Seven Questions to Ask Yourself When You Don’t Read the Bible
Diagnosis: “The act of identifying a disease, illness, or problem by examining someone or something” (Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary).
What if the “problem” you’re dealing with is spending little to no time in the Word of God? What could be the cause? What kind of "virus" may attack your spiritual health? Perhaps these questions can help in making a diagnosis and taking the first step to remedy it.
1. Am I truly a child of God? It’s normal for a child to find joy in spending time with his father; we should not expect this to be different in the spiritual realm. Since God reveals Himself through His Word, desire for the Bible is a hallmark of a Christian. This doesn’t mean there can’t be times of spiritual dryness, but if there is no longing for God’s truth at all for an extended time, you should ask yourself if you’re really part of His family (2 Cor. 13:5).
2. Am I too duty oriented? Reading the Bible should be more than a chore, a checkmark on today’s to do list. Yes, God commands us to be in His Word (Josh. 1:8) but remember, the goal is not routine but relationship. Read Scripture to grow in your knowledge of Him and His glorious character not to feel good about yourself.
3. Do I have wrong expectations? Some people say that for the truly spiritual person, reading the Bible always comes easy. This is not true. Our flesh is weak (Mat. 26:41) and purposeful reading with a heart to learn takes time and effort. The blessings will come, but dig you must (Prov. 2:1-5).
4. Do I understand enough of what I’m reading? Scripture’s main message is understandable for all, but perhaps you’re put off by what you don’t understand. Read slower. Focus on that which you do understand. Ask God to guide you through His Holy Spirit. Ask a more seasoned Christian for help, attend a Bible teaching church, buy a reliable Study Bible. But most of all, keep reading (Is. 55:11).
5. Do I have a plan? If you set a goal, you need to have a plan as well how to get there. Many good things don’t happen not because we don’t want to but because we don’t plan for it. Settle on a daily time when to read (Dan. 6:11) and decide in advance what you will read. Read the Bible systematically, instead of a little of this and a little of that. Bible reading schedules may be a help.
6. Do I live in unrepented sin? D.L. Moody said: “The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible”. How true. We often stay away from the Word of God because we live in unrepentant sin. Repentance and confession is the only way back. And God is gracious to forgive us when we come to Him with a contrite heart (1 Joh. 1:9; Heb. 12:1,2).
7. Do I live by grace? Did you ever feel that you were not good enough for God? Have you ever been so distraught by the vileness of your sin that you wanted to turn away from God instead of towards Him? Then it’s likely you stayed away from His Word. But God’s message is aimed at sinners. We must immerse ourselves continually in the Gospel of God’s grace and forgiveness (Eph. 2:8-10).