Sometimes I don’t want to read the Bible.
There, I said it. It might not look good, but at least it is true.
In some Christian communities, there is a lot of pressure to read the Bible. In other churches, Bible reading is a lost habit.
Overall, Pew Research shows that 63% of American evangelical adults read the Bible at least once a week and another 12% once or twice a month. We’re outdone, however, by Mormons (77% say once a week) and Jehovah’s Witnesses (88% say once a week). Interestingly, they didn’t ask how often people read the Bible every single day.
There are a lot of reasons we might want to avoid the Bible:
- It’s too complicated to understand
- It’s too long to finish
- It reminds me of bad experiences
- I’m not sure it’s true
- I don’t have the time
- I don’t know why I should
- I don’t find it helpful
- It’s boring
But there are other reasons too. We prefer instant gratification to hard work. It’s easier to flip through TikTok than to study the book of Jeremiah. The Bible convicts us of sin - an unpleasant experience. We can get spiritually discouraged; we don’t have the energy to try again. Perhaps our friends and family look down on Bible reading, so we don’t have much support for our faith.
Maybe we feel anxious about “doing it right,” but we lack the training to read the Bible, so we give up before we experience inevitable failure.
Perhaps the most substantial reason in my experience is a fear that God is harsh and angry. I don’t want to get destroyed by God for all my failures.
So why do I keep reading the Bible?
First, I’ve started to understand that God is my Friend. I don’t read the Bible to get close to God. Instead, because God is close to me, I want to read the Bible.
Second, my closest friends treasure the Scriptures. They encourage me with how God moves in their lives as they read the Bible.
Third, this community supports me. If I have a question, I can ask it. If I’m struggling, I can share about it.
Fourth, I feel empty and rudderless when I don’t have guidance from God. But I feel encouraged and energized when I do.
Finally, and most ordinarily, it is a habit.
So what’s your real experience with Bible reading?