As a Christian woman, how much time would you say you spend reading the bible? Everyday? Once a week on Sundays? Once a month? Hardly ever?
What do you think keeps Christians from reading the bible regularly? What hinders you? Some of the most commonly googled questions in regard to this topic include:
- Why is it so hard for me to read the bible?
- Why do I struggle to read the bible?
- Why do I get bored when reading the bible?
- How can I easily understand the bible?
- How do you spend time with God when you don’t want to?
- Is it a sin to not read the bible?
If you have encountered any of these questions from others, or if they have ever crossed your mind, then this is the post for you. We will look at seven main reasons why Christians don’t read the Bible regularly, and how to combat each of them.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
- How We View the Bible Matters
- Reasons Christians Don’t Read Their Bibles Regularly
- Fall in Love With God’s Word
How We View the Bible Matters
Before we dive into the reasons why Christians don’t read the Bible regularly, it’s important to look at the main thing that impacts how much time anyone will ever spend reading the Bible: how they view the Bible.
We live in an age where tons of people self-identify as “Christian”, but the term does not mean the same for everyone. How individuals define their Christianity has to do with their worldview (philosophy of life or conception of the world).
Whether we realize it or not, everyone has a worldview. And true Christians, have a biblical worldview. To have a biblical worldview is to believe and accept the entire Bible as the inspired Word of God, and our sole sufficient and ultimate authoritative source for salvation, faith, life, and godliness.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV
In her book, Faithfully Different, Natasha Crain gives us a great list of examples of the broad range of people who self-identify as Christians:
- Someone who has a biblical worldview, holds to the tenets of the historic Christian faith and is an active follower of Jesus (true Christians)
- Someone who says they’re a Christian simply because they were raised in a Christian household (even if they no longer have an active faith in Jesus)
- Someone who agrees generally with some Christian values, but rejects core doctrines of Christianity
- Someone who rejects the authority of the Bible, but considers themselves a “Jesus follower”
- Someone who says they’re a Christian but also holds beliefs that are in significant conflict with a biblical worldview (i.e. reincarnation)
The key point here, is that anyone who does not have a biblical worldview, most likely won’t even consider spending time reading, learning, or studying the bible on a regular basis. In fact, because of how they view the bible, most believe the bible is just a man-made book, that is full of errors, outdated, and irrelevant for the world we live in today.
However, for true Christians that hold a biblical worldview, it is imperative that we read and learn the very book on which our entire faith is built. And for that reason, it is important that we learn to overcome the things that keep us from reading our bibles regularly.
- How We Got the Bible: A Historical Overview
- What is the Importance of the Word of God for Today’s Christian?
Reasons Christians Don’t Read Their Bibles Regularly
I’m sure if we really put some thought into it, we could come up with a long list of reasons or excuses as to why Christians don’t pick up their bibles regularly. However, I’ve summed up most of them into seven main reasons.
1. Lack of Understanding
Have you ever read a passage of Scripture that left you feeling very confused, and saying to yourself, ‘I have no idea what I just read’?
Many Christians will have a similar experience. Unfortunately, most will then decide that understanding the bible is too hard, and then stop reading it altogether.
First of all, it’s absolutely normal to read scripture and feel confused by some of the passages. But, the good news is that there is a solution for this. If you’ve been struggling to read the bible, or wondering what makes reading the bible difficult, you can ask God for understanding!
The bible itself teaches that God has given us everything we need for Christian living through our knowledge of Him. And all our knowledge of Him comes from His Word.
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.2 Peter 1:3 NIV
And since the bible is our source of knowledge about God, we can rest assured that God will give us what we need to understand His Word. In fact, all true believers have the Holy Spirit within them that can open their minds to be able to understand Scripture.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.Luke 24:44-45 NIV
God wants us to know Him more. And wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are His to freely give.
- For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 NIV
- If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5 NIV
All we have to do is ask like the writer did in Psalm 119:
- Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18 NIV
- Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Psalm 119:33-34 NIV
- Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands. Psalm 119:73 NIV
- I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. Psalm 119:125 NIV
Don’t be surprised if God enhances your understanding in various ways and through various means (i.e. a sermon, another brother or sister in Christ, a blog post, a podcast, etc).
NOTE: Selecting an easy to read version of the bible also helps with understanding. My top recommendations are: the New International Version (NIV), the English Standard Version (ESV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), and the Amplified Bible (AMP).
For additional help with selecting versions, knowing where to start reading, or using a bible reading checklist be sure to read: 4 Simple Steps to Begin Reading the Entire Bible
2. The False Belief: “It’s Only for Preachers”
When it comes to reading the bible, it is common for Christians to have the false belief that reading, learning, or studying the bible in any type of detail is only for preachers.
Now make no mistake, preachers and teachers of the Word have a calling, and they will be judged more strictly by God in regard to what He has called them to do (James 3:1). So yes, they should be studying more in general. However, ALL Christians have a responsibility to read, learn, and even study the bible.
From the days of Moses when the ten commandments were written on stones and the Old Testament laws on scrolls, God has always commanded ALL of His people to learn His Word:
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.Deuteronomy 6:6-7 NIV
And that message did NOT change in the New Testament:
- Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:4 NIV
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 ESV
- Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 NLT
- Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV
God wants to be in a close relationship with ALL of His children, not just preachers! God has so much to teach and show us about Himself. Not to mention the blessings that result from reading and learning the bible.
BE SURE TO READ:
3. The False Belief: “Going to Church is Enough”
Another false belief that many Christians will often adapt is the belief that going to church is enough. However, this too is just another excuse for not picking up our bibles during the week.
Keep in mind that anyone can just show up at church.
Now don’t get me wrong. You should go to church as often as your schedule will permit. Church fellowship is indeed a method of learning the bible. However, it is NOT by any means the sole method by which we should learn the bible, nor does the bible teach that it is.
After all, how will you know if what you are being taught is truth? The bible is clear that there were many false teachers in the first century church, and there are even more today!
- I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Acts 20:29-31 NIV
- Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around. 1 John 4:1 TLB
- The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1 NIV
As Christians, we must be able to discern the difference between false teachers, false teachings, and truth. Only personal study can help us to do this.
Imagine being solely dependent upon your pastor to teach you everything you need to know about God. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to have to wait 6 days in between sermons to hear from God.
Even if you never missed a Sunday sermon, there are so many things that God wants to teach you specifically in regards to your life. When we spend quality, personal time with God by reading His Word, He teaches us things specific for us.
I can’t tell you how often God gives me the Word I need to hear specifically for something I’m going through. That is what building a relationship with God looks like. And it can be that way on a daily basis for you too – if you want!
4. Lack of Desire
Another reason that Christians don’t read the bible regularly, is that they have no desire to read the bible.
Our lack of desire to read the bible typically parallels the amount of time we spend reading the bible. However, the good news is that, just like with a lack of understanding, we can ask God for a desire to read and learn His Word. We don’t naturally crave the bible. However, the Holy Spirit within us can give us the desire for it.
Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.Psalm 119:36-37 NIV
So, if you’ve been wondering how to want to read the bible, all you have to do is ask God to give you a desire for His Word. I promise you, that eventually you will find your attitude towards the bible shifting to the point that you will say things like:
- For I delight in your commands because I love them. Psalm 119:47 NIV
- Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Psalm 119:97 NIV
- The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. Psalm 119:72 NIV
- How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 NIV
Remember the bible is our spiritual food. Can you imagine getting to the point where you feel the way the writer did in the verses above? To where you hunger for God’s Word spiritually the way you hunger for food physically.
I challenge every Christian to just start reading the bible, ask God for a desire for His Word, and watch God begin to transform your attitude towards it!
NOTE: These principles hold true for those of you who feel the bible is boring or puts you to sleep, or if you get easily distracted when you read the bible. Ask God for illumination and focus when you do spend time with Him. Reading in short periods of time is helpful when you’re first starting (i.e. 5-10 minutes).
For other helpful tips to make your reading journey more “fun” check out: 5 Reasons Why Memorizing Scripture is Essential and Fun Ways to Do it
5. It’s Not a Priority
In the busy society we live in today prioritizing time to spend with God often gets overlooked.
If we stay so busy doing everything but reading the bible, again we miss out on building our relationship with God and all the blessings and benefits that come with getting to know Him more.
- So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:31-33 NIV
- Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8a NIV
The verses are clear and simple. Make God a priority in your life, and you will deepen your relationship with Him, and He will take care of all your needs. Essentially, we are as close to God as we choose to be.
The question is, where on your list of priorities does God fall? How close do you want to be to God? How well do you want to know Him?
6. Lack of Discipline
Some Christians, truly seek to spend time in God’s word, and have even tried to implement a regular bible reading routine. Then at some point, their discipline and consistency begin to diminish.
Because I am a big stickler for discipline in general, I always love to challenge Christians when it comes to any area of their lives in which their excuse is a lack of discipline.
True self-discipline and self-control actually come from God.
- For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
As you can see, it is the Spirit of God within us, that gives us the power to be disciplined.
We simply need to decide that instead of making excuses for why we don’t read the bible, that we are going to push ourselves to prioritize our time with God, and make an effort to do it regularly.
7. Don’t Want to Be Convicted or Confronted With Truth
The reason for not wanting to read the bible regularly that most Christians won’t readily admit to (at least not out loud) is that they don’t want to be convicted or confronted with truth.
Most Christians, if we are being honest with ourselves, have certain things we don’t want to turn away from or abandon for the sake of Christ which is why we try to put off turning away from them as long as possible.
We don’t want to be confronted with our sin in our personal study, in conversation with others, or during a sermon at church, so we avoid the bible altogether just to avoid such confrontation or conviction.
The Apostle Paul addresses this issue best in his letter to the church in Rome:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect willRomans 12:1-2 NIV
Paul was encouraging the believers at the church in Rome to live for Christ by being new and different people with a newness in what they do and think. No matter what version you read this passage in, you will see that it talks of a newness of thinking or renewing of the mind. And can you guess how we go about having our minds renewed to live for Christ? By reading and learning His Word!
When you renew your mind by reading the bible regularly, then and only then will you learn from your own experience how God’s ways will really satisfy you. In other words, God will begin to transform and renew your thinking about your sin, and you will begin to find satisfaction in His word and His will for your life!
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.Psalm 119:11 NIV
Fall in Love With God’s Word
It is important that we don’t view reading the bible as just an obligation, chore, or something to check off from our to-do-list. Rather, we should see it as time to get to know our heavenly Father, to learn how to serve and obey Him, and to cultivate our relationship with Him so that we can enjoy the associated blessings.
In a world where the term “Christian” is being used more and more loosely to mean many different things, it is vital for those of us who profess to be true bible believing Christians to cling to the Word of God and stand firm on its truths.
Saying that we just can’t do it, or don’t have time to read the bible is unacceptable. Not to mention it contradicts His Word, as he has already provided us with His Holy Spirit to help us obey everything He asks us to do.
There are far too many options to get more God time in your day, for us to continue coming up with reasons and/or excuses for not reading our bibles regularly. It is up to us to make God a priority in our lives.
Even if you have read through the bible once already and consider yourself “done” with it, it’s important to realize that the Bible cannot be exhausted. We will NEVER know everything there is to know about God while on this side of heaven. Even the Apostle Paul at the height of his ministry said this:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.Philippians 3:10 NIV
God wants us to know Him more and more through His Word. There is no end date given, or any level of knowledge set to attain. Reading the bible isn’t just something on a checklist, it is meant to be a lifelong pursuit for every Christian.
So, start today by simply opening your bible and getting started. It can be 1-2 times a week, on whatever days work best for you. Its not about the days you pick, the time of the day you choose, or even the amount of time you set aside. It’s about establishing a regular routine in which you intentionally spend time reading God’s Word.
Ask God to open up your understanding as you begin to read His Word. Pray for a desire to be consistent in your reading. And decide that no matter what, you are going to be disciplined by the power of the Holy Spirit to make time with God a priority in your life.
I promise, once you start to do these things, you will find yourself falling in love with God’s Word, and therefore, falling more in love with Him!
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