Every Christian has been there.
You’re reading your Bible–God’s inspired word. Divinity sits in your lap. As you peruse the teachings of Jesus, the acts of the disciples, the prophecies, the histories, and the letters, a light shines in your brain and you realize a great truth:
“I haven’t had Arby’s in, like, forever!”
Your next realization is that you’ve been reading the same paragraph for thirty minutes.
The un-nice Truth
There’s this unspoken assumption that true Christians love every minute of Bible time, that they can’t wait for tomorrow’s reading. Only lousy Christians ever struggle to read the ink-and-paper manifestation of God himself. Struggle, boredom, and disinterest are marks of heathens.
Thankfully, this is total crap. Rare is the man who delights in God’s word every second of every reading, and that’s usually situational. We all grow familiar with the scriptures and we all get tired of hearing the same story time and time again.
We all get to a point where we’d rather tweeze our nose hairs than read one more verse of Isaiah. We get it, Israel messed up. Move on already. Sheesh.
It’s Okay to be Not Okay
So is there something wrong with us? Yes: we’re human. And its perfectly okay to be human. If that sounds dichotomous, welcome to Christianity.
Contrary to Christian movies and book-store promises, you won’t get some glorious revelation every time you read your Bible. Some days you will, and some days you’ll get that comfort, encouragement, or strength you need. Other days you’ll find something that makes you smile, but isn’t necessary at the moment. Then there are those days where you just kind of blink at the page and say “How is this in any way relevant anymore?”
That’s normal. The Bible is not a daily fortune cookie. It’s a massive, multi-genre, multi-format, multi-author smorgasbord of divinity. Not everything is going to apply to you at this moment, in fact most of it won’t.
I mean, have you seen the genealogies?
What to Do?
When you run across parts of the Bible that don’t make sense, don’t apply to you, or are so boring you want to scrape your head against concrete stucco, what should you do? Skip that part? Give up for the day? Stop reading the Bible regularly or altogether?
Not at all. Read it anyway. And no, I’m not telling you to “suck it up, buttercup.” I’m telling you to put it in your pocket for later.
Ever heard the phrase “Practice makes perfect?” There’s a similar concept here. You don’t lift weights and see immediate bulk. You don’t eat celery and watch fat walk off your belly like a Doctor Who episode. You don’t understand Doctor Who in one episode. These things take time, investment, and repetition.
The more you read your Bible, the more it sticks with you. The more it sticks with you, the more you remember when you or someone else needs it later.
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” But it does not say “right now.” It might, but many days you’ll read something totally disconnected from the moment. That doesn’t make it any less valuable.
Don’t feel bad when you want to throw your Bible out the window and go watch “Family Feud” instead (be ashamed when you want to watch “Montel Williams” instead). Just know that what you’re reading is valuable and it will produce fruit.
Read, study, think, repeat. Slowly, it will all start to stick and you’ll have an arsenal of scripture in your skull.
And the more you understand and remember, the more fun you’ll have while reading it.
5 thoughts on “When Reading Your Bible Is Stupid and Lame”
I have to remind myself of this every time I go to read my Bible and don’t feel immediately inspired or refreshed, the results aren’t always (or often) immediate. But once you’ve managed to slog your way through Leviticus, you’ll start to get a lot of the references to it in the NT, and that is /very/ satisfying.
Yeah, that’s what I meant at the end. You see things in some prophecies or histories, then you read the NT and you’re like “Ooh! Ooh! I remember that!”
that was great….I wish more folks were able to admit the same. The only thing I wish had been there was a bit about using the margin notes to open the scripture up more. Instead of just reading straight thru- use the footnotes (or whatever the heck you call em) to show you how it says sort of the same thing in other places in scripture….I have found that to be so very helpful and it keeps it from getting boring as well…at least for me
Yeah, study Bibles are good for that.
I’m just glad I’m not the only one who thinks genealogies are a drag. It IS a lot like exercise…exercise for my spirit. Keep up the good work, Mike.