My wife and I have four children, with our oldest in college and youngest in elementary school.
Helping them develop their own walk with God is on our minds a lot. So are questions about why so many people are walking away from faith, and why parents often have a distant relationship with God.
I kept coming back to an answer that was so obvious that I almost missed it. But why?
The Bible is our only unchanging lifeline to our faith. Its words are the truest and most transferable expression of God. Only this book levels the playing field for anyone to approach God. In many ways, the words are the closest we can get to our Creator, and the only way faith transfers from one generation to the next.
The Bible text is alive. So why do we settle for being once-removed from the source?
People don’t read the Bible because they don’t like it. But people don’t like the Bible because they don’t read it.
Here are seven reasons we don’t read the Bible.
The Bible is optional.
After all, we have TV, internet and plenty of “wise” voices touting answers. The faith message has been oversimplified with trite expressions like, “Love God, love people.”
Why do I need to read that dusty book when I have a four-word synopsis?
Many church leaders don’t expect us to read the Bible.
I didn’t say leaders don’t want people to read the Bible, they don’t expect it.
How can we tell? Are you expected to bring your Bible to church? Are you expected to be biblically literate?
College professors expect their students to read the textbook outside of class. But many pastors don’t expect the same of their flocks.
We can google a Bible verse, or blog about a verse any time we want. So why read what’s around it?
One hundred million people have downloaded the YouVersion Bible app. I celebrate that fact. My question is, with accessibility to Scripture climbing by the day, why is faith and Bible engagement declining?
Since we can always google the Bible when we “need” it, we rarely read the book.
For some, even thinking about that leather-bound book triggers memories of personal failure. And who wants to be reminded of that?
The irony is, the Bible is the ultimate reminder of redemption, forgiveness and new life. Most of us have gotten burned out on “Bible study.” Too often, the reason we don’t read the book is that we’ve approached it with study, instead of reading the amazing story.
Without knowing the big picture, Scripture memory and deep-dive study is confusing. It’s like memorizing lines from a script, without having seen the entire film.
We’re embarrassed by the Bible.
The Bible can seem like our slightly odd cousin … good hearted but not someone you want to hang out with—or be seen with in public.
We love John 3:16 but wonder about the Old Testament and Revelation.
Sincere believers are often told, overtly and covertly, that they are not smart enough to truly understand the Bible.
Sounds like something Martin Luther railed against 500 years ago! He went on to translate a version of the Bible so more people could read it. Like others before and after, he was persecuted for giving such a “lofty” book to lowly people.
Today, some thought-leaders actually tell their followers that without the benefit of their education and “historical context” they can’t possibly understand the Bible.
So why try?
Paul predicted you wouldn’t read it.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. (2 Timothy 4:3)
OK, the Apostle Paul didn’t predict you wouldn’t read it. But he predicted many would find more entertaining alternatives.
One reason to read the Bible: faith restart
Moses instructed families to teach the law to their families every day. But he knew that everyone needs a fresh restart now and then.
That’s why he instructed the Israelites to read the entire book of the law to the entire congregation every seven years.
Did you know you can read the entire Bible in 60 days, investing just one hour a day?
This is not Bible study, it’s Bible reading. Power reading. An end-to-end reading will give you a surprisingly clear view of the big picture and your place in the story.