Why Do I Struggle to Read the Bible Consistently?
- Kristen Terrette Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2018 16 Feb
Reading the Bible used to feel like a job, but my eagerness to read it consistently has grown tremendously in recent years, which had me analyzing why…
I grew up wanting to become many things including an archaeologist, author, news anchor, and teacher, but never a person in ministry. Therefore, going back to school 10 years ago for a degree in Theology took me by surprise, and to this day I look back on this time and am amazed by God’s creativity.
While reading a passage in the Old Testament one evening, I thought, “I wish I knew the background of what’s going on in this passage, or at the very least had some basic knowledge.”
And in an instant, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Go back to school to learn it.”
After much prayer and conviction, and when I finally registered for classes, I found myself in Old and New Testament classes which involved reading every book in the Bible--yes, reading every word--including a lot of big and unknown words (to me) which I had to look up… and historical data and chronologies… for months… And I’d asked for this! I received a wealth of information and was certainly enlightened about much of God’s Word, but it was strenuous to keep up with these readings, and I didn’t always enjoy them.
Why was this a struggle? I was preparing to go into ministry, so surely reading the Bible shouldn’t have presented a problem. And even if I hadn’t seen a future in ministry, in order to know Jesus, I must know His Word. So why wasn’t my love for Him enough to bring joy while studying the Bible?
I skip ahead to today, and I find myself drawn to lengthy passages, and noticing characteristics and words in verses I’ve read a hundred times and never noticed, or now see differently. I read a verse then continue on (and even look up background knowledge in my old textbooks or online). What has changed?
As I’ve contemplated this, I’ve identified three reasons my thirst to read God’s Word has grown. One, before, I viewed reading the Bible as a task. Two, I didn’t pray for God to birth this desire in my heart. And three, I didn’t carve out time in my daily agenda for it.
In other words, I saw Bible reading as a job or duty. When we view reading and learning the Bible as a chore, we won’t enjoy it. Who enjoys chores? It’s like lumping God’s Word in with the laundry or loading the dishwasher. I have two kids, and I know very well how much they hate the meager housework they’re asked to do each week. In fact, they come up with very creative ways, including claiming sickness, to get out of doing them altogether.
If we simply put reading the Bible on our to-do list, we run the risk of never feeling satisfied. This isn’t because of anything in the Bible itself, but because before we even begin, we’re trying to figure out the fastest way possible to finish. This isn’t how God wants us to grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him.
In addition to this, I committed to praying for God to give me a desire to read, learn, and love His Word. I long to be His faithful disciple, someone He can count on. I want to walk in His will daily and love Him so deeply that my appetite for Him can’t be satisfied. So, I began to pray for this very thing.
And He delivered.
His Word says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV)
I took this verse seriously. I asked through prayer for Him to help me seek Him through His Word, and He opened the way (my mind) for this to happen.
I saw an immediate change in my understanding of God’s Word and my cravings to keep on reading passage after passage. I continue to pray this daily and have started to pray this same change to happen in the lives of my loved ones. My spiritual growth and knowledge of Christ has increased through reading His Word, and I feel much closer to Him.
Finally, I established Scripture reading in a place of importance, its rightful position, on my daily agenda. My space with God and His Word must be intentional. For years, I’ve claimed I’d begin a stretching and core training mini-workout every day, meaning I would “find time” to add this in.
It’s never happened. Why? I haven’t given it an allotted time slot in my routine.
Reading and studying God’s Word must be deliberate and persistent, therefore making it a habit. The amazing thing is that it promises to satisfy your soul.
In Psalm 81, God says to His people Israel, and therefore Christ-followers today, that if they listen and follow Him, He will protect them, and they will “be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I [God] would satisfy you.” (Psalm 81: 13-16 NIV)
To prioritize God’s Word, I wake up early on the weekends and push back morning appointments until after I’ve spent time with Him. This means I turn down coffee with friends and resist scrolling through Facebook. It’s a sacrifice, but having decided to make this a part of my daily routine, I can assure you it’s worth every second.
I still have room for improvement, but I’ve had a breakthrough! I now view reading my Bible as a privilege, not a task. I ask God to give me a desire for His Word, and I keep this time precious and valued on my daily calendar. Once I made the proper adjustments, my understanding and relationship with God has matured exponentially. Let’s help each other thirst to read, learn, and love God’s Word!
Kristen Terrette has a Master's degree in Theological Studies and was on staff as a Children's Ministry Director for over five years. She cherishes her Southern roots and currently lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. With the support of her husband and two children, she stays at home writing Christian fiction, making up fantasy places and characters, allowing God to take the story where He needs it to go. She is on the women's leadership and teaching team at her church and writes for Wholly Loved ministry at www.WhollyLoved.com. To see her blog and current novels, check out her website at www.kristenterrette.com.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash.com
Kristen Terrette cherishes her Southern roots and lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. She served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years, and with the support of her husband and two children, she now stays home writing Christian fiction and non-fiction. She's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus. She also serves on the women's leadership team at her local church and writes for Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her novels and articles at www.kristenterrette.com.