What is the purpose of reading the Bible? Some people take a very practical view. They view the Scriptures as an instruction book for life and read it to find out how they should behave, what they should be doing, and what they need to stop doing. Others take a more intellectual view. They view the Scriptures as the definitive doctrinal handbook and read it to find out what they should believe, to nail down the correct theological framework and to gather ammunition for combating heresy.
Both uses of Scripture are valid, but if that is all we take from the Word of God, something has gone badly wrong. Surely the main purpose of coming to God’s Word is to encounter God himself. To get a glimpse of his glory that drives us to worship. Proper study of the Word always leads to praise and adoration. True theology leads to doxology. If we are left unmoved by our study of the Scriptures, we have missed the point entirely.
This is something that the author of Psalm 119 understood well. Not only did he write a very substantial song all about the glory of God as revealed in his Word, but he also shares his intention to go on singing about what he sees and discovers as he meditates on the Scriptures. For him, time spent in the Word is anything but a dry, academic exercise. The goal of reading the Bible is not to fill our notebooks with interesting observations, but to fill our hearts with such a love for God that we cannot help but overflow with songs of praise.
May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous. (Ps 119:171-172)