There aren’t many books I reread or movies I rewatch. When I do revisit an old story, it’s because I enjoyed it so much previously that I want to rekindle those feelings when I first experienced it. I know the story beats, the action scenes, the dramatic moments, the classic speeches. I want to enjoy it all again. However, there are movies I love but I’ve seen them so many times that the magic is gone. The story is too familiar, so there is no element of surprise. I just don’t need to revisit them.
I started re-reading through the whole Bible again this year. It had been a couple years since I’d done it, since I’d been focusing on slower and smaller readings in my devotions. I started with Luke’s Gospel, reading about three pages a day. It didn’t take long before that feeling came creeping in: I’ve heard all this before. I know all these stories, what’s going to happen next. I have taught many of them. Why keep rereading the same stories, the same Psalms, the Exodus, David and Goliath, John the Baptist, the Cross and Resurrection, Paul’s letter to the Romans, etc.? It all seems so familiar. Do I really need to keep revisiting it when I’ve heard it all before?
Yes. It is very good and necessary to continue rereading the Scriptures, even if you’ve heard about them since childhood. Here are seven reasons to keep rereading Scripture.
1. To Put God in Your Thoughts Daily. One great danger for Christians is developing incorrect, unworthy thoughts of God. Another danger is to go about daily life with little thought of God. These dangers are connected. Daily reading Scripture is a defense against them both. Even if you know all the stories, parables, and commands, it is still worthwhile to daily bring your mind to the Word of God and let him speak. Put him first in your thoughts early in the morning with devotional reading, lest he be last in your thoughts the rest of the day.
2. To Remind Yourself. The Bible is a long book and a deep one. There is much you have forgotten or never noticed. But even in the sections that you know well, these are truths that need to be cherished, meditated, committed to memory, and returned to often. You have much to gain and nothing to lose by revisiting familiar passages in God’s word.
3. To Gain Fresh Understanding. Simply rereading Scripture is an exercise in humility. It is admitting that you still have much to learn from God’s Word, no matter how much you already know. With each new reading, we gain understanding we didn’t have before, catch what we missed in previous readings. It never ceases to amaze me how God teaches me new things from familiar texts.
4. To Gain Timely Applications. You may have heard it before, but it may have fresh application to your season of life now. There are Psalms that are much more meaningful in times of suffering. There are commands and promises concerning singleness and marriage, raising children and wrestling with barrenness, youth and old age, that hit us differently depending on when we encounter them.
5. To Shape Your Thinking According to the Word. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges us to be transformed in our thinking. Reading God’s Word shapes our minds and hearts in accordance with God’s Will. It is more than gathering information or facts or even daily encouragement. Reading daily (and again I recommend early) as a pattern of life transforms your mind so you develop a biblical worldview. It will help you view the world according to biblical categories and priorities.
6. To Fuel Your Worship, Prayers, and Mediation. Reading the Scriptures directs your attention towards God and increases your affection for him. It directs your heart toward what is worthy of praise and for what you ought to pray. Allow Scripture to direct your prayers.
7. To be Ready to Share with Others. What you read may not be new to you, but it may be new to others you encounter today. Or God may remind you of something in his Word that he intends for you to pass on to a brother or sister in need.
You may know all the stories and be familiar with all the teachings. But there are many reasons to immerse yourself in these stories. You may find that they become fresher and sweeter when revisited than they were when you first encountered them.