My life is crazy.
With five kids (ages 12, 10, 8, 7, and 5) my life does seem a little overwhelming. But I’m not one to compare…because I know you have your crazy too, right? Whether you have one kid (or no kids), life rarely slows down. Time flies and sometimes…we aren’t really having fun.
So, how do we make reading the Word of God a priority in our life, when life won’t slow down?
Twelve years ago I left my full-time teaching job to care for my children at home. Those early days were spent reheating coffee and playing with cars, but I was full of shame. I felt guilty for never reading my Bible. One Sunday morning I stepped out of church excited by the message. I held my Bible close to my chest and promised this week would be better.
Yet Monday morning, I was fixing breakfast while trying to keep my boys from fighting, and the day rushed by…with diapers, drama, and dishes. By Tuesday night I remembered my promise to God on Sunday and felt so behind and lost when it came to Bible reading.
I cycled through feelings of shame and guilt over being a Christian who rarely read my Bible. Then one day I decided to change. I stopped using the excuse that I was too busy to just read a few minutes a day in the Bible.
What’s the secret? You don’t have to love reading to love the Bible! There are other ways to “read” the Bible. You know the value of God’s Word, but you struggle with loving the Bible because it can be hard to read and understand. I get it.
Here are some of my favorite ways to read the Bible—even when you don’t really enjoy reading it:
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Yacobchuk
Devotional books are a great way to get started in the Bible. The authors take time to unpack scripture and explain it to you. The devotional books help keep you on track as well.
Begin Without Expectations
Don’t feel like you have to understand everything you read. Consider the words on the page as from the Lord (they are) and take them literally. Yes, there are various styles of literation in the Bible and ways to read. But when you are just beginning, it is okay to just read! Everyone starts somewhere, including me.
Reading without expectations means we just start…and trust God to lead us. There is no shame in beginning. Bible study is different than Bible reading, but I would rather help you develop a Bible reading habit rather than overwhelm you with expecting you to learn the ins and outs of studying the Bible.
You could spend your whole life just reading the Bible, never open a study book, and I think you would find God nearer, closer, and more available than if you never opened the Bible at all.
As You Develop the Habit, Expect God to Speak
There is beauty in coming to God’s word expecting to experience Him. It is not a book of rules. It’s His living words. No matter how many times you’ve read a verse, you can read it again today and see it with fresh eyes.
As you read, invite God to speak to your heart. If there is sin, expect Him to convict. If there is guilt, expect forgiveness. If there is weariness, expect strength. If there is fear, expect courage. If there is sorrow, expect comfort. If there is confusion, expect direction. If there is thirst, expect to be satisfied. If there is hunger, expect to be filled.
God’s Word is not meant to be read like a novel or “easy reading.” His word is deeper, richer, fuller, and more than we could ever imagine. Go to it and soak it up. No matter how long it’s been…begin today.
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Take God at His Word
What God says, He will do. What God says is true! Believe that His word will not return void. Just like us, people in the Bible doubted. Job doubted. Habakkuk doubted. Thomas doubted. The doubts will come when life is hard, but it doesn’t have to end there. We can go to God’s Word and choose not to believe the doubts.
Feelings can’t be trusted. So instead of leaning into what we feel, we can lean into what we know. Believing the Bible is the foundation of our faith in God.
Listen to God’s Word
I love listening to the audio version. This can be done on most Bible apps for your phone or computer. Here is a list of some great Bible apps for you to listen to—instead of reading.
Right now, I’m in the middle of an intense Bible reading plan. I have to read several chapters a day to keep up. This is where I like to listen to the Bible. Sometimes I’ll even follow along in my Bible while the person reads. It helps if I’m struggling to focus or there are a lot of words I don’t understand.
Three Truths for Why You Should Read the Bible
Why should you go to all of this trouble? The Bible isn’t just another book, it is vital to the Christian walk. Here are just three of many reasons to read your Bible:
1. The Bible was written for you. Don’t think the words on the pages were written for other Christians who are “more spiritual.” If you are a Christian, the Bible was written for you. Believe it and claim this word as a word just for you.
2. God wants you to understand. No, we cannot know everything about the Bible, but we can what needs to be known. The Bible might not make sense everywhere you read, but that doesn’t mean you give up. Keep going!
3. It will change your life. You can do this. It might be hard, it might be confusing, it might feel like effort, but it is worth it. Learning to read the Bible is worth it. You know this. I just wanted to remind you.
…the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times. – Psalm 12: