasons very nicely. Most of which still apply today.


It is one thing to read the Bible through,
Another thing to read to learn and do.
Some read it with design to learn to read,
But to the subject pay but little heed.
Some read it as their duty once a week,
But no instruction from the Bible seek ;
While others read it with but little care,
With no regard to how they read, nor where.
Some read it as a history, to know
How people lived a few thousand years ago.
Some read to bring themselves into repute,
By showing others how they can dispute ;
While others read because their neighbors do,
To see how long 'twill take to read it through.
Some read it for the wonders that are there,—
How David killed a lion and a bear ;
While others read it with uncommon care,
Hoping to find some contradictions there !
Some read as though it did not speak to them,
But to the people in Jerusalem.
One reads it as a book of mysteries,
And won't believe the very thing he sees.
One reads with father's specs upon his head,
And sees the thing just as his father said.
Some read to prove a pre-adopted creed,—
Hence understand but little that they read
For every passage in the book they bend,
To make it suit that all-important end !
Some people read, as I have often thought,
To teach the book instead of being taught,
And some there are who read it out of spite —
I fear there are but few who read it right.
So many people in these latter days,
Have read the Bible in so many ways
That few can tell which system is the best,
For every party contradicts the rest!
But read it prayerfully, and you will see,
Although men contradict, God's words agree.
For what the early Bible prophets wrote,
We find that Christ and his apostles quote :
So trust no creed that trembles to recall
What has been penned by one and verified by all.

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Updates: 2018
Page Last Updated: 9/1/2018