Most Christians want to read their Bible more.
I mean, who wouldn’t right? It’s God breathed, the very own inspired word of God. However, some of us can’t even commit to cracking it open for five minutes a day.
Well, you are not alone.
In the Everyday Matters Bible Studies for Women: Bible Studies and Meditation, the author discusses in chapter one the same struggles we all face.
She states, “Week after week, home group and church stirred up in me afresh the desire to get back into God’s book—to hear his voice, to have him speak to me again, into my life. But then I’d get back home and… watch TV. Surf the internet. Nap. Cook. Clean. Do anything but open the Bible and read,” (page 6).
I find this scene far too familiar in my own life as well. When this new year started, I also found myself moved to dive into the Bible every day. I was really motivated and excited to spend more one-on-one time with God.
But, there were YouTube videos… Facebook had new memes and messages from friends. New emails entered my inbox. New episodes of my favorite show popped up in my notifications. Video after video, meme after meme, email after email… Before I knew it, hours of my time had flown by and I hadn’t even touched my Bible.
Why is it so hard to just read the Bible?
The author in today’s Bible study gives us three possible reasons:
1.) We have no desire to do it—or that desire is misplaced somewhere else.
She writes, “Our heart — our treasure — is in the wrong place… Ask yourself: would you rather spend time in front of a mirror or spend time in front of a Gospel? Would you rather spend time hanging out with friends or spend time hanging out with your Creator?”
It’s true. I remember Pastor Francis Chan once said in a sermon, “If you were surrounded with all of your loved ones for eternity, but God was not there, would you still be happy?”
I feel like that question stings the same way. Which one matters more? The things of this world? Ourselves? Even our loved ones? That’s a real struggle we must acknowledge.
2.) We are too distracted.
The book continues, “We are so distracted by the unimportant that we don’t devote time to the truly important… How much time is consumed by social media, online movies, DVDs, cell phone games, online shopping, real-life shopping, junk food consumption, beauty treatments, temper tantrums, and gossip?”
Yikes. The answer to that is simple: too much. We spend SO much time on other things that we end up not having enough time for what truly matters.
It’s good to lock away our phones and turn off our TV’s once in a while. It may be hard, but we must fight temptation with all that we’ve got.
Psalm 119:37 goes on to say, “Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word.”
It’s not that any of those things are inherently bad (except temper tantrums and gossip of course), but all of those things have the potential of becoming idols when they are prioritized over God’s Word.
3.) We are afraid of what God might be saying in it.
The author concludes, “We don’t want to know we’re a mess. We want to hold onto our sin.”
No one naturally wants to be humbled and convicted. We want to stay justified in our own ways—where it’s comfortable, where we don’t have to change. We like things the way they are, even though they are so toxic for us. It’s so sad but it is so true.
So, those are just a few of the reasons why people don’t read the Bible– if you didn’t think that was enough, I compiled a few of my own reasons to add to the list:
1.) We feel weird about some stuff in the Bible.
I was reading the story of Judah and Tamar recently, (Genesis 38). If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s the story where Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute to sleep with her father-in-law (Judah.) Talk about disgusting, right? This one definitely made me feel weird.
2.) We find it hard to apply.
I hate to say this, but some stuff from the Bible is straight up DIFFICULT to apply. Like, what am I supposed to do after reading that Judah and Tamar story? Laugh? Cry? I don’t know… I want to read something refreshing, not a story about death, lies, and prostitutes.
3.) We sometimes find it boring.
Again, it pains me to say this but the word of God can oftentimes seem really boring. Especially if you compare it to binge watching the newest drama or scrolling through internet memes. Sometimes, I just want to laugh and watch something without trying so hard to focus.
OKAY , okay. Enough about the things that keep us from reading the Bible.
Despite all those struggles, here’s the point: The Bible is worth it.
The Bible is worth reading, worth studying, and worth your time.
1.) Yes, the Bible can be weird and disturbing. But so is life.
We can’t just avoid messy things in life.
I understand why most people would want to, I too am the type of person who would prefer to avoid all of the heartbreaking news that is on the radio and TV at all costs.
However, we cannot run from the reality that it exists. One of the great things about the Bible is that it is not your average picket fence American dream “everything is perfect” book. There’s a ton of messy stuff in there—affairs, death, lying, stealing, prostitution… It’s messed up. There is no escaping it. But that’s why God is our redeemer and our savior. Sin is real but so is God.
2.) You can always learn how to apply things when you ask the Holy Spirit.
Remember that struggle I mentioned earlier, in reading the story of Judah and Tamar? (Read Genesis 38 to follow along and understand the context.)
If we study the story a bit more closely, we can find ways to apply the meaning of the story to our own lives.
Take for example the hypocrisy of Judah. He was ready to burn Tamar for practicing prostitution, when he himself slept with a prostitute (which ironically was her.) This hypocrisy demonstrates the reality of how quick we all are to point out someone else’s sin– when we ourselves do the same.
It also teaches us the importance of keeping our word. If Judah had kept his word towards Tamar, she would not have had to result in tricking him into having her offspring.
No one can deny that story is messed up, but our God redeems. We need to have the patience and humility to ask the Holy Spirit what we should learn from these stories. We need to allow God to work through us.
3.) Lastly, the Bible is only boring if we see it through the lens of the flesh.
The truth is, the Bible is only boring if we aren’t thinking in the mind of the Spirit. If we are in the flesh, the Bible is going to be only seen as a book of laws and a lot of ancient, weird stories.
However, when we see it through the lens of the Holy Spirit, we see something completely different. We see more than the stories. We see God’s sovereign hand, His love, and His character throughout every word. We see His faithfulness throughout the chaos and mess. We understand the heart of God more and begin to see through His lens, not man’s.
All in all, it’s easy to slink back into our undisciplined habits and binge watch a whole Netflix series again. But remember, there is grace upon grace. God understands and has mercy on us fallible beings. But we must not give up. Galatians 6:9 states, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” It will get easier the more we make it a habit to put God first.
“God, thank you for the Bible. I admit I don’t read it as often as I know I should. I’m sorry for the times I have neglected to read your words. God, where there is a lack of desire for your word, ignite in me a passion for you. Where there is distraction, help me to focus on you. And where there is fear, help me to come boldly to your throne of grace. Thank you for waiting for me there, always, waiting to speak to me. I commit myself to coming back to the Bible now, because I so want to come back to you– to find you, to hear from you.”
One step at a time, let us dive in God’s Word together.
You can find the Everyday Matters Bible Studies for Women: Bible Studies and Meditation booklet here:
Also available at christianbook.com and amazon.com!