"I just can't find the time."
Her excuse sounded just like mine, and I nodded my head in agreement and solidarity. Time. It's a huge killer of consistent Bible reading.
"I mean," she continued, "if I don't have at least an hour to read and cross-reference, highlight and make notes, and then consult a commentary, then what's the point of reading my Bible?"
I glanced at her from the corner of my eye. I don't think I've ever done all that in one sitting.
I struggle to just get the glided pages open in front me. Throw multiple colored pens into the mix and I'm totally out.
And it got me thinking-- is my Bible time insignificant because I don't do all that? Does simply reading the Bible pale in comparison to really studying it?
In college, I had a habit of turning on a show (on Hulu or Netflix or what have you) while I did my homework.
Not the most efficient use of my time, no. But it's what I did.
And there are times when a phrase pops into my head, or a song plays on the radio... and I know all the words to that song. I've heard that phrase. Because it was on that TV show I watched back in my college years.
Even without really paying very much attention to it, even though I certainly wasn't studying it, my mind retained that stuff.
(Makes me wish I'd watched, I dunno, a show about Geometry or something, but that's another story.)
I told you that to tell you this-- there's a place for reading the Bible.
Not studying, but just reading.
Now, I don't have anything against studying the Word of God.
It's fascinating, challenging, and brings out the best in so many people to study the Bible. I like the academic side of the Bible- the literary side, the history, the cross-referencing, the cultural background. I'm one of those nerds who took a college class called "Hebrew Prophets" just because it sounded interesting. (It was awesome, by the way).
But really, beyond those college classes of old, occasional group studies, and the fantastic Bible teaching at the church we attend, I don't really study the Bible very much, anymore.
In a different season of life, I would love to dust off the highlighters and really dig in again. I know I'd love it. Right now, though, it's not going to happen. So should I just forget the whole thing?
I don't think so.
Even if I can't give Scripture my full academic attention with referencing and searching the original Hebrew, I believe that the Bible is still accessible to me and that I can come to the Bible expecting to meet more of God- even if I'm "just" reading.
The excuse of not having enough time (that's one I use a lot) is bad enough as it is. If I honestly don't have time to spend two hours with my Bible, I can dedicate ten minutes to the Scriptures.
Don't let the fact that you can't "study" right now prevent you from opening the Word of God. Connect with Him in small moments, even if you have trouble dedicating large chunks of time to digging into the details.
If you can't study it right now, just read it.
Just read it.
It will make a difference. It will stick with you. It will change your life.
Don't make this another excuse not to read it. Open your Bible, and get going.
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