The Real Reason We Don’t Read Our Bibles


Through my work with the Christian Standard Bible, I came across some stats about Bible reading. Eighty-eight percent of American households own a Bible, but only 37 percent of people read it once a week or more. People said they don’t read their Bibles because they don’t have enough time, and they struggle to understand the words.

These two frustrations are understandable, and we’ve all struggled with them. But are they the real reasons people aren’t reading their Bibles?

Root Issue

When you think about it, we should get really excited about Bible reading. The God of the universe has given us his Word. He could’ve tapped out when we disobeyed him in the garden, but he didn’t. He went looking for us and talked to us (Gen. 3). Knowing our gracious God gave us his Word should make us want to read it, but often that’s not enough.

We don’t read the Bible regularly because we don’t understand how it works. We often think it’s all about us, and that opening Scripture is only useful when we think we need it. We don’t understand how amazing the Bible really is.

Word that Lives

We shouldn’t read the Bible like we do any other book, or treat it like a source of entertainment. Instead, we should consider what makes Scripture special. Paul tells Timothy:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16–17)

Notice the verbs: Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable. It’s not that Scripture was inspired but now isn’t as relevant. It was and is and will be inspired and profitable. Pair this idea with the powerful words of Hebrews:

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. (Heb. 4:12–13)

Again, the Word of God is living and is effective and is able to judge the thoughts of the heart. If Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) and he isn’t dead, then the power of God’s Word on the pages of Scripture isn’t dead either.

Word that Inspires Worship

Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, our spiritual eyes are opened to the supernatural, life-giving truth of God’s living Word. When we open its pages, the Bible speaks to us and calls us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8). Instead of going to our Bible for a nugget of wisdom to get us through the day, we should open it ready to worship the God who meets us there.

Want to know what God thinks? Not just what he thought, but what he thinks? Open your Bible. The Spirit lives within you to help you understand God’s will and character, to help you taste and see something fresh and new that you’ve never seen before. A passage you read five years ago might speak to you differently today, because the living God speaks to you through his living Word, right here and right now.

The Word that spoke creation into existence and filled Adam’s lungs with oxygen is the same Word that creates life inside of you. He’s still speaking to you because you were created for him, not vice versa. When reading Scripture is all about you, it’s stale; but when you hear from God and are drawn into worshiping him in all his glory, it’s the fresh bread of life.

Why don’t we read our Bibles? Because we forget that God’s Word is alive. Open the Bible not merely to be inspired, but to exult in the God who speaks.

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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