A while back I posted on Instagram, based the emails and messages I receive, there seems to be a couple of common obstacles to our daily Bible reading. I was able to sift out two external problems and then corresponding internal problems.
Overwhelmingly the response was, “Yes! Those are our struggles.” Now, we’re going to take the time to dig deeper into them, or at least one of them in this post.
The first glaring obstacle so many of you either outright named or at least alluded to is fear of reading your Bible. I use the word fear but really fear is the umbrella so many other concerns could fit under.
Some messages were concerned with not being smart enough, or at least not Biblically or spiritually literate enough to read and understand the Bible. Being intimidated to read the Bible fell under this concern as well.
Let me just clear this up as simply as I possibly can and then we’ll talk some more about it. For some, just this one sentence will be enough…
You are smart enough to read the Bible.
I could end right there because there really aren’t two ways about it, you’re smart enough, I’m smart enough, we’re all smart enough to read the Bible.
I’m not going to reason with you here based on education or experience. I’m probably one of the least qualified to argue educational background as a precursor for Biblical literacy. I have a high school diploma. And that piece of paper was barely earned 28 years ago. I’ve slept a little since then and with seven children 20-6, I’ve had mommy brain half of my life!
Let me interrupt my “You can do it!” tirade to say, I am speaking to the extraordinary woman (and maybe a few men read here?) who want to grow in closer friendship with God. I’m not talking about reading to earn some letters after your name—not that there’s anything wrong with that, that’s just not who I’m addressing here. And yes, I specifically chose the word ‘extraordinary’ over ordinary. You’re welcome.
When someone says, “I’m not smart enough to read the Bible” are they really saying, “I’m afraid I won’t understand it and will feel stupid.” Or are they saying “I’m afraid I won’t understand it and will have wasted that amount of precious time on a worthless pursuit.” Or are they saying, “I can read the Bible all the live long day and still won’t be able to recite memory verses, recall topical Scriptures, or be able to defend my faith Biblically.”
Let’s back the Jesus train up a bit! All we’re talking about is reading the Bible for the sake of reading God’s Word. That’s it. It’s almost too simple isn’t? The idea of reading the Word of God strictly for the purpose of reading His Word—no ulterior motive or hidden agenda. See, when Bible reading gets broken down into its simplest form, how much knowledge or education someone has suddenly becomes irrelevant.
Are you starting to get a little more excited? Are you starting to think maybe, just maybe you can read your Bible?
The enemy wants you to think it’s hard and you’re not smart enough because he knows, “…the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12) He sure as…can I say it? He sure as literal hell doesn’t want you to sit down and read your Bible. He knows the simple act of reading your Bible is the simple act of spending time in God’s presence. If he can convince you Bible reading is a scholarly activity reserved for the very learned, he has won the battle. He doesn’t have to undo anything because you didn’t do anything. Easy peasy for the ‘ol Father of lies.
Let me address a couple of points about understanding what you’re reading.
1. The more you read, the more you understand.
You know this to be true about anything else in life and it applies to Bible reading as well. The more you do something, you better you become at it–except maybe parenting because all the little souls are so very different, lol! But even better in the Bible reading economy is the truth it is backed by God’s supernatural grace and steadfast love and the rewards and dividends are therefore supernaturally infused.
2. I will preach this all day, every day–if God’s wants you to understand something you are reading in your Bible, He will make sure you understand it!
This has nothing to do with you, your education, your Biblical literacy, nothing…but it has everything to do with God. He made the Apostles speak in all the languages of all the people present so they each understood what was being said. Surely you would think He would cause you to be able to understand.
I’ve encouraged you to read your Bible. I’ve dispelled the myth that you’re not smart enough. Now let me tell you how I do my daily Bible reading; I have three rules and four tools.
My four tools are my Bible, a pen, a highlighter, and sticky notes.
These are my favorite pens, but I also have an infinity for cheap hotel pens. (Speaking of which, feel free to send me your hotel pens, my soccer mom traveling days are almost over. I have one more trip and that’s it.)
These are my FAVORITE highlighters—yes, I love them that much!
The Bible I’m using right now for my daily reading.
My three rules are:
1. If I think it, I write it. As I’m reading along, if a thought pops into my mind, I write it down in the margin somewhere. If my thought is too big, I write it on the sticky note and stick it into my Bible. My thoughts range from, “Wow! Whoa! Gross! On no! What in the world! Why?” and other, more detailed notes or simple words like, “marriage, parenting, my mind, etc.”
2. If it makes me think I underline it. No matter what it is, no matter how many verses, if it makes no sense or perfect sense, whatever. If it makes me think, if sparks something, no matter how small, I underline it.
3. Go back and highlight. When I’m finished with my reading for the day, everything I’ve underlined or every thought I wrote down, I go back over with my highlighter. This is not color coded at all. I choose one highlighter for the day and use it. I highlight all the notes and all the underlined words or passages.
So after reading this post of encouragement, or bossing you into reading your Bible as only a first born, older sister can do, what other concerns do you have? What fears do we need to discuss?