7 Reasons Bible Study is Boring
When you became a Christian, you were told about the importance of Bible Study. So, with no idea what we are doing we begin to “study” the Bible. You didn’t know where to start, how to read or what to do when you had questions. Soon, and very soon, you got bored.
This has happened to us all. Unaware of where we can turn, most give up. I assume that if you are reading this you are there...or on the verge of being there. Possibly you find yourself coaching or encouraging someone that shares this sentiment. Let them know that they are not alone, and I hope to give you practical advice and a new perspective on how to address this problem. So let’s dive into 7 Reasons Bible Study is Boring:
- You are Reading the Wrong Books
Remember we’ve got 1 Bible comprised of 66 books (39 in the Old and 27 in the New). Many have the worthy goal of reading the Bible cover to cover in a year. They begin January 1 with Genesis 1. Getting through the first book of the Bible is pretty easy. It contains a bunch of stories about the Israelite patriarchs, and everyone loves a story. The trouble comes with the last half of Exodus and especially with Leviticus (with all the dietary and various laws, as well as the requirements for Jewish feasts and holidays).
By February people have abandoned the plan and they feel like failures. But, January 1 of the next year they are back at Genesis 1. They’ve read Genesis and Exodus a dozen times in their lives, but haven’t ventured past.
If I were to make a suggestion to you, start in Mark. It’s the shortest of the four Gospels (coming in a modest 16 chapters) and it’s all about Jesus (I’ve read somewhere that He is the author and perfecter of our faith...the Alpha and Omega...etc.). After Mark, hit James, Acts, and some of Paul’s Letters before circling back to John. Remember that each book of the Bible was equally inspired by God, but they are not equally applicable and relevant to the Christian.
- You Have a Bad Routine
I remember the first time I read about a Pastor that lived in the 1800s named Alexander Campbell. He would wake up at 4AM to study his Bible for a couple of hours before starting his day. Supposedly, he would keep a bowl of cold water to dump his face in when he started feeling tired (maybe the Bible was boring to him, too). After hearing the story, I copied it the best I could, even down to the bowl of cold water (which I’m sure I used more than he had to). I was in college at the time, and I was waking up when my roommate was getting back into the room. The routine lasted longer than it should have, and towards the end I didn’t get a lot out of it.
We need to be careful about how we imitate Christians who are further down the road. Paul says that the Corinthians should imitate him as he imitates Christ (1 Cor. 1:11). Imitate passion, zeal, purity and holiness: sure. But do exactly what they do without considering how God has wired you: unwise. Most people cannot handle intense Bible studies, and especially not right away. Stay away from the cookie cutter approach and find a routine that works best for you.
- You Rush Through
You don’t get anything out of Bible study because you don’t put in anything. There is a slow, methodical nature to many things in life. The goal is not to “finish it”, but to allow yourself to be shaped in the process. Give God time to speak to you through words that He inspired thousands of years ago. It may be a short verse that you feel compelled to process throughout the day. Allow yourself to be in the moment when you read, and allow the Holy Spirit to work on your heart.
- You don’t like to read
Well, at least you’ve made it to point 4 on the article, so you at least peruse well. I hear too much that people don’t like to read. Get over it...this is why our culture is the least intelligent American generation to date. We have more information than any group before us and we have less knowledge...how is that possible?
“Yeah,” you may say, “but I still don’t like to read.” Get an audio Bible app. Listen to the Bible while you run, mow, nap, whatever works for you (except for the nap part).
- You Don’t Think God’s Word has Anything for You
Well, it does. But most people go expecting nothing. No challenges, no convictions, and therefore, no change. When you go to the text expecting nothing, the Bible has a phrase for this: a hard heart. A hard heart is one that nothing penetrates. When you read, nothing happens because you aren’t allowing it to. Give God a chance to change you, and bathe your Bible reading with prayer.
- You Think It’s All About You Instead of God
Application of what the Bible says is important (James 2), but primarily you read and study because you love God. I love watching home movies of my wife’s childhood because she is my wife. They are not interesting to anyone else, but they certainly are to me. I love her and want to know everything about her. We should become more infatuated with God than we are anyone on earth.
- You Don’t Know Enough and are Overwhelmed
When you start out, it can be heavy lifting. There are a lot of historical events that even the authors of the New Testament assume you know. One practical tip I give is to buy a study Bible. It will take time, but it will be time well spent. Nothing should be more important to us than loving God...the more you know about Him the more you love Him...the more you study His word, the more you know about Him...Let’s get to work!