Are you struggling with motivation to read the Bible? You’re not alone. Here are 5 ideas to rekindle your love for God’s Word.
That time when I didn’t want to read the Bible…
Today I finally finished reading the Old Testament. Which means that as of today, I have officially read the entire Bible.
You may not know what a big deal this is for me. You see, I have been a Christian for TWENTY YEARS. Since age 13. And ever since, I have been ashamed of the fact that I had committed my entire life to God, yet I had not finished reading every word of the Bible.
Sure, I’d read the New Testament multiple times. Psalms and Proverbs? Lots and lots.
Even the majority of the Old Testament I had read more than once, intent on “reading through the Bible in a year,” yet never finishing.
I’d always get stuck somewhere around Ezekiel. Somehow I could not seem to make it through those minor prophets.
I consoled myself with the fact that I’d attended countless bible classes. And I had “probably read” so many bits and pieces of the Old Testament, it was basically like reading the whole thing from start to finish. Right?
Except it wasn’t. I knew it, and felt like a hypocrite for trying to teach others something I hadn’t even read myself.
It’s funny how feeling guilty about something can make it seem even more impossible to accomplish, eh? A sense of duty squelches desire.
No desire to read the bible? This might help
Thus a mental block was created, where feeling like a failure in my bible reading caused me to lose my motivation to read the Word much.
But, this year I finally committed to finish, no matter how long it took and even if I could only manage to read a chapter a day.
And today, when I finally flipped the page to the final book of the Old Testament, relief washed over me. And one of the last verses of Malachi leapt off the page:
But for you who fear His name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.– Malachi 4:2
A promise of healing. A balm to my spirit.
Maybe, just maybe, we can heal our fraught relationship with the Word of God, get rid of the guilt, and soak it in the way God intended.
Here’s the text volley between my husband & I when I finished that last verse. I can’t wait to read the Bible the second time with zero guilt!
5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Spend More Time in God’s Word
Maybe you feel this too. Perhaps your desire and delight for the Word is waning. To help, I jotted down a few ways we can dig out of this pit of obligatory reading, and cultivate a heart that wants to meditate on the Word.
If you’re wondering, “How can I read more of the Bible?” or “How can I develop interest in reading the Bible?” I pray these ideas help you.
1. Realize it’s not about willpower
The moment you try to force yourself to read the Bible based on willpower, you’ve taken the heart out of the equation.
God did not create rules surrounding the reading of His word, He simply wants you to open it and soak it in. So while a resolution to read the Bible through in a year seems like a noble one, it may unintentionally create an attitude around Scripture that is like checking it off a to-do list.
Understand that learning how to love reading the bible is not an act of human will. Pray for God to stir a longing in your heart for Scripture (He can!), and that you will become like the Psalmist:
“For I find my delight in your commandments, which I love. I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.”
“Oh, how I love Your law! All day long it is my meditation.”
“I open my mouth and pant, longing for Your commandments.”
(Psalm 119:47-48, 97, 131)
2. Drop the guilt
This relates to willpower, but releasing guilt is so necessary when it comes to motivation.
When I knew I needed to finish reading through the entire Bible, it created a sense of guilt within me that was completely counterproductive. This guilt actually caused me to read the Bible less, not more.
My thoughts went something like this: “Mary, I can’t believe you still haven’t finished the Old Testament! Some Christian you are…”
It’s impossible to feel excited about something and simultaneously hold guilt about it.
The devil loves to use condemnation like this to keep us out of the Word.
Remember, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1).
When we let go of our guilt surrounding the fact that we need to read our Bible more, it will free us up to bask in what God wants to say to us.
How can you take yourself from “I have to read the Bible” to “I get to read the Bible”? Let go of the guilt.
3. Meditate on Gods love for you
His love isn’t dependent on you performing acts of goodness. It doesn’t hinge on how many hours you spend reading the Bible. It just is.
Take five minutes and silence all your devices. Go out into nature if you can, into a quiet place. Close your eyes and bring your mind to the cross. Think about the care God has shown you through your life.
Bask in the glow of His love for you, no strings attached. When you are filled with His love, you will be more motivated to hear what He has to say.
And meditate on the miracle that God’s Word can accomplish something great in you. “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)
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4. Just one chapter (or a few verses)
If your true goal is learning how to read the bible daily, this idea may make it more attainable.
In a book series I loved reading as a teen, the main character talks about how she motivates herself to read the Bible every day. She said that even if she’s super exhausted or doesn’t feel like reading, she just opens her Bible and read one chapter a day, or even a few verses, no matter what.
Sometimes we think that in order for our Bible reading to be powerful and effective, we must spend and uninterrupted 30 minutes in quiet contemplation and study. This simply isn’t true, nor is it practical for a many life stages.
If you do your best to read one chapter a day, or even just a few verses, it can make all the difference. And ask God to open your eyes to exciting truths you as you read. “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 119:18).
By making this lifelong habit, you will be amazed at how much of God’s word you will hide in your heart and how this will begin to change you.
5. Use whatever format works for you
I’ve heard it said that reading your Bible on a device is less effective than holding a book and flipping the pages by hand. While this is indeed a beautiful experience and is less prone to distraction, the best kind of Bible for you is the one you will actually read.
So if you haven’t been reading your Bible because your physical version is tucked away somewhere, don’t let that stop you. Your phone is with you at all times, so download a great Bible app and read it in moments where you are waiting in line, etc.
Hiding the word in your heart is not dependent on what format your Bible is in. You may be a slow visual reader, but you absorb information great in audio form. Listen to an audio Bible!
Another great option is the Reader’s Bible, which eliminates all the distracting chapter & verse numbers and reads more like a novel.
Most of all, keep in mind the benefits to you of dwelling on the Word. You will be refreshed and strengthened! You will be filled with joy, purpose, and wisdom!
The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.– Psalm 19:7
Have you ever been stuck reading the Bible through? What helps you stay motivated?