Top 10 Reasons why People Don't Read the Bible Regularly1
How well do you know your Bible? Here's a pop quiz: How many books are in the Old Testament portion of the Bible? What is the longest book of the Bible? How many people did Moses take with him on the Ark? How many of the 10 Commandments can you name? How many apostles did Jesus appoint? What four books are known as 'the Gospels?' (Answers given below)
Ask any genuine Christian and most will tell you that they believe the Bible. Their facebook page probably lists the Bible as one of their favorite books. They can probably locate a few key verses. But then ask them them how often they read and apply it, and you might get an embarrassed blush.
You can usually tell how serious someone is about the Bible based on where they keep it. If it's on the mantle or bookshelf at home, chances are good they reverence it, but rarely read it. If they keep it in their car, they want to read it but rarely do. If they keep it on their nightstand, they really want to read it but are usually too tired. If they keep it on them they are more likely to read it daily.
"A bible which is falling apart usually belongs to someone who's not!" This phrase was written in the cover of my first Bible. It's a constant reminder to saturate my life with the Word of God. I find that in times of less Bible reading I experience more frustration, difficulty and temptation. The times of victory and strength and clarity often coincide with times of great Bible saturation. Are you falling apart? How's your Bible? Is it dusty or well worn with lots of use? What are your struggles in reading it daily? Chances are good that one of the following reasons resonates with you:
10. I don't have time (we always make time for what's most important to us)
9. I don't know where to start (having a good Bible reading plan makes all the difference - see helps below)
8. Reading makes me sleepy (this is true for many people - try switching times and locations - pace if you need to!)
7. The Bible is too confusing (it can be, but it doesn't have to be! anything is confusing when you're not familiar with it - commit to spending a month reading it daily using a plan below and you'll be much less confused!)
6. I never get anything out of it (if you go to the Bible to "get something" you might consider changing your motivation - pray before, asking God to open your eyes that you might hear from Him - approach the Bible looking for application - put what you read into practice - that's where the reward comes!)
5. There are many contradictions in the Bible (show me five and then we'll talk)
4. The Bible is boring (there are 'challenging' parts - here's a tip: picture what you're reading - if it were a movie, what would it look like? If it were a painting, how would it look?)
3. I might have to change (you probably will have to change! This is the most difficult aspect of Bible reading - it challenges your beliefs and lifestyle! But the wisdom of God and His love for you assures you that change is good)
2. I forget or I get distracted (if you find your mind wandering, press on - this usually only lasts for a short time - if you can get past a few minutes, your mind will engage)
1. I'm not smart enough (I often ask people who pose this reason, "did you have to read or memorize things for school or work?" Everyone does! There are even Bible tapes, cd's, and mp3's available for those who cannot read. We have enough mental capacity to grasp God's Word, we often just lack motivation! If it was your favorite hobby, you would overcome any of these barriers easily. Admit that you lack desire, stop making excuses, and get in to God's Word!)
Daily Bible Reading Tips and Resources:
- Start small! Read just a chapter or two each day. Think of the Bible as food - a consistent diet of smaller "meals" is better than binge eating!
- Not sure where to begin? The book of John is a great starting place! From there, work through Luke, then Acts, and then Genesis.
- Take advantage of great online resources! Here are two of my favorites: ESV Online Study Bible (www.esvonline.org), Bible Gateway (www.biblegateway.com).
- Get a daily Bible reading plan. It's frustrating to not know where to read. Many people just open the Bible and start reading. This Bible roulette plan is not a healthy way to read the Bible. There are great Bible plans out there that will help you by following a daily calendar. Check out Heartlight for daily Bible reading plans (www.heartlight.org), or just google "daily Bible reading plan."
- Take Prof. Horner's 30 Day Challenge! I stumbled onto Professor Horner's Bible Reading System recently and have really enjoyed the experience. It's simple and offers variety. It doesn't take any longer than most plans, but it is far more substantial. You can read more about this plan at www.challies.com/christian-living/ten-chapters-per-day (there's even a mobile version: http://www.calvarybiblechurch.org/TheTenLists.aspx)
For more help, contact one of the pastors at [email protected]
Pop Quiz Answers:
- 39 books in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament - 66 total books in the Bible; Psalms is the biggest book of the Bible;
- Noah built the ark, not Moses! There were eight people on the ark - Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives;
- The ten commandments are 1) I am the LORD your God...You shall have no other gods before me. 2) You shall not make for yourself a carved image, 3) You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, 4) Remember the Sabbath day, 5) Honor your father and your mother, 6) You shall not murder, 7) You shall not commit adultery, 8) You shall not steal, 9) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, and 10) You shall not covet (Exodus 20:2-17 ESV);
- Jesus appointed 12 apostles (can you name them?)
- The gospels are: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Called gospels, meaning 'good news' because they focus on the life and ministry of Jesus.