It’s the first month of the New Year, and a whole lot of Christians have made resolutions of some sort. That’s all fine and good, provided the resolutions are formed in reliance on grace and dependence upon God, not self. One of the biggies in Christian-resolution making is Bible reading. This—yes-oh-yes—is the year you plan to read through the whole Bible. Unfortunately, just like that dieting resolution, the Bible reading resolution is one that easily gets broken.
The Problem with Bible Reading
For many Christians, Bible reading is like flossing their teeth. They know that it’s supposed to be good for them, but it’s so hard to get around to doing it. In truth, Bible reading is very unlike flossing one’s teeth, but this doesn’t make it any easier. What are some of the challenges we face to BIble reading, and what can we do about it?
Problem: Ineffectiveness. Solution: Prayer and patience.
Somehow, we think that the Bible doesn’t “work.” We see ourselves as sin-filled, and reading our Bible doesn’t seem to “fix it.” at least not fast enough. Sanctification doesn’t happen after a few hurried chapters in Genesis, though. Sanctification happens through prayer and patience—patience to meditate on God’s Word, and patience for Him to work in you.
Problem: Boredom. Solution: Curiosity.
Let’s face it. You’d much rather watch some TV show like Parks and Recreation rather than read your Bible. Somehow, genealogies and ancient Near-Eastern poetry doesn’t get you excited. You’re bored. There is no easy fix to the boredom problem, but you must first realize that the Bible is not to blame for boredom. You are. Developing your curiosity is important. Slow down your reading, and ask questions—who, what, where, when, why, how?
Problem: Busy. Solution: Let go.
I know. You’re busy. Almost everyone allegedly is. Bible reading seems like one more thing to cram into your already-packed day. First, realize that you don’t have to spend an hour, or even a half hour, in God’s Word in order to have an effective and profitable time with God. Devotions isn’t a matter of getting God to like you more, or checking off some spiritual to-dos. How do you make time? Simply find something (and there probably is something, no matter how small) that you can give up to make time for God’s Word.
Problem: Know it all. Solution: No you don’t.
If you’ve been a Sunday-school attending believer for a while, you’ve probably experienced this. You’re happily reading your Bible one day when suddenly it dawns on you—you already know all of this! You know what’s going to happen to Goliath. You know what Jesus is going to do when they run out of wine at the wedding. You know it all already! Why read it? The good news is, you don’t know it all. (Quick, what’s the theme of the book of Zechariah?) The Bible is a big book, and even if you memorized the whole thing, you’d still have a lot to learn from it. There is always a way to go deeper, to learn more, and to meditate further.
Problem: No plan. Solution: Make one.
The final Bible-reading killer is aimlessness. If you’ve been doing the open-and-point devotional technique, you know what I mean. Get yourself a good plan. YouVersion.com has a ton of reading plans, and you can even read or listen to the Bible on your mobile device.
It’s not too late to begin your Bible reading for the year. Don’t put off Bible reading until 2013, just because you missed the first week (or month…or more) of 2012. A successful Bible reading plan can begin on any day of the year.