Dear Reader, this is not to scold you. Not at all. This is not a message of condemnation—far be it from me to hand that out. Hopefully, this will be a message of encouragement to us all (including myself). This is meant to be a reminder of what is real and what truly matters most.
I’ve been there, too. There are days when the reading of lengthy genealogies causes my eyelids to close. Days when I’m frustrated with scrutinizing the names of kings I have no earthly idea how to pronounce, and times when I need to rush to finish because, in the moment, pressing needs feel far more important than the ancient document I hold in my hands.
We’re only six weeks into a fresh year, and have you grown weary (or bored) with the daily Bible reading plan you started with such gusto on January 1st? Are you slogging your way through Genesis, Chronicles, a Psalm a day with a sprinkle of gospel, and feel your mind drifting as you cover the pages assigned to you?
If so, there’s an antidote for Bible reading boredom, you know. As one who’s been at this awhile, I hope you’ll indulge me as I share some thoughts with every intention of encouraging your pursuit of God. Because, actually, that’s what Bible reading should be all about.
If you’re checking the box on your daily reading plan, to simply accomplish another “good task” or you’re reading to relax your mind before bed and using the words on the page as a sedative—I must tell you: you’re missing the point. You’re missing the joy. You’re missing out on receiving what the Author intends for you.
He’s given us a sweet promise, delivered through one of my favorite Old Testament prophets. Listen to his message to us:
“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2)
When we come to His Word with an awe and expectation—that childlike trembling in anticipation of the gift before us—He will meet with us.
How can we be bored with that?
The best antidote I’ve found for days when I find myself slogging through the Word, is to pause and ask Him to let me see Him at work in the passage. Seeing Christ at work in the Old Testament, seeing God’s orchestration of events and His kind providence in the lives of ancient peoples, watching the Savior moving with compassion throughout the gospel narratives—these are the moments that will stir our affections and provide us with the tangible experience of feeding on the life giving Word of God.
There is a danger in removing yourself so far from the words on the page, that you’re no longer conversing with the Author as you read.
When I humbly ask Him for help as I read—He delights in supplying that help. As I ask Him to reveal to me His heart in a passage, and I mull the words over—often looking at the references listed in the Study Bible’s margins—and sit with the passage, or single verse for a bit, He provides understanding. It doesn’t always come immediately. Sometimes, the insight hits when I’m loading the laundry in the washer, or brushing my teeth (that’s the most common activity for my “aha” moments), or taking a walk.
Boredom with Scripture happens when the reader opens the Word with an “entitlement mentality”—demanding entertainment and Chinese-fortune-cookie-feel-goods. I wouldn’t classify that approach as “trembling” before God’s holy Word. I’d classify that in about the same category as vegging out in front of a screen.
The problem is, so often we’re caught in the danger zone of self-deception that James warns of, that we don’t even realize that’s our approach. And then we wonder why Bible reading is so dry and boring.
What is the purpose of reading Scripture, anyway?
Why should we bother with developing a daily reading habit, or embark on an actual study of these ancient writings?
One of my favorite authors explains the reason:
“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30—31).
All of Scripture is written to reveal and introduce to us the beauty and wonder of Jesus. That’s it. Yes, it’s written to provide us with instruction and edification. It’s written to explain why we’re here, what our problem is, and how to resolve that problem (that would be called the gospel). But, at the deepest and most basic level, the reason for Scripture is to reveal the Son. And in revealing Him, it allows us to come close and get to know Him. As we look at Him, through the lens of Scripture, we can’t help but be impacted (and astounded, really) by His story.
No other has demonstrated such love, such compassion, such humility, such care for you.
How can that be boring?
I encourage you to allow the wonder and beauty of who He is to stir your affections and to fill your mind with reflection as you walk with Him through His Word. When you catch yourself drifting off, or staring into space with a zombie-like deadness, ask Him. Invite Him, by His Spirit, to open your heart to receive from His Word what He knows you need to hear and understand. Ask Him. I dare you.
And before I go, I’m compelled to give you a brief update, since it’s been so terribly long since I’ve posted. Please forgive me for that.
We are still here, still in isolation and waiting, still viewing this season as an assignment from the Father—one we never anticipated. We still solidly stand on the truth that:
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Life has been full these months, too much to convey in this one post, but I’ve only been silent here because my schedule limits the amount of time I can devote to blog-writing (and perhaps in a future post I’ll share more about where my writing time is going these days).
For those of you who are still our steadfast prayer warriors, I do apologize that I’ve not updated you in awhile. I am grateful for you—even when you don’t hear from me. Truly grateful.
If you’re a new reader here, and not aware, my husband has a rare neurological disease that caused spinal cord damage that left him crippled and experiencing daily debilitating pain. You can read the post I wrote about that (early in the journey) by clicking here.
My husband had another strange looking area appear on his leg which was biopsied in December. The pathology report indicates that he’s now dealing with an additional disease—although there is no exact diagnosis yet. His neurologist set up a series of tests, another spinal cord MRI, and an appointment with another specialist to try to determine what is going on in his body.
Although he is in constant pain from scar tissue on his spinal cord, he still begins each day by shepherding me in the Word and prayer. He leads me, as together we lay out enormous requests before the Father. Time spent in the Word with him is never boring. And I do not take that for granted.
It is puzzling to me how differently our life has turned out: the extreme limitations and isolation we experience, the significant loss of many dreams and personal joys, the crippling of my strong, athletic man—and the fact that I know Jesus could heal him, but has some purpose in not providing that.
Even with his pain though, every day, I have the benefit of receiving his insight and knowledge through years of studying the Word. Every day, I’m privileged to witness his faithful devotion to His Savior. Every day, I see him push beyond the pain to seek to honor our heavenly Father. His prayers are saturated with Scripture, and he focuses on each person we pray for with a purity of heart that inspires me.
Others left in a debilitated condition like his might be resentful or bitter. Not my husband. He reiterates the truth of the Word often, stating that every good gift comes from the “Father of lights” (James 1:17). I am most privileged to serve as his caregiver.
We leave for his appointments in Dallas the last day of this month, and would be most grateful for your prayers for that medical trip.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to post more regularly soon, I’ve missed all of you. May you find much joy in meeting with our Savior through His precious Word this day.