If I handed out a survey to all the Christians I know with the question, “Does God want us to read His Word regularly”, I’m pretty confident that most people would reply with a confident “Yes!”. However, if I reworded the question to say, “Do you feel confident in your ability to study God’s Word?” I have a feeling I’d get a very mixed bag of responses. And if your answer to the second question is “not at all”, don’t beat yourself up! Studying God’s Word takes time, practice, patience, and faith. And the truth is, it’s not easy for anyone. That’s why the Christian church is so divided on so many issues. Things get confusing and that’s okay. If everything God said made 100% perfect sense to our human brains He probably wouldn’t be God. What’s not okay is deciding to give up on it all together because it’s just too hard. What is it your dad used to say? “Nothing worth having comes easy” (or something like that, right?).
But don’t worry, I’m not just going to hassle you to read your Bible and then leave you without any help. Here are some tips and tricks from your neighborhood DCE to make reading and interpreting God’s Word a little easier.
- Be Realistic About When (And How Much)
- I hear so many Christians say at the beginning of the year, “This year, I’m going to read the entire Bible cover to cover”. And some have! But if that’s not a plan that works for you, don’t force yourself to try it! You’ll just end up disappointed in yourself and giving up studying at all. Instead, look at your schedule and find some daily quiet time with God that you know you can follow through on. Maybe that’s listening to a devotional podcast on your way to work, maybe it’s reading a few verses at breakfast, maybe your family agrees to read a verse or two every time you drive to a ballpark. Whatever it is, don’t overwhelm yourself with it. While being in God’s Word should be a priority, it shouldn’t be a huge stressful ordeal that makes you feel like a terrible person.
- Don’t Treat God’s Word Like a Magic 8 Ball
- We all know (and have probably been) those Christians who just flip open their Bible to a random page and assume that’s what God wants them to hear that day. And while I’m sure that God can, and has, worked through that method (can you really call it a method?), it’s not the best course of action. The Bible is set up the way it is for a reason. Verses have context. There’s a reason they are the place they are, in the order that they are. God’s Word isn’t just a long list of advice, it’s full of historical events and situational context that, when properly understood, helps us understand how verses apply to us today. So, don’t do the flip method. You’ll just confuse yourself even more. If you want to study a certain topic, or you just don’t know where to start, talk to me! Or a pastor! We have lots and lots of resources that can get you started in a way that will be productive not random.
- Ask Questions About What You’re Reading
- Strong Christians ask questions. It’s my motto in life and I think everyone in the church should recite it daily. When you read God’s Word ask questions about the things you don’t understand. If you’re not around someone who could give you an answer, right them down and ask someone later. It could be a little question, like “How in the world do you say ‘Methuselah’?” or a big question like, “Why would a loving God destroy the world in a flood?” Both are valid and both have answers, but you have to ask. Also, if your kids have questions that you don’t know the answer to, it’s okay to tell them that! You don’t have to know everything to be a good Christian parent. But be a strong role model by following through and getting an answer to their question from me or a pastor! Questions are great. They show comprehension of what you’re reading. As my mom would say, “God gave you a brain, use it.”
Look, no ever promised this Christian Life thing would be easy. But it also doesn’t have to be as hard as you’re making it! Reach out this year so that you can dig into God’s Word with confidence that He is speaking to you. Don’t wait for next year’s resolutions, talk to myself or a Pastor at church and we’ll help you figure out a great place to start!
Written by: Hannah Hayden