Ever open up the Word and just… not want to read it? I’ve been there too.
One of the question I receive on a weekly basis is “What do you do when you just don’t feel like studying the Bible?” It’s something all Christians will run into at one point or another. This isn’t a foreign experience, even for the long term faithful Christian. But that doesn’t mean it’s something we accept; something we grow apathetic about. It’s something we overcome.
Why? Because the Word is how we get to know the heart and person of God. It’s our standard, our measure, our way of understanding Him. It’s what the Spirit uses to guide and sanctify and lead us (or at the very least, it’s the measure for what is and is not the Spirit’s leading). And even when studying the Bible is hard, showing up to it is important because God meets us there.
So what’s really behind our bible study struggle? Here are four possibilities.
It’s obvious, isn’t it? First things first we pull out our phones, check messages, check apps… pretty soon that 6 AM wake up for study time was wasted on the social media black hole. Or maybe it’s Netflix. Or texting. Or a different book. Maybe it’s even chores and household duties! We can use ANYTHING to distract us from our most important relationship.
I frequently talk about how there is no perfect quiet time, how we need to get control of our time to make God a priority, and how to study the Bible for yourself. But ultimately, unless we get a handle on distraction we will continue to put aside the most important time of the day. There is no easy solution except recognizing your weakness, asking for strength, setting up boundaries and even requesting accountability! (You and a friend could make a challenge of not checking your phones until after study time, and then texting each other when you’re done).
Maybe you’re afraid of doing it wrong. Can I encourage you? It’s better to show up and do it “wrong” than not to do it at all! Further – by whose standard are you “wrong”? Your pastor? The imagined study time of your older Christian friend? This is about you and God, not you and your neighbor. Instead of comparing or judging or taking on guilt not meant for you, crack that Bible open and start somewhere.
If you need help, here’s a printable ebook in the shop.
Sometimes we have to be honest with ourselves and recognize that our aversion to bible study is pure laziness. We just don’t want to do the work! We will do ANYTHING else rather than take the time to sit down and seek God, because it’s uncomfortable, we aren’t accustomed to focusing for longer periods, and we are more concerned with what we “get” out of it than simply dwelling in HIs presence.
If this is your struggle, the best way to circumvent it is to just show up. Your laziness is a spiritual problem only solved through meeting God’s heart. The beautiful thing? He will work on that – when you bring your heart to Him in the first place!
Lack of Desire
The last stumbling block is just plain lack of “want”. We don’t want to show up, so we don’t. I’ve been in spiritually dry seasons myself, and what I discovered? The longer I stayed away from the Lord, the less I wanted Him. But when I made the choice to show up and seek His face, He was found by me:
“I love those who love me, and those who diligently seek me will find me.” Proverbs 8:17
If you wait for your desire to appear with no exposure to the heart of God, you’ll most likely wait a very long time – all the while finding yourself drifting further and further into apathy. We don’t naturally desire God. We desire Him as we are exposed to Him. You might need to change up your study routine – there’s nothing wrong with that – but coming to Him, no matter what time or place, will be key to your desire.
Try integrating worship and music into your time with Him. Pray to the music. Dance to it! Write out your prayers instead of trying to focus through clenched lids and hands. Change the passage you’ve been studying or switch up your reading plan (yes, even if you’re still in the middle of one). The point is relationship, the Word is the source, and God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.