Has reading the Bible become kind of a chore? Does it feel like something you would not choose to do if you didn't "have to"? If this describes your dilemma, be encouraged that this is extremely common, and many Christians know the struggle well. You probably know that you should be studying God's Word, but with all the different things that distract us and demand our attention every hour of every day, how do we make Bible study a priority and something we look forward to doing?
Reading the Bible can give us so much wisdom, but if we don't truly desire to put it into the heart and mind, then its impact is greatly diminished. It's like studying the theory of ceramics versus getting your hands onto the clay. It's reading your pre-med biology book when you're half-asleep, but when your friend's spleen ruptures, he's gonna be in big trouble. Reading the Bible as a "required chore" may help you gain intelligence, but you'll lack true wisdom. We've got a few ideas to help you get excited about the Bible so it can make a real difference in your life.
Often when we change our perspectives about a thing, then we can see that thing in a way that removes the daunting or boring connotations we have toward it. There are two ways I like to view the Bible:
Not to mention that when you get familiar with what God's Word says, you're preparing yourself for future conversations about your faith (1 Peter 3:15). Sometimes it's hard to explain why you believe what you believe or give a biblical reason for why you do what you do. Knowing the Bible will help you make your case or even help you encourage a friend who's hurting.
Having the perspective that the Bible is a personal, interactive letter to you from God and seeing it as a practical guide to help you in life can help you see the value and usefulness in spending time reading His Word.
"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 3:16-17
Different people learn best in different ways. Some may prefer to hunker down with a book or eReader, others may enjoy visual aides, others may need audio to fully comprehend a concept. Thankfully, the Bible is available in many different formats, both print and audio. You don't even need access to a physical book to read the Bible because you can easily find it online. (Two of our faves are BibleGateway.com and Got Questions Ministries' Bible Commentary site BibleRef.org.) The YouVersion app has audio of the entire Bible in certain translations. It isn't dramatized or anything, but it is at least a way to listen to God's Word while you're on the bus, waiting in line, or taking the dog for a walk.
Find a translation (or two or three!) that speaks to you. We would recommend having a few of the major translations of the Bible on hand so that you can compare them to each other for the most complete understanding. We like the ESV especially, but NIV is pretty decent too. Others enjoy using the NKJV (New King James Version), NAS (New American Standard), or NLT (New Living Translation). Being able to compare a few good, accurate translations will help give you a better idea of what a particular passage is saying. Keep in mind that The Message and The Living Bible are actually paraphrases, meaning that they aren't precise translations. They can be used to gain perspective on the meaning of a verse, but they shouldn't be used as your main Bible.
Read the Bible in Greek or Hebrew. No, we're not asking you to learn a whole new language (unless you want to!). But using an interlinear Bible, which has a side-by-side translation with the original language, can really help if a certain word is confusing to you. I love how seeing the original language gives a fuller, broader depth to the verse I am looking up. We really like using the interlinear Bible at BibleStudyTools.com.
It's so true that things which seem boring are always more interesting when you have friends helping you out. Cleaning your room by yourself? Pretty boring and lonely. Cleaning your room with your two best friends? Totally a different experience! Doing your history homework alone? Tiring and seems to take forever. Doing your history homework with your history nerd friend? So much more interesting and fun!
It's the same with the Bible. If you are doing Bible discussions with friends, joining in with youth group service projects, listening to faith-based podcasts and talking about it with someone, watching sermons online with family, etc., then you may find yourself getting more excited about discovering what God wants to tell you through the Bible (Hebrews 12:24-25).
If you're not sure how to study the Bible in the first place, take a look at this: How do I study the Bible?
We hope you have some new ideas about how to make reading the Bible more exciting and enticing in your life. God has shared His story with you and invites you to be a part of that story by actively interacting with Him through His Word. This an opportunity to connect with your Heavenly Father, who is always available to talk to you.
Make Bible study a priority that you look forward to by seeing at it as a personal letter to you from God and a Basic Guide to Life (2 Timothy 3:16). By reading God's Word, you prepare yourself for future conversations in which you will be asked to explain why you believe what you believe (1 Peter 3:15). Try experiencing the Bible through a variety of ways—print, screens, audio—and see what works best for you. Choose 2-3 translations and perhaps even an interlinear Bible for comparison and fuller understanding of God's Word. Uncover God's story and ultimate truths along with friends and make it a community thing (Hebrews 12:24-25).
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org and loves to write novellas with local young writers at her workshops. She also contributes at GotQuestions.org, Blogos.org, and GQkidz.org. When Catiana is not writing or hanging out with teens, she loves spending time with her two kids, five socially awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.