3 Things to Do When Bible Study Seems Lifeless

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Sometimes studying the Bible is difficult. Let’s be real for a minute, okay? It is not always easy to open this massive old book and dive into it. What we read doesn’t always make sense, and sometimes we just aren’t at all interested in God’s words to us. I think it’s safe to say that even the strongest and most sophisticated Christians sometimes feel this.

Studying the Bible can seem lifeless.

I remember going to middle school at a summer camp, hearing the pastor tell us that he wanted us to come back the next year with Bibles so annotated, underlined, and full of notes that they were almost falling apart. I also remember thinking how the hell am I going to do this?

Last summer I sat in a room with other young adults at our weekly church meeting, seeing everyone around me mark and write in their Bibles and journals as we collectively studied a passage in Philippians… and I couldn’t think of anything to take note of. Nothing jumped out at me, nothing sparked questions in my mind, and I felt like I was missing everything completely.

Even in my moments of personal calm over the years, there are many times it feels like a struggle to connect with the life and truth of the scriptures. The whole idea of ​​”Bible study” can seem boring or like a burden, even when I know deep down that the Word of God is life-giving and restorative for my soul.

At the start of this year, I knew I wanted to immerse myself in intentional Bible study every day, but the idea was still daunting. I know what it’s like to go through seasons of life where I completely ignore my Bible, and I knew I didn’t want to continue that pattern.

“If you happen to feel overwhelmed by Bible study but want to move,” writes Laura Booz for Revive Our Hearts, “I have a plan to get us off the ground.

I am grateful for the advice Booz shares. I agree with her that “it is really possible to learn to study the Bible even when it seems impossible.”

Here are three things we need to do:

  1. “Adjust our state of mind. “ There have certainly been times in my life when I have treated the Bible as an option, or as if my quiet time is an added bonus. As I matured as a Christian, I learned that reading the scriptures is not an option, but a necessity for my faith. “The Word of God is our food and our fortress. This is how we know Jesus, ”writes Booz. “It means we need to adjust our mindset to believe that studying the Bible is necessary for us, even though it may require significant sacrifice and investment. “
  2. “Have someone help you.” This has been one of the most significant steps I have personally taken. Studying the Bible with others, asking for guidance, sharing prayer and scripture reading together, and just hanging out with another believer in daily faith practices is extremely encouraging and rewarding. Find a friend, pastor, mentor, or loved one who will hold you accountable and help you stay engaged in your Bible study.
  3. “Practice consistent, high quality practice. ” The cliché says that “practice makes perfect”, and while I have always cringed at those words, there is no denying that daily practice improves our skills and abilities in any field we are in. This is equally true of studying the Word of God – we must do this daily to continue exercising these muscles and strengthening our faith. “If we practice Bible study – say, for ten high-quality minutes a day – we’re going to shake the walls of impossibility and… to improve. We will take our bearings in this great Book, we will learn the vocabulary and we will gradually discover the eternal pleasures hidden in these pages, ”explains Booz.

While studying the Bible can be difficult at times, it is not impossible. Although it may seem lifeless, God can and will kindle a new fire in us when we spend time reading the truth. It is not by our own strength that we are able to overcome the obstacles in our path to truly imbue ourselves with the Word of God, but by the strength of God within us.

Like Proverbs 2: 1-6 says, “If you accept my words and store my commandments within you, listening to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, indeed, if you call for insight and cry out aloud for understanding, and if you seek it as for money and seek it as hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; out of his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

When you open your Bible today, cry out to God to understand you. Ask that he open your eyes and heart to the truth of his goodness and faithfulness. Ask him to increase your knowledge and impart more of his wisdom to you. Ask that he meet you as you study his Word, for we know the Bible is a great treasure and a gift from God to encourage and equip us in our faith.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Publication date: March 16, 2017

Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com

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