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What’s your excuse? “I’m too busy.” “It’s hard to understand.” “I don’t know what part to read.” “I just don’t like to read.” There are probably a million reasons why we don’t read God’s word for ourselves. I’d like to offer some simple ways to help you get started.
But before I do, let’s talk about some reasons you might want to read the bible in the first place.
Reasons to Spend Time in God’s Word
Do you want to grow in your faith?
Romans 10:17 tells us that
“…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the WORD about Christ.”
Spending time in God’s word will increase your faith. If you’re wondering why your faith is not growing – or is dwindling – maybe it’s because you’re not reading your bible.
Do you need guidance and direction?
Psalm 119:105 explains that
“Your WORD is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
You can find guidance and direction between the pages of your bible. How to deal with neighbors? Check. How to handle hardship? Check. How to forgive. Where to put your trust. Check. There’s so much in there. Spending regular time in the bible will give you great insight into living life.
Are you longing for spiritual nourishment?
Deuteronomy 8:3 points out that
“ …people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every WORD that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
God’s word – the bible – nourishes us. We can’t expect to flourish without it. Are you feeling spiritually weak? Craving something more? Maybe it’s time to feast on God’s word.
How are you taking in spiritual nourishment?
Many of us depend on someone else to read, study and understand, then tell us what the bible says. Like little birds, we sit with our mouths open chirping to be filled.
I’ve always loved the way Max Lucado explains it:
“You don’t let someone eat on your behalf, do you? You don’t say, ‘Chewing is such a bother. My jaws grow so tired, and the variety of tastes is so overwhelming. I’m going to hire someone to chew my food, and I’ll just swallow whatever he gives me.’ Would you do that? Yuck! Of course not! Certain things no one can do for you. And one of those is spending time with God. Listening to God is a firsthand experience… He invites you to feast at his table… And with a little training, your time with God can be the highlight of your day.” (Max Lucado, Just Like Jesus, p. 24)
Besides just being gross, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the flavor and the experience of eating something I love. I want to savor it for myself, and I feel the same way about savoring the goodness of God’s word. I hope you will too.
Do you recognize a counterfeit when you see it?
Before there were special pens to help us detect counterfeit money, the best way to recognize a fake was to be very familiar with the real thing. Handle it. Look at it. Smell it. Know it first hand.
So why do so many of us depend on second hand information when it comes to the bible? We depend on pastors, writers, teachers, bloggers, etc. to tell us what’s in the bible instead of reading it for ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, all of these can be great resources, but they’re second hand. People can get it wrong. How will you know if you don’t have first hand knowledge? There are so many philosophies out there today that sound really good. They may be very close to the truth or even contain a sliver of the truth.
It’s easy to be taken in if we don’t really know what the bible says.
Simple Ways We Can be in God’s Word
So, if we can agree that reading the bible is important and beneficial, then what keeps us from actually reading it? Let’s take a look at some of the excuses – er…reasons – and what we can do about them.
1. The bible is hard for me to read and understand.
Try getting a children’s version of the bible or a reader’s version of the bible. The language is simplified and the reading level is easier. For instance: the NIrV is a reader’s version of the NIV written at a 3rd grade level.
2. I don’t like to read.
Get an audio version. Listen while you get dressed in the morning. Listen while you’re in the car, on the bus, doing chores around the house or taking a walk. There are all kinds of audio options out there – CD, MP3, etc. I have a FREE Logos Bible APP on my phone that includes audio.
3. I don’t know where to start.
This was one of my excuses. I wanted to read my bible, but when I sat down and thumbed through the pages, I had no idea where to begin. It was so intimidating and overwhelming that I would put my bible away without reading anything. If this is your problem, too, here are some suggestions:
- Start at the beginning: Genesis (Old Testament) or Matthew (New Testament).
- Get a red letter bible and just read Jesus’ words. (A red letter bible is a bible that has the things Jesus said printed in red.) This was a suggestion I picked up in a recent Frances Chan video clip. It won’t take much to read through Jesus’ words and it’ll give you a great picture of who Jesus is, how he lived, and what he actually said.
- Try a bible reading plan that tells you what to read. You can download lists or use one of the many FREE APPs out there. (I have both She Reads Truth and YouVersion on my phone.)
4. I just don’t have time.
Yes. We’re busy. So busy we don’t take time to eat? Well, truthfully, sometimes. But eventually we have to eat. Our lives depend on it. We need God’s word like we need food. Our lives depend on it. We can make time. Here are a few suggestions:
- Start small. Just read for 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t feel pressured by expectations that are randomly imposed on us. Any amount of time is better than no time in God’s word.
- Don’t feel you have to read first thing in the morning. I’m not a morning person. I prefer reading in the evening or late at night. When you read doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you are reading.
- Use a bible APP on your phone (or keep a small bible with you) so you can read during down times like waiting for appointments, in a carpool line, or on the bus. Any time you have downtime is a great time to read a few verses. (I have Logos bible APP on my phone. It even as an audio option.)
- If you work, your lunch break is a great time to read (or listen to) God’s word a bit.
- If you have kids, read bible stories to them. I learned so much about God reading to my own children.
So, no more excuses. Be creative. We can do this. Before you know it, you’ll be spending regular time in God’s word – and reaping the benefits.
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