As followers of Christ, we believe that the Bible speaks. Most of us know we should read and study more of it. We attend church and small groups where we hear again and again that the Bible should be at the center of our lives. We commit to read it and we do great (or at least OK) for a time, but eventually our fervor diminishes, our delight fades into duty and before we know it, once again our Bibles are getting dusty on the shelf.
I remember a time in my life when Bible reading was something I knew that I should do, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I saw it a little bit like “eating my vegetables” when I was a kid. I knew that my parents were probably right that vegetables were “good for me” but I had no idea how people got them down. Likewise, I knew that I should read and study the Bible, but I wasn’t convinced that I would ever enjoy it. I’m not sure that I would have ever even used the words “enjoy” and “Bible” in the same sentence.
Then one day about 25 years ago, as a Youth Pastor I hired a young college student to serve as my summer intern. A country boy named Nathan from the hills of North Mississippi, he was a magnet for the teens in our group and had a unique trait that really stood out to me: He actually enjoyed reading his Bible… a lot. During that time in my life, I could teach a Bible study with confidence and I had a habit of reading my Bible daily, but Nathan loved God’s Word with more passion than I’d ever seen before. So, I swallowed my pride and asked him to show me how to acquire a love for the Bible like he had and that’s just what he did.
Nathan opened his well-worn Bible and introduced me to some basic Bible study principles, and I’ve picked up several others along the way that may help you learn to enjoy the Bible.
Remember why you are reading the Bible. God gave us His Word because He wants us to get to know Him. If you can begin to think of reading the Bible more like spending time with a friend, it completely changes your perspective and leads to deeper enjoyment. So, grab that cup of coffee and sit down with the Friend who is closer than a brother. He already knows everything about you, but there’s so much He wants to show you about Himself. Listen to Jesus’s words:
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you………..These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:7, 11
He then goes on to say to His followers, “I have called you friends.” (v. 15)
If you’ll change your perspective and learn to see Bible reading as spending time getting to know a friend, your enjoyment will increase.
Read more of the Bible. Although any amount of the Bible is good for us, I know so many believers whose only Bible intake is a few verses each day, perhaps with some devotional thoughts from a reading plan on the Bible app. Without any doubt, we must start somewhere in developing our Bible reading habit; daily devotionals are good, but by itself does not always take us deep enough.
Reading more of the Bible helps you see the big picture. It’s difficult to understand what a verse or verses mean when you don’t know the context (the big picture) of what’s being said. Movie scenes don’t make sense if we don’t know the larger story being told.
Also, sometimes it’s great to take the pressure off “Bible study” and just sit back and take it in for the page turner that it is; to not view it as a task to be done, but just to let yourself get involved in the story. I am convinced that the more you read, the more you’ll enjoy the Bible.
Don’t read it alone. Reading and studying Scripture with other believers is one of the best ways to gain a better understanding of it. After all, we’re better together. Read and talk about it with your spouse, your kids, your friends, your co-workers, or anyone else you can find. You’d be surprised how many people in your life would enjoy reading the Bible with you, in person, or even using an online Bible plan, followed by some discussion, even if it’s by text.
Reading Scripture with others:
- helps you be more consistent
- makes it more fun
- helps you see things you might have otherwise missed
Personally, my daily time in God’s Word is so enjoyable that I don’t want to miss it. I agree with David when he says,
“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Ask God to help you enjoy reading His Word. God wants you to enjoy it so ask for His help. As simple as that may sound, you may be surprised at the difference it makes when we humble ourselves and ask for what God already wants to give us.
So, open your Bible again and may you begin to truly enjoy reading it more than ever before.
*Some of the ideas in this article came from one of my favorite books on the topic, appropriately titled “How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible” by Keith Ferrin. It’s a super practical book written to give us tips to help us on our journey to get to know the God of the Bible through His Word. Keith has a unique writing style that’s very personal and his writings have been an immense help to me personally and to many others I’ve known.
Find your copy and other great resources at https://www.keithferrin.com or your favorite online book retailer.
Pastoral Care/Missions Pastor