Reading the Bible for All of Life: The Important Work of Bible Literacy

Abstract: God’s grand story of redemption, revealed in the pages of Scripture, is an essential story to frame every individual believer’s story. To access the story and discover the self-revelation of God’s character, a believer will need to be biblically literate. Knowing how to read and study Scripture will aid believers in their growth. The Word of God examines the heart and mind of the reader, convicting, compelling, exhorting, and commanding. In this paper I will define Bible literacy, present the skills involved in accessing the truths of Scripture, and inspire you as to the great feast in store when we read the Bible well.

Keywords: Bible literacy, reading, proficiency, studying, transformation


The Bible tells one big story through a multitude of little stories. God’s Word has been given to us in the form of one book which contains 66 smaller books written by about 40 authors over approximately 1400 years. Most of us have countless Bibles in different translations sitting on our shelves. But when we open up one of those Bibles, do we know where to start? Do we know how to read and study it?
Literacy is defined as the ability to read or write, comprehending what one is reading at a basic level. Literacy can also refer to a breadth of knowledge in a particular area. It would be fair, then, to say that Bible literacy includes having access to the Scriptures in one’s own language and the skills needed to read the Bible well. Reading God’s Word thoroughly and thoughtfully are necessities in the journey of Bible literacy. We must read, engage with, and meditate on the whole of Scripture over time. The Bible was never intended to be read in fits and starts. Reading the book of Psalms countless times throughout our life is not Bible literacy; while we may gain a deep love of and comfort from the Psalms, we are missing the full picture of who God is. The Bible is God’s self-revelation and, consequently, reading it is the primary means by which we, as believers, come to know Him.

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