Have you ever subscribed to a reading plan on your Bible app and not finished it?
Do you ever get frustrated reading the Old Testament and end up putting your Bible down?
Do you skip Leviticus every year?
Does the thought of reading the entire Bible overwhelm you?
Do you find yourself not wanting to read at all?
If you’re like me, you might be a little discouraged after answering those questions. But don’t quit reading; it’s about to get better. I want to answer two general questions; why do we struggle with reading the Bible, and what can you do about it.
I have subscribed to several plans on my Bible app and have probably finished three. I always just said maybe it’s that I’m not big on technology when it comes to Bible reading and study. I’m sure you have been in conversations like I have where something like the following has been said. “I just can’t find the time to read the Bible,” “It’s boring,” “I don’t understand it,” and probably many other reasons as to why many of us don’t read our Bibles.
Pastors have preached series on how to study the Bible and getting the most out of reading your Bible. In addition, a plethora of books, articles, and blog posts have been written to discuss the topic. I’m not saying anything groundbreaking today, but I do want to ask a question many of us don’t want to ask ourselves, Why do I struggle with reading the Bible?
Many would say they don’t have time, but the reality is all of us make time for things we don’t have time for; we’re all experts at rearranging our schedules. There are parts of the Bible we will never fully understand this side of heaven, and there are other details we can know with a little more time put in.
Maybe the foundational issue with the struggle to read the Bible isn’t about a lack of time or not understanding the text. What if it’s as simple as we never trained ourselves? Think about this, depending on when you became a Christian, you may have years of established routine behind you. Bible reading isn’t part of that routine, and when you’re first trying to fit it in, you’re probably going to miss some days. Chances are, when that happened, you got discouraged and started to feel guilty as time went on; the habit of reading the Bible never took hold.
You may be thinking, duh, everyone knows you have to develop the habit. But unfortunately, most of us don’t take the time to develop the practice, and that’s what the rest of this post is addressing. I know many people start with the Gospel of John or jump into reading the Bible in a year, but I think one of the most helpful ways to understand the Bible is by going through the book 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders. Spending fifteen minutes every day going through this workbook will give you an overview of the Bible. Then, having a good overview of the Bible will help you take the next step of reading the Bible in a year.
Now, in reading through the Bible in a year, I encourage you to use a physical Bible that you can write in and take notes, maybe even leave your phone in the other room to help you focus on your reading.
It’s also helpful to use multiple translations such as the Christian Standard Bible, English Standard Version, and New Living Translation (for devotional reading and clarity).
After you have done the 30-day overview and read through the Bible in a year, I suggest studying through the New Testament one book at a time. This takes about three years and a couple of months. The idea is to spend a month in each book (splitting larger books equally over several months) to help you go deeper into understanding Jesus and the Christian life.
As simple as it sounds, developing a pattern of Bible reading is the key. Set aside a specific time each day and stick with it. Take thirty days, go through the workbook, read through the Bible in a year, and deep dive into the New Testament for three years. I know that sounds like a lot; just take it one day at a time. I hope this has helped encourage you to develop a daily habit of reading the Bible and that the suggestions given will be helpful in your walk with the Lord.