I begrudgingly pulled out my Bible, to read and study, not because I wanted to, but because I felt as if I had to. Ever feel that way? I did. But my eagerness to read it consistently has grown tremendously in recent years, which had me analyzing why.
I grew up wanting to become many things including an archaeologist, author, news anchor, and teacher, but never a person in ministry.
Yet, while reading a passage in the Old Testament one evening, I thought, “I wish I knew the background of what’s going on in this passage, or at the very least had some basic knowledge.”
And in an instant, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “Go back to school to learn it.”
After much prayer and conviction, I took the plunge and went back to school thirteen years ago for a degree in Theology. It took me by surprise, and to this day, I look back on this time and am amazed by God’s creativity.
I found myself in Old and New Testament classes which involved reading every book in the Bible. Yes, reading every word, including a lot of big and unknown words (to me) which I had to look up, plus historical data and chronologies. This went on for months. And I’d asked for this! I learned a wealth of information and was certainly enlightened about much of God’s Word, but it was strenuous to keep up with these readings, and I didn’t always enjoy them.
Why was this a struggle? I was preparing to go into ministry, so surely reading the Bible shouldn’t present a problem. Even if I hadn’t seen a future in ministry, in order to know Jesus, I must know His Word. Why wasn’t my love for Him enough to bring joy during this?
Yet now, I find myself drawn to lengthy passages, noticing characteristics and words in verses I’ve read a hundred times and never noticed, or now see differently. I read a verse then continue on and sometimes even look up background knowledge in my old textbooks or online. What has changed?
As I’ve contemplated this, I’ve identified three reasons my thirst to read God’s Word was stagnant.
1. I previously viewed reading the Bible as a task.
2. I didn’t pray for God to birth this desire in my heart.
3. I didn’t carve out time in my daily agenda for it.
Firstly, I saw Bible reading as a job or duty. When we view reading and learning the Bible as a chore, we won’t enjoy it. Who enjoys chores? It’s like lumping God’s Word in with the laundry or loading the dishwasher. I have two kids, and I know very well how much they hate the meager housework they’re asked to do each week. In fact, they come up with very creative ways, including claiming sickness, to get out of doing them altogether.
If we simply put reading the Bible on our to-do list, we run the risk of never feeling satisfied, not because of Scripture itself, but because before we even begin, we’re trying to figure out the fastest way possible to finish. This isn’t how God wants us to grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him.
In addition, I committed to asking God to give me a desire to read, learn, and love His Word. I long to be His faithful disciple. I want to walk in His will daily and love Him so deeply that my appetite for Him is insatiable. So, I began to pray for this very thing.
And He delivered.
His Word says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Mathew 7:7-8 NIV)
I took this verse seriously. I asked Him to help me seek Him through Scripture, and He opened the way (and my mind) for this to happen.
I saw an immediate change in my understanding of God’s Word, and my cravings to keep on reading passage after passage. I continue to pray and have started to pray for this same change to happen in the lives of my loved ones. My spiritual growth and knowledge of Christ has increased through reading the Bible, and I feel much closer to Him.
Finally, I established Scripture reading in a place of importance, its rightful position, on my daily agenda. My space with God and His Word must be intentional. For years, I’ve claimed I’d begin a stretching and core training mini-workout every day, meaning I would “find time” to add this in.
It never happened. Why? I never gave it an allotted time slot in my routine.
Reading and studying God’s Word must be deliberate and persistent, developing into a habit. The amazing thing is that it promises to satisfy your soul.
In Psalm 81, God says to His people Israel, and therefore Christ-followers today, that if they listen and follow Him, He will protect them, and they will “be fed with the finest of wheat; with honey from the rock I [God] would satisfy you.” (Psalm 81: 13-16 NIV)
To prioritize God’s Word, I wake up early on the weekends and push back morning appointments until after I’ve spent time with Him. This means I turn down coffee with friends and resist scrolling through Facebook. It’s a sacrifice but having decided to make this a part of my daily routine, I can assure you it’s worth every second.
I still have room for improvement, but I’ve had a breakthrough! I now view reading my Bible as a privilege, not a task. I ask God to give me a desire for His Word, and I keep this time precious and valued on my daily calendar. Once I made the proper adjustments, my understanding and relationship with God has matured exponentially.
Let’s help each other thirst to read, learn, and love God’s Word! What’s one thing you can decide to do in order to help you read the Bible consistently? Are you already a master Scripture reader? How did this happen for you? Is there something I haven’t mentioned which helped you persist in this?