Today, we will continue on in the series “Why Do Some Christian Not Read the Bible Every Day”, focusing on reason number 3.
Reason #3: Lack of Knowledge or Understanding
There was a time in my life not long ago if asked “Why don’t you read your Bible,” I would have answered that the Bible was too hard to understand. I grew up in church, went to Sunday school faithfully, but as an adult I still knew very few Bible stories. When I first started teaching Sunday school there were times I felt the children knew the stories better than I did. Why was that? It was because I had given up reading my Bible. I always considered myself a smart person. I made good grades all throughout school. I excelled in college. I loved research and writing papers. But reading the Bible made me feel stupid, so I quit; thereby robbing myself of biblical knowledge and understanding.
I believe everyone has struggled in some form or another with reading the bible. The Bible is not confusing, misleading, or unclear; our sinful nature, desires, interpretations have gotten in the way. I think some of us are so busy trying to outsmart one another; we have made God’s word more complicated than it was intended.
So, how can we begin to understand the Bible? Below, I will be giving some tips that I have found useful in my understanding, but first I would like to stress that I believe true understanding comes once we have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Not to say that you cannot have any understanding before then, but I believe full understanding comes when we are walking with the Lord. If you have a relationship with the Lord and you begin to struggle, let me encourage you to seek the Lord on this issue. Maybe there is unconfessed sin in your life interfering with your relationship or maybe there is some disobedience that needs to be addressed.
1. It is important to pick a translation of the Bible that works for you. Let’s be honest, the King James Version is probably not the best fit for a new Christian. When I first started looking into a real relationship with Christ, I read from “The Message”. This version is a very loose translation of the Bible (the joke being it even contains recipes), and I do not recommend it unless it is absolutely necessary. For easy reading, I like the New Living Translation. If I am memorizing scripture, I like NKJ or NIV. There is endless controversy on which translations to use and not use, but you have to find what works for you.
2. Start your reading time in prayer. While I believe everyone should have their own approach to reading the Bible, I believe it is imperative to pray first because it invites the Lord to be present. I also like to pray fist because it helps me clear my mind and shake off the world.
3. Don’t read the Bible in order. It is suggested to start in the New Testament because it is an easier read. This is hard for a bookworm like myself, who always has to read a book from start to finish. When I first started reading, someone suggested the following reading plan : (1)Mark-it is chronological; (2) Matthew-it gives a lot of details; (3) John-focuses on the life of Jesus; (4) Luke; (5) Acts; and (6) Galatians.
4. Avoid commentary when you are first beginning. The reason behind that suggestion is that commentary is from people, not God. Some even go further and suggest that you should not read a study bible, but study bibles can give clarity to some texts, so you must weigh the pros and cons yourself. I personally do not like to use commentary until after I have completed my reading so that I don’t let people thoughts override God’s thoughts. I also can get caught up flipping back and forth, where it turns more into a research project than a daily reading.
5. Pray when you are done. Thank God for what you read. Ask him to help you apply what you learned to your life and keep it in your heart.
I would also like to add, don’t make reading the bible about yourself, but I will wait to discuss that tomorrow as reason #4 is about having a self-centered mind set.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,