How to Start Reading Your Bible Again
Everybody comes to this point in their life (probably multiple times). You find yourself in the middle of a dry desert. It’s been a long time since you prayed on your own, read God’s Word on your own, or found yourself in awe of God after reading about him in his Word.
These are the times we feel distant from God, and it is usually because we have distanced ourselves from God. We have neglected to seek God in his Word or trust him in our prayers.
There is a multitude of excuses: too little time, forgetfulness, children, emergencies—it seems like the list gets longer every day you put off devoting time to seeking God.
At every turn, life just seems to always be getting in the way.
So what can I do when I am stuck and seemingly unable to take up and read his Word day by day?
Before we approach the ‘how’ to start reading again, we need to know why it is important to start reading the Bible again.
Do I really need to start reading my Bible again?
There isn’t a specific verse that commands us to read our Bibles every day. But the Bible repeatedly commends and commands the people of God to seek him.
And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
—Psalm 9:10 (KJV)
The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live forever.
—Psalm 22:26 (KJV)
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
—Psalm 27:8 (KJV)
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
—Psalm 34:10 (KJV)
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
—Psalm 63:1-2 (KJV)
But it’s not only the Psalms. Jesus himself commands us to seek God. When his disciples ask how they should pray, Jesus encourages them that God gives good gifts to children when they seek him:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
—Luke 11:9-13 (KJV)
Hebrews also says:
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
—Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)
Since God has made himself known in his Word, it is important to seek him there. To know God, we must read the Bible which is his own self-revelation of his character, attributes, and works.
Three Tips to Start Again
So, how do you go about returning to God’s Word after a pause? Here are four simple tips you can begin applying today.
1. Keep it Simple
I remember a point in my life when I felt the need to read multiples chapters, read a commentary, read a devotional, write one page of my thoughts, and pray.
While there may be a less busy stage in my life that I am able to do all this, that was not the time. I learned that the cliche is true: quality is more important than quantity. Reading God’s Word and aggressively applying it to your actions and affections for a short time will be more beneficial than hours of lackadaisical wandering over countless pages of information.
As you continue reading, you will be able to better focus your time to seek after God in an effective, diligent way (Hebrews 11:6). And as you become more efficient with limited time, you can add commentaries, devotionals, and writing if that is helpful for you.
The goal of keeping it simple is to lose the burden of feeling obligated to do everything. Keep it simple: read, pray, and sing a song.
2. Ask for Help
How can I ask for help with my own personal reading? Asking others for help can help to clarify what is truly keeping you from seeking God. Oftentimes, my biggest obstacle is being unmotivated in the face of fatigue, limited time, and responsibilities.
In my own experience, the most effective course-corrector has been the blunt words of other Christians who have shown they care about me.
God’s local church is uniquely gifted and commanded to help one another. We are specifically commanded to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
3. Make a Scheduled Commitment
“I will start next week when things at work die down.”
“I need to catch up on sleep tonight.”
“I won’t have any time tomorrow.”
Each of these excuses has run through my head more than once.
My pastor says something every now and again that has helped me a lot. He says, “The Christian life is simple, but it must be pursued.” Seeking to know and love God is not a complex series of steps, but it does require taking some steps.
Plan to make the next step. Make a commitment to read tomorrow at a time you know you can set aside. Then take that step. And repeat.
Again, Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
When seeking after God, we do it by faith. We do it by faith in the promises of God in Jesus Christ. God has saved us in Christ and he rewards those who diligently seek him.
Reading our Bible today gives us an aftertaste of Adam’s communion with God long ago in the garden and a foretaste of our heavenly joy in God forever and ever to come.
“When we shall come home, and enter into the possession of our Brother’s fair kingdom, and when our heads shall find the weight of the eternal crown of glory, then we shall look back to pains and sufferings and then we will see life and sorrow to be less than one step or stride from a prison to glory. Our little inch of time suffering is not worthy of our first night’s welcome-home to heaven.”