You may have been like this young man - As a young man growing up in a Christian home, I knew all too well that reading the Bible was a good thing to do. The problem was that I really struggled to read it!
So I would make a promise to God and myself (usually after church on a Sunday or Wednesday) that I was going to start being good. I was going to read my Bible every day. But you probably know the story. After a few days I’d get bored, busy, or distracted and give up. That, of course, would lead to feeling guilty all over again, and the cycle would repeat itself. Can you relate?
The truth is, developing a good habit of Bible reading is a hard thing for many modern Christians. We have our reasons: “It’s hard to read.” “I’m really busy.” “I get bored easily.” But I think it has more to do with our approach.
Sometimes we read the Bible like a self-help book. We’re hoping to get something out of it. We want to learn something. We want to find a nugget that will be meaningful to our lives. And we want all of this fast. We Americans like our information short and to the point because we’re busy! We’ve got jobs to do and goals to achieve! So our culture has conditioned us to look for wisdom and knowledge in little, bite-sized nuggets, and I think we bring this same approach to scripture.
Other times, if we’re being honest, we read the Bible out of a sense of obligation. We feel like we should. We think God won’t be happy with us if we don’t read it, so out of guilt we go to God’s Word hoping to salve our conscience.
But here’s the problem. Both of these approaches put us at the center. The Bible becomes a means to our end. The Bible, then, is only as valuable as it is useful. In other words, if I don’t get something out of it, why would I read it? Exactly.
So what if we changed our approach? What if instead of approaching the Bible to get something out of it, we approached it like a relationship? What if we read it simply to know more of who our God is?
Here are a few helpful tips for developing a different approach to reading scripture:
1. Use a good Bible-reading plan and stick with it. Don’t always rely on your own judgement of what you should read because you’ll just gravitate to the verses you like best! You want to get a BIG perspective of God.
2. Be okay with not getting anything out of it that day. Do a husband and wife have breakthrough relational moments every day? Of course not! A healthy marriage is built on years of consistent face time.
3. Seek a relationship over an application. Application isn’t a bad thing, but if you seek to turn the Bible into an instruction manual for your life, you’ll greatly minimize its value and purpose.
VERSES TO READ: John 17:1-26
Lord, today, I purpose to seek You and You alone. I pray as Paul prayed, that You would give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I would know You more. Lord, You are my very source of life; apart from You, I can do nothing. So as I seek You, I ask You to reveal Yourself to me, so I may become more like Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen