Nowhere in the Bible is the call made to read the Scriptures. Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with it. The regular reading of the Bible gives undoubted advantages. For example, it helps to familiarize yourself with the histories and the various texts. But the effect of reading the Bible is also that it raises many questions. Why is this history in the Bible? And what is the meaning of that story? Why this requirement? And how should this expression be understood? And so on, and so on. Even as Philip asked the senior official from Ethiopia, when he was reading from the scroll of Isaiah: "Do you understand what you read?" (Acts 8:30). To which he answered: How can I, except someone should guide me? That's right. If one merely reads the Bible, that will not lead to a greater understanding. On the contrary even.
However, the Scriptures should not be read, but studied. "SEARCH the Scriptures" (John 5:39), it is written. The Greek word for "search" is used six times in the N.T. Below is a list of the occurrences in the KJV:
John 5:39 Search the Scriptures…
John 7:52 Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
Rom. 8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts…
1Cor.2:10 … the Spirit searcheth all things…
1Pet.1:11 Searching what …
Rev.2:23 … that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts…
Searching goes much deeper than reading. It means verifying, checking, investigating it. With reading, one remains merely on the surface of things. But the treasures and riches are found by searching below the surface. Rightly so: study. Compare Scripture with Scripture. And then, what will be found? Jesus himself gave, in the confrontation with His fellow, orthodox people, this answer:
Search the Scriptures (…)
and those are
they which are testifying concerning ME,
and not willing are you to come to Me
that you may have LIFE.
What one finds in the Scriptures according to Jesus' own words is the Christ who gives life. The Scriptures testify of Israel's risen Messiah, Who also is the Saviour of the world. He has conquered death and will also, as God's and man's last enemy, abolish it. Each page in the Bible testifies to this!
Translation: Peter Feddema