Why is it so hard to read the Bible?

As Christians, we are told that the Bible is the Word of God, written under the inspiration and authority of the Holy Spirit for the purposes of teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). There are even those of us, like myself, who accept the doctrinal position that the Bible is infallible and inerrant in all that it asserts.

And yet, just about every Christian I know struggles – really struggles – to spend sufficient time immersed in God’s love letter to His people. The paradox could not be more stark. On the one hand, we strongly affirm that God has graciously written down His thoughts for us such that we could “think God’s thoughts after Him.” And yet on the other hand, most of us can hardly be bothered to spend time with Him.

Why is this? Some oft-recited “reasons” include the following (though this is by no means a comprehensive list):

Look at the Book

Look at the Book from Desiring God Ministries 



1. “It’s hard to understand.” True, the original autographs of the Bible were written in Hebrew and Greek. So yes, admittedly there is something of a language barrier. But that does not stop people determined to learn French, Spanish or any other language. Heck, there are even people in this world who have dedicated themselves to developing and maintaining the language of Klingon. That’s right, Klingon…the language used by fictional aliens in the Star Trek television series and motion pictures. With all of the different translations, commentaries and lectures available free of charge to help us understand the Bible, though, many Christians yet prefer to dwell on the details of what Klang said when interviewed by Cabal leader Silik. It defies logic.

2. “It’s too long…” Again, I know people who will sit down and read an 800-page work of fiction in one or two days, zipping right through it without a problem, even ignoring their legitimate need for food and water along the way. Many of these same folks will struggle to work their way through the book of 1 Corinthians. Priority is given to temporal entertainment over God’s enlightenment.

3. “Gosh, I am just so busy!” In the last year or so, I have tried (as best I can) to strike this phrase from my written and verbal communications. Do I have a lot of things on my planner every week? Yes. Am I over-committed in some regards? Certainly. Without denying that we all need to “unplug” from time to time, it’s been helpful for me to stop leaning on the excuse of being busy. If something is a priority, we make time for it, plain and simple.

Lest you think I am casting stones at anyone, I have all of these issues and excuses, too.

More than just a few times, I have had to examine how I spent my time and wonder aloud why the sun is setting on another day without the benefit of Scripture. For now, at least, I have settled on the conclusion that there is something desperately wrong with my soul that I tend to prefer Captain America to Paul the Apostle. I need help.

Look at the Book

The online Look at the Book “labs” (all free of charge) allow viewers¬†to learn some methods by which a passage of Scripture might be more effectively understood.



Enter John Piper and the folks at Desiring God.

Over the weekend of Sept. 26-28, at the final Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis, my wife and I were introduced to a new vision for the Desiring God ministry whereby they are planning to teach other Christians to effectively read Scripture for themselves. Slowly. Deliberately. Calling the new initiative Look at the Book, they are attempting to record a methodology used by Piper over the decades during which he has been a preaching pastor and unleash these very same techniques on the masses.

If, like me, you have been struggling in your daily Bible reading, I would urge you to check out some of the “labs” that have already been recorded and see if perhaps the technique might be useful for you to delve even just a bit deeper into the Word. I know that whenever one of the pastors at The Crossing takes me by the hand (so to speak) and walks me through a passage of Scripture, my life is immeasurably enriched. I consider myself fortunate to live in an age when technology is such that John Piper can help me in the same way.

Now if I could just find time to watch the videos, right? Maybe after the latest cute-kitten segment ends on YouTube.

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