I didn’t read the Bible because I feared God, but I did come to fear God once I read enough of the Bible to understand its message.
In other words, it was reading the Bible as an adult that gave me a reverence for God.
When I began reading the Bible in earnest, I was an agnostic in my late 20’s. My purpose was to read the Bible as literature and thus round out my education. Although I was a college graduate by that time, no part of my formal education had involved reading the Bible. In fact, I had read few classics of literature and thought that reading the Bible as literature was a necessary part of my “catch-up” work in becoming more “culturally literate.”
The period of time I had spent in formal education – first grade through my senior year in college – was 1957 to 1972. In retrospect, I’m struck by the fact that I had so little exposure to the Bible during that time period, and all the more so since this was all taking place in the American South: the Bible Belt!
In any case, it was reading the Bible without any expectation of “being converted” or “having been converted” that I soon became converted to its way of thinking. That is, reading the Bible established in me a reverence for God. (In this regard, see the verses cited below.)
The Scriptures have that sort of power because they were written by holy men of God. Though they wrote in antiquity, they speak to modernity, because that truths about which they wrote are timeless. And because these writings were inspired by God Himself, they can inculcate in us the appropriate fear of Him.
The following verses speak to the power of the Scriptures to evoke in us the proper attitude toward God. (All are taken from the NASB.)
Psalm 119:38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You.
Psalm 34:11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Isaiah 57:11 “Of whom were you worried and fearful
When you lied, and did not remember Me
Nor give Me a thought?
Was I not silent even for a long time
So you do not fear Me?