Every time I sit down and crack open my Bible I immediately remember 145 other things I’d rather be doing.
The other day I sat down on my couch to read the Book of Daniel, and as soon as I sat, I thought “you know what I would rather do right now? Laundry.”
Am I the only one who tries their best to enjoy reading the Bible, but just can’t? Let me be clear, I don’t hate the Bible. I hate reading it. The fault is on me.
And while there are seasons where you enjoy Scripture and love being present in God’s word, let’s briefly discuss the days when you just can’t.
I am a firm believer in the authority of Scripture. I love Scripture. If you are going to make a claim about faith by quoting Scripture, I believe you should know its context in history and biblical literature. Scripture is important. Crucial. Lovely. Life giving. Incredibly boring.
But why? If we were designed to enjoy God’s presence, why do we not always enjoy His Word?
The first step in getting back into enjoying our Bible reading is to pinpoint why we may not look forward to it to begin with. And for me, I have found two culprits for my loathing of “quiet time” with my Bible.
I’ve been here before.
Because I am following a one-year plan that I have gone through numerous times, I often find myself anticipating what is happening next. I already know what happens to Tamar, so the shock factor is significantly diminished. Imagine reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone every year. The first time it’s amazing. The second time it’s nostalgic. The third time, you could rewrite the book. The fourth time, you skim in between naps and bites of Trader Joe’s JoJo’s. You’re over it.
Because I’m spending so much time anticipating the future of the story, I am not listening to what God is saying to me in my present reading. A lot of people who grew up in the Church may resonate with this. You grew up hearing the story of David over and over. What else could it offer? Try reading smaller passages at a slower rate and ask God to speak to you in new ways. As you read, be more attentive to the present. What is going on right now in the story? Take note of any new details you’d never heard before. Ask yourself, “How can this passage relate to me and my season today?” The Bible is thousands of years old and its still saying new things every day. We just have to listen for them.
I don’t need this.
One of my biggest weaknesses is thinking I don’t need to hear from God. I go to seminary; I only swear when someone doesn’t use their blinker, and I go to church. I’m good. What could Scripture possibly need to tell me? One of the biggest reasons I don’t like reading my Bible is because I don’t want to hear from God. I said it. I don’t want to hear what He’s calling me to do or change. I want to stay in my current state of mind and lifestyle. But I know as soon as I open that book, I will be convicted.
I think a lot of us feel this way and are too ashamed or prideful to say it. Reading the Bible intentionally takes work and dedication. Reading Scripture is only enjoyable if we are open to the changes it calls us to make. Try writing down why you’ve chosen to read your Bible today before you begin reading. Verbally or literally transcribe why you have made the intention to read God’s word. Ask God to speak into specific areas of your life through this reading. Say why you need His Word today. This way you go into your reading expectant for God to move and perhaps a little more excited to move with Him knowing it can only lead to goodness.
I don’t have the time.
Many of us say we just can’t find the time to read Scripture. But what we are really saying is “I don’t need Scripture.” If we need something, we make time for it. We even make time for the things we don’t need. And when we feel like reading Scripture is cutting into our tight schedules, we tend to resist it. We see Bible reading as a threat to our schedule.
Ask yourself, would God call you to a life so busy that you don’t have time to read His Word? Do you see Bible reading as a time-consuming task rather than a life giving habit? Try starting small. Read smaller passages everyday or every other day. And as you get in the habit of reading Scripture again, you may be surprised at the influence even the smallest passages can have on your daily life.