The Bible is the only book that reads you as you read it. And yet, many of us would have to admit, we don’t read it as often (or as much) as we should.
Scripture is essential food for the believer. As Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4) Jesus said that while He was in the wilderness being tempted. He may have been fasting from food, yet He was still feasting on Scripture.
Without God’s word, God’s people perish. We need it. Scripture recalibrates our heart, mind, and will like nothing else can. It is the place where we discover God’s light, life, love, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
And yet, despite all the benefits and good we receive, many Christians still struggle to prioritize Scripture intake. What can we do? If Bible reading is a challenge here’s a few tips that might help.
Find an easier translation.
One reason people struggle to read the Bible is because that they don’t understand it. A fresh translation can help. Some translations are word-for-word (more precise, less readable) while some are thought-for-thought (less precise, more readable). While we can get nitpicky about certain translations, the ones listed below by grade-level are all reliable English works. If you feel stuck, dive into a new version.
Try a study Bible.
Some people struggle with reading Scripture because they have so many questions as they read. A good study Bible gives you the chance to quickly glance at the footnotes and, likely, find the answer. Solid study Bibles include: The ESV Study Bible, the MacArthur Study Bible, the CSB Apologetics Study Bible, and the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. They can be pricey, but they are worth it.
We tend to think of personal, private devotional reading as a staple diet for all Christians. And while it may be easiest, it’s a rather new phenomenon in church history. (Think about it: books were not affordable and accessible until after the printing press was invented in the 1500s.) Prior to that, people read the Bible out loud – at church or even just in groups. In fact, one of the only times God commands us to read the Bible is in 1 Timothy 4:13. It says, “Give attention to the public reading of Scripture…” Whether it’s your wife, kids, a co-worker, or neighbor – try reading the Bible together in a group and talking about it. There’s built in accountability and plenty to talk about.
Many people say (or claim) that they just do not have time to read the Bible. True, it does take time but not as much as you think. The average American watches 3+ hours of television each day. In the time that it takes to watch one TV drama (about 42 minutes), you could read any of 47 of the 66 books of Scripture. Reading a whole book at one sitting is helpful. Here is a chart of the average reading time for each book arranged from shortest to longest.
Spurgeon once said, “Nobody every outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.” Indeed, it does. Take up and read.