5 Common Excuses For Not Reading The Bible (And Why There Are No Excuses)
Reading the Bible is a discipline. There's no getting around it. As a culture, our brains have been wired for passive learning and easy short-term gratification. It is a struggle to wait for anything, to be patient for delayed gratification that comes from hard work and effort. Learning something requires commitment. It requires discipline. Yet so many of us neglect to have this attitude towards the Bible.
If you are a Christian woman who struggles to read the Bible, it is no small thing. Do not believe the lie that it is. But, there is abundant help and grace if you are in that place. Don't give up. The first step is to recognize what's holding you back from reading the Bible and studying it on your own. Let's walk through some of the more common excuses that women tell themselves.
I'm not a reader. You're never anything until your start. Any skill can be learned, and it's the same with reading. Adopting new habits and disciplines in your life is hard work, but it's worth it. It pays off big-time. Something that is difficult does not mean it is not worth your time and energy. Mothering is difficult. Putting yourself through college is difficult. But you do those things because it's an investment. Learning to read the Bible is investing in your own soul. It will spill out into your marriage, your family, your community, and the world.
If you never liked reading, that stinks. I empathize, but that doesn't release your from your responsibility as a Christian to know what the Bible has to say, not what someone else has to say about what the Bible says. Know it for yourself. Study it. Read it. Pray it. If you need accountability (and you probably do), ask someone to check in on you regularly.
It's not my area of gifting. This is similar to the previous excuse, just phrased a bit differently. Again, it does not release you from the duty of knowing God for yourself, and Scripture is the primary way that he has chosen to reveal who he is. Psalm 119 alone teaches that God's word guards us, stirs up hope, gives direction, convicts sin, heals us, delivers us, causes us to rejoice, gives life, and strengthens. It is essential to the life of a believer. If you don't feel it is your gifting, that's okay. You don't need to be gifted in teaching the Bible to read it and know what it says. God forbid the deep truths of the Bible are only understood by intellectuals, scholars, and trained theologians! It is for everyone.
I just don't understand it. Confusion can be a really hard thing to work through, but the only way to reach understanding is through perseverance. The only way to achieve Bible literacy is to just start reading, one verse at a time. Please don't give up if you have a hard time grasping what the Bible teaches. Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you into understanding. Be patient and relax, because you are in good company. Understanding will come with time if you just keep at it.
Luckily, here is a lot of help available if you are struggling through something in the Bible. Choose a modern translation like the ESV, and start with a study Bible. There are also very helpful commentaries and books available on specific topics. Just make sure they come from a trusted source/author who is sound in their doctrine. This is just another reason for knowing the Bible-it protects you from false teaching.
I don't have time. Then make time. Examine your life. What do you spend your time on? Is it Facebook? Pinterest? Netflix? Maybe you take on so much in your life that you are seriously exhausted. See what you can let go of and ask for the strength to do it. Control has been a huge thing for me to let go of, but it has given me so much more peace and rest. Because I'm not in control and I don't have to do it all on my own every day. I can leave the clothes in the laundry basket and the dishes on the counter if it means I'm making time to read the Bible. Moms-reading the Bible is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself and your family. Make it a priority.
I listen to sermons/podcasts/devotionals and that's enough for me. I have nothing against listening to sermons or a following a podcast. But if online resources or devotionals are taking the place of regular, personal Bible study, you will lack the spiritual depth of a mature Christian. Doing the hard work of digging through Scripture produces perseverance that you wouldn't have otherwise. Someone who has fought and struggled to get somewhere will appreciate that place all the more for the effort that she has put into getting there. It will be more beautiful to her, more lovely, and she will understand the history and culture of that place so much more for her efforts.
I have at one time or another made these excuses myself. There was a whole year and a half (not that long ago) where reading my Bible was like pulling teeth. It hurt. Physically. I hated opening my Bible because of the frustration of working through it and feeling like I was getting nothing out of it. And then, all of a sudden, it paid off. I know now what it means to persevere through long, dry seasons of feeling nothing at all when confronted by the truth of God's word.
Which brings me around to my last point.
If you only pick up the Bible when you feel like it, then it probably isn't getting read all that much. Our feelings will not sustain us in our quest for God's truth.
The first step towards regularly reading your Bible is discarding the excuses and recognizing them for what they are-a refusal to read the Word of God and build that discipline into your life. If you're not reading the Bible, it's because you've decided not to. We have been given amazing access to Scripture that is unprecedented in the history of the church, and there are no excuses.
We cannot spread the good news of Jesus Christ if we do not know it for ourselves. So let's decide right now to know. To be biblically literate. To have a defense for the hope that is in us. Let's be salt and light, grounded in the truth of God's word.