Theologian John Piper listed several circumstances in which failure to read the Bible becomes sinful for Christians.
"Diminishing Bible reading and meditation is becoming sinful when it is owing to a loss of desperation for what the Bible alone can give," he warned.
Piper, the former pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, was responding to a question asked on Ask Pastor John by someone who was concerned that his friends and other Christians, particularly in the West, are spending little to no time reading the Bible. "When does a lack of Bible reading become sin?"
The theologian explained, "Wherever diminishing Bible reading is owing to a loss of desperation for seeing God, trusting God, rejoicing in God, and holiness — as if those these things don't matter or can be found without the word — sin is taking hold."
He said that even those who read the Bible not due to faith, but because they are trying to win God's favor, are committing sin.
"Reading by faith means reading with a reliance on the great reality that in Christ God is one hundred percent for us. He will incline our hearts to his word (Psalm 119:36). He'll open our eyes (Psalm 119:18). He'll satisfy our souls (Psalm 90:14)," he explained.
"If we don't read by faith, we will be disillusioned. And if diminishing Bible reading is owing to that disillusionment, it is sin."
Not reading your Bible also becomes sinful "when the activities that replace it are not experienced as the fruit of it," Piper said, adding that it is right to stop reading the Bible in the morning and go to work "if your work is experienced as a fruit of what you saw of God and savored of God in the word."
God, he stressed, "designed the Bible as a tree that produces delicious fruit of living for the glory of God and the good of others." And when people stop reading the Bible, they should be "gladly experiencing its replacement as the fruit of it."