Bored reading the Bible?
Ever thought “I get bored reading the Bible.”
If you’ve been saved a while, let’s face it: reading the Bible can at times seem overly familiar and even repetitive. I’ll bet you’ve memorized so many verses you can recite them with your eyes closed. As the pastor preaches, you’re probably one of those people saying the scripture out loud as he’s reading it. If this sounds super familiar, you may have pondered the following question: how do I make reading my Bible fun and exhilarating again or why am I bored reading the Bible?
I’m so glad I’m writing this post. I think many Christians feel this way and are simply ashamed to say it. That’s one conversation you never hear two girlfriends having over lunch. No one is going to say “I get bored reading the Bible!” Girl, I feel like I’m reading the same things over and over and over again”. You know some people have to feel that way sometimes, but few are brave or honest enough to say it out loud.
Thank God He knows everything about us and still loves us just as much. I even think He understands we may get bored reading the Bible. David explained it best when he said we are but smoke; a silly little vapor that passes away. Our human frailness makes us prone to feelings like boredom, disobedience, fickleness, etc. God knows this about us. It’s no secret. In fact, it’s part of the way He created us. In the end, it’s why we need Him and His Word so much.
Did you know some people are more hardwired to get bored quicker than others? An article confirms this theory. It’s Temma Ehrenfeld’s article “Why Some of Us Get Bored-and Some Don’t” on the website Psychology Today. Her context is marriage, but I see some applications here. Could your boredom [with things done by rote] be linked to your temperament or your personality? I think so. In her article, she references people who are thrill-seekers. If you’re one of them (I certainly am), then reading Bible passages you already have memorized could be maddening for you. Again, God understands – He created you that way.
You can’t misunderstand me though. Just because He understands doesn’t mean you get a pass. You just have to make reading His Word more interesting to your natural man and even your learning style. I have a few ideas:
Tip 1 when the Bible seems boring:
Read another translation. If you’re like me, you were raised on the King James version. You know the one with the “thee’s” and “thous”. That’s the version from which I memorized scripture and when I read it now, my brain goes on autopilot. I can just spout the scriptures out without thinking. Without thinking – therein lies the problem. That’s why I love to experiment with other translations. Two of my favorites are the New American Standard version or Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible. Theologians recommend these translations and the cadence is just different enough to make the Word fresh again. Try it.
Tip 2 when the Bible seems uninteresting:
Listen to the Bible from an app. If you learn best by hearing things, this could be a real blessing to you. The YouVersion Bible app has a feature that will actually read the Bible to you as you drive to work or get ready in the morning. Important tip: listen to scriptures you’ve read earlier in the day. Listening to the Bible can easily become “white noise”. Besides, it’s easy to be distracted so I think it’s better to use it as a way of reinforcing something you’ve read earlier. Do you agree?
Tip 3 when the Bible seems tedious:
Journal it. Pick one scripture and dig deeper into it. Free-hand write two paragraphs about what a scripture means to you. Then, look it up in a commentary to see what other theologians have said about it. Next, grab a concordance (or find one online) and look up the words in the scripture.
Ask the Holy Spirit what the scriptures means to you in your current life season? Ask Him and wait in silence. He may show you something very specific. Similarly, ask Him what it means to others in your life?
Finally, ask Him what He wants you to do with that scripture NOW.
This very moment.
The goal is to dig into the depths of the scripture and find the Holy Spirit’s intent. Pondering the Word of God in this way allows you to take it beyond the part of your brain responsible for memorizing and engrafts it into your heart.
I learned another way to accomplish the same on a blog written by Leah Lesesne, MA, CSP called Shelemah. She says:
“When we read the Bible, the goal should never be to finish, to check a box off on a list, to add another memory verse to our collection; the goal should always be to let our hearts align more and more with the heart of Jesus.”
The Word can’t be something we just do; it can’t be the sort of commonplace that numbs our ears to it.
She went on to use the same word I used in this post: rote. Memorization (or knowing the Bible by memory) is a good thing when you’re a new Christian, but when it’s already deeply ingrained, it’s easy to miss much of what the Lord is trying to do and say to us because it’s just too familiar.
Being accustomed to it may also be a barrier to the Word changing our hearts. It becomes like that pretty picture you purchased years ago and now you walk by it without even noticing it. No good. Check out what Leah says here:
“There’s nothing wrong with memorizing scripture, but when we place rote memorization and knowledge above relationship with the Holy Spirit and letting Him guide us, we’ve missed the point of reading scripture.” Visit her post called “Why I’m not memorizing scripture this year”. Click here to view her full post.
I wrote this for seasoned Christians who have a strong handle on scripture texts and stories.
Let’s be clear: if you’re a fairly new Christian, I recommend sitting down and reading your Bible daily. I urge you to spend as much time in it as possible. Only then, you will see your life, mind and heart transform into being more like Christ. Hide the Word in your heart. Make sure it’s in your heart and not just your brain.
Again, it’s not a sin to find it a little dry and boring from time to time. Let me give you a personal example that makes a lot of sense: I find taking vitamins boring and even burdensome; but I take them. I know they render a greater benefit than I can fully imagine or even understand. The same with God’s word, it’s working even if it feels routine and a bit mundane. Never stop ingesting it – just find other ways to do it.
I hope you’ll try my ideas to make the Bible fresh again. But, whatever you do, don’t stop reading your Bible.