“And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them. And on the second day were gathered together the chief of the fathers of all the people, the priests, and the Levites, unto Ezra the scribe, even to understand the words of the law. And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month:” (Nehemiah 8:12-14)
Sukkot, the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles is a biblical Jewish holiday that recalls the 40 years that the people of Israel sojourned in the desert. During this newly reestablished holiday of hastily built Sukka, booths or tabernacles, Nehemiah had Ezra read the Law. Remember that the Law included the historical books of Genesis, Exodus and Numbers as well as the historical law books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Nehemiah chose this time for a public aloud reading of the Law. It was important for the people of Israel to know and understand the Word of God, because they had been forced away from their religion and the Word of God for about 200 years while they were in captivity in the Assyrian and Babylonian empires. The Word of the Law was important then and just as important today. Jesus said, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18).
We must read and understand the full counsel of God, in other words the entire Bible. I just finished reading the New Testament for the 7th time and I’m about to start reading the Old testament for the 5th time. This is no great achievement, and I claim no glory for it, because it’s a necessity. I don’t have a photographic (eidetic) memory, so I must re-read the Bible over and over again, so I can keep it fresh in my mind.
I’m going to step back up on my soapbox and pontificate, folks. As Christians we must read the Bible at least once, if we have a photographic memory, but more often if we have an average memory. Think of it this way: if you call yourself a doctor of medicine, but never studied anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, etc. should anyone else consider you a doctor? Can you be a structural engineer if you’ve never studied about structures and their stresses and tolerances? Would you trust some random dude that professes to be a pilot, but has never even had a flight lesson? My point is, we must read the manual (Bible) if we profess to be a Christian, not because it is a requirement or necessary for salvation, but because it is important to our development as a Christian.
Just as you should know that your surgeon is very learned and skilled before he or she cuts into you, you should be very learned and knowledgeable about the information in the Word of God, so that you can share your faith with confidence and zeal. If you're blind or you don’t like to read, listen to the bible on tape or computer disc (cd). In today’s multi-media age, there is no good excuse for not reading or at least listening to the Bible.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)