When Reading the Bible Is Hard | The Speckled Goat: When Reading the Bible Is Hard


When Reading the Bible Is Hard

When Reading the Bible is Hard: Support, Resources and Encouragement for the reluctant Bible reader

There was a sort of buzz to the hush that filled the church.

You know the kind. It was the solemn quiet of a group of third graders, filled with respectful silence and also bursting with the need giggle and squirm from nervousness.

Their names were called, and each of them walked, heads held high, to receive their shiny new Adventure Bibles.

On the way back to their parents in the pews, some kids retreated to the safety of anonymity as quickly as they could.

Some walked slowly, the weight of this new stage in life as heavy on their minds as the big new Bible was in their hands.

(At least until after the service when they would chase their sister around the fellowship hall. Ahem.)

It was all so wonderful, so exciting, this gift of the infallible Word of the Living God being placed into the hands of these young people.

I kind of wanted to pull them aside for a moment (before the chasing of the sisters in the fellowship hall...) and tell them this:

Yes, this Bible is a gift that you'll treasure and you'll value and you'll learn so much about God and about yourself in those super-thin pages. 
But sometimes, that big old Book in your hands will be so, so hard to read. 

The Bible often brings me more questions than answers. The Bible has confused me, challenged me, made me question everything I thought I knew.

I leave it sit, unopened, on my nightstand for weeks. I've had my eyes glaze over with boredom during my 'quiet time.' I feel guilty that I'm not better about spending time in the Word.

I've given up my 'quiet time,' in favor of sleeping in, doing my hair, watching a movie. And I feel guilty that people in other parts of the world give up their lives just to have a chapter of Scripture in their possessions.

I've even forgotten where I put my Bible, sometimes, and have to search the house for it before small group.

I know the Bible is important. I know that.

But how can I translate that knowledge to my heart, and then to my hands? How can I live it out, truly prioritize time with the Word of God- even when the words I'm reading are confusing, boring, or just don't seem to apply to me at all?

I'm going to be completely honest here- I've often thought that reading my Bible was something to check off my list for the day. (And truly, it was often that box that remained unchecked when the day was over. )

But that's really not why we're given the Bible.

We weren't given the perfect, living, breathing Word of God because it's something that Christians do, so just get it done.

We are given the Bible so that we can know the heart of God more fully.

And that's part of why it's such a dynamic, rich, beautiful Book. My understanding of God is shaped by Scripture, and that in turn dictates how I read Scripture... which then shapes my understanding of God... and it continues.

The Christian faith is not meant to be a checklist kind of life. It's a relationship, a journey, a constant re-learning and deepening of our intimate understanding of an un-understandable God.

The Bible has a direct impact on our lives- on our worldviews, on our heart-attitudes, on our relationships and our behaviors.

That doesn't make it easy, though. 

I mean, after all, many men and women far smarter and more inspired and way better read have spent their lifetimes studying the Bible. And so many of them disagree about what the Bible says.

Am I ever going to get to the point where I've got the Bible all figured out?


Are you?

Probably not.

But does that mean that we give up and let our Bibles collect dust under our beds with our too-small-jeans that we can't give away, yet?

Of course not.

Over the next few months (or maybe longer, who knows? God has a habit of surprising me...), I'll be walking through some of the struggles that I face with reading the Bible. And I'd love to invite you along for the journey.

Via e-mail, once a week, I'll be sending out some tools, as I find them, and some reading plans, and some other stuff that I'm praying the Holy Spirit uses in mighty ways in my own life as well as in yours.

Let's be people of the Word. Even when that means we have to wrestle through it, even when we don't really feel like it, even when we're super confused.

The Bible is a gift to us- let's use it well. 

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  1. Ally, I can relate that reading the Bible doesn't always come easy. I have found that when I ask God to show me and teach me by the power of His holy spirit, the Word does come alive and really speaks to me in ways that really get my attention.

    1. Yes! That is so important! I also like to pray before I read!

  2. Yes. I often struggle to get my scripture study in each day, and relate to the boredom and not being able to understand well. I try hard to pray before I study so that my eyes and mind and heart can be opened, and that helps. But more importantly, I just have to place a priority on this...and right now I haven't been. Thanks for the kick!

    1. That's for sure- I struggle with the same things. I think this series and e-mail study will be really instrumental in making Scripture a priority!

  3. What we often forget (or not even realize) is that we also bring our own presuppositions when reading the Bible. Our personalities, culture, and current situations--believe it or not--impact how we read Scriptures. The Holy Spirit does gift us with understanding but it's no substitute for actually reading the text. While the Spirit does give us insight and help us apply what we read, we must first deal with the text as it is, to remember that the authors wrote to a particular people at a particular time in history. But the beauty of it all is that it is still God's word for us. On the other hand, careful study does not automatically mean we understand (and therefore are able to apply) the text as it was meant to be. A balance between careful study and dependence on the Holy Spirit helps us understand the word, so that we can be come like Christ. The word of God is alive! It's not merely something to be studied, nor simply to be a source of information. It is God's gift to us so that we behold and become like Christ. What a gift! Looking forward to your posts :)

    1. I love how you put that- "The word of God is alive! It's not merely something to be studied, nor simply to be a source of information. It is God's gift to us so that we behold and become like Christ."

      I wholeheartedly agree!

      I'm so excited to start working more and more into the text.

  4. My husband and I are reading Revelation now together and we are 68. It is HARD! For those children, the encouragement to read and to ask questions and to share what they learn and all of that will be gift upon gift as they grow older. There are never too many times to read the Bible and there are never enough questions to ask God.
    I am encourage to have come by because it is HARD! : ) But God wants us to read and hear His Word. The Holy Spirit will teach us when we are ready.

    1. Revelation?!?! That IS hard! =)

      I feel like I never "get" Revelation.

      Thank you for the encouragement, and I hope you'll consider joining me as I start to really make the Bible a priority!

  5. I am at the point right now too. I set aside some time to try to get a few chapters in a day but sometimes it is a struggle to concentrate but I know I need to do more reading for sure. So I hope that eventually it becomes easier for me not just to read but to comprehend.

    1. I totally connect with how it's difficult to concentrate! I've found that if I don't have a pen in hand, I have trouble keeping my mind from wandering.

  6. I have a hard time reading the Bible sometimes, too. I've found though, not to give up. I will sometimes come back to a book of the Bible I didn't understand well the first time I read it. But when I read it again, sometimes I understand so much better. This sounds like it's going to be a great series.
    Thank you for linking with Grace and Truth last week!