This is the next post in the series on God’s Word Quotes. You can find the other two here, God’s Word Quotes: Are You Ignorant? and God’s Word Quotes: Talk to Jesus. If you thought asking, “Are you ignorant” could be offensive, get ready for this post because, in it, we examine our laziness. Ouch! I’m sharing a quote from R.C. Sproul (Remember, this is an equal opportunity series. I’m quoting from Catholics, Protestants and hopefully, by the end, one of my children will have said something profound about God’s Word so I can quote from them) about why we don’t read and study God’s Word.
“We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”
Well now! But wait, before we get all offended, let’s consider if there’s any truth to this, even just a little. And let’s look at a couple of points: first, are we smart enough to understand the Word of God? Second, are we passionate enough about God and His Word? And finally, are we lazy?
God’s Word Quotes: Put in the Good Work
Are We Smart Enough to Understand the Bible?
The short answer is yes, yes we are smart enough to understand the Bible. There are many reasons for this, the first and foremost because of God. We are smart enough to understand the Bible because God wouldn’t leave us His Word without the ability to understand it. What would be the point? Now, will we understand everything in the Bible? No. Will God give us the grace and resources to understand what He wants us to understand? Of course! Saying we don’t read our Bible because we don’t understand it is an ugly excuse put in our mind by the enemy. He would like nothing more than to keep us from spending time with the “living and active” Word of God. So the enemy convinces us we’re not smart enough, we don’t know enough, we need concordances and commentaries, we need a Biblical dictionary, a degree in exegesis–I totally had to look this up. I hear the word, have no idea how to pronounce it and didn’t really know the definition until just now, Exegesis-critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture. Think about it, like really? God’s plan is to make His Word so off limits? We know that’s a lie!
If we don’t understand the Bible, there are two things we can do that will absolutely improve our comprehension of the Scriptures.
1. Pray before reading the Bible.
2. Read the Bible daily or at least frequently.
God’s Word states if we ask we will receive. God will most definitely and absolutely answer our humble prayer to understand His Word better. And if we’ve never prayed that prayer before, He’s been waiting for us to ask! He wants to show us more of Himself! But to reveal more of Himself, we have to be available to Him, to seek Him in His Word. Listen, if we listened to someone cook once a week, would we ever learn how to cook? If we only watched someone read once a week, would we ever learn how to read? Of course not! Don’t just listen to your pastor read and preach the Word of God one day a week, read it yourself.
I believe, if we humbly pray asking God to help us understand the Bible He will answer that prayer. I do not believe He will help me to know the original Greek or Hebrew, the political climate or religious inuendos…unless He wants me to understand them. I believe, because He’s done it, He will give my heart and mind an understanding–maybe not even something I can explain, and definitely not contrary to the Church’s teaching, but an understanding of what He wants me to know from His Word. This does not have to be hard and burdensome. This does need to be habitual. Again, see the cooking or reading examples above. In the context of relationship, if I only spoke to or listened to my husband once a week, I would not know or understand him. If I only had contact with my children once a week–at the most–again, I wouldn’t know or understand them.
Are We Passionate About God?
I know we can look up the synonyms for passionate and feel less than–trust me, I just did. Truth, I’m not in a place right now where I’m excited, enthusiastic, fervent or zealous about God. I wish I was, but right now, and honestly for the past couple of years, I’ve been pretty dry and desolate. I still show up–most days. I have to fight hard to show up most days and there are some days I don’t, there, I said it. There will be times when commitment will have to be stronger than passion; this is true in all relationships. And I believe these can be times of sweet and tender spiritual growth because the moments we choose to spend with God in the dry season, are an act of our will. We show up totally out of love for God without all the warm, fuzzy feelings. But, I don’t believe the seasons of desolation completely lack passion. I believe they can reveal a different type of passion. Using some synonyms for passionate–I believe they can reveal a forceful, fierce, heartfelt, and strong passion for love of God that cannot be measured in the emotions but in the will.
Are We Lazy?
And finally, are we just lazy? The short answer is yes, yes we are lazy when it comes to reading our Bible. We’re lazy because it’s not a habit or at least a ‘feel good all the time’ habit. We’re lazy because it requires something of us. We’re lazy because the enemy can attack us ever so quietly with that spirit to keep us from God’s Word. Reading our Bible is not hard, but it’s not as easy as plopping down in front of the television and zoning out or scrolling Facebook.
On a related note, have you ever heard of the term “acedia?” According to Wikipedia, “Acedia is essentially a flight from the divine that leads to not even caring that one does not care.” Our laziness when it comes to reading the Word of God may actually be a spiritual ailment. Kathleen Norris in her book, Acedia and Me, relates how she believes acedia is “a state of restlessness, of not living in the present and seeing the future as overwhelming.” Those thoughts and feelings will definitely keep us from reading our Bible right? According to Wikipedia again, she believes “it is especially present in monasteries, due to the cutting off of distractions, but can invade any vocation where the labor is long, the rewards slow to appear…” Marriage and motherhood anyone? One more quote from Wiki, “Norris relates, [acedia] is connected to the hopelessness and vague unease that arises from having too many choices, lacking true commitment…” Um, that about sums up modern day life with too many choices.
Even just getting started reading our Bible–which Bible do we choose? Leather? Hardback or paperback? Which translation? Wide margins for Bible journaling? What font size? Jesus’ words in red letter? Commentary in the margins? Reflections and applications sprinkled throughout? Order from Amazon or visit the local Christian bookstore? And I’m sure there are even more! It seems like everything is against us reading our Bible. Except God friends.
After all this, I may slightly disagree with R.C. Sproul’s God’s Word quote. Maybe we’re not entirely lazy, maybe we’re being attacked and simple, just overwhelmed? I go back to two of my opening points as a remedy, prayer and habit. Prayer and habit will help us overcome the difficulties we face when it comes to reading our Bible.
Remember, there are more posts in this series on God’s Word Quotes. You can read more here, God’s Word Quotes: Are You Ignorant and here, God’s Word Quotes: Talk to Jesus. Please share these posts using the buttons below or on the side to encourage your friends and family to read their Bible more.