You might feel slightly ashamed that you clicked on this post. After all, isn’t it wrong to think the Bible is boring? Perhaps “boring” is too strong a word, but many of us have been through seasons where Bible study felt more like a duty than a joy.
You might feel ashamed that this is the case, but take comfort in the fact that God already knows your heart and mind! The Lord is a compassionate and kind God who desires a relationship with us. This relationship is built on His Word, which is God’s specific revelation of Himself to man. Next time the Bible seems uninteresting or inapplicable, here are some steps to take.
1. Ask for renewed interest and joy.
The enemy of our souls wants boredom to become disinterest, disinterest to become distraction and, eventually, distraction to become apathy. If you feel disinterested in God’s Word, don’t waste time blaming yourself for what you’re feeling—take it to the Lord! Since He already knows your heart, confessing your true feelings to Him will draw you closer to His will in this area of your life. Ask Him to renew your interest and joy in the Word. Ask His Spirit to open your eyes and guide you into the right place to study. Ask for a desire to read God’s Word and an opportunity to apply it.
2. Develop a study strategy.
If your Bible study method consists of opening the Bible to whatever page strikes you first, you may indeed become disinterested. The most fruitful Bible studies are intentional and require approaching God’s Word with a strategy. There are many to choose from, but one of the most popular methods is the acronym SOAP. As you read each passage, journal the following: Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Scripture is the passage you’re reading. Observation is what your thoughts are after reading it. Application is how the concepts in the passage apply practically to your life. You conclude with prayer.
3. Start fresh.
Do you revert back to the same books and passages in the Bible over and over again? Try something new! I tend to reread the gospels because they’re simple to read and understand. One day I decided to read the Minor Prophets—Habakkuk, Amos, Malachi and others. I was unfamiliar with these books, but they gave me a great new perspective on the Old Testament and God’s Word as a whole.
You can also try reading out of a new translation. Try switching from the NIV to an ESV, or ESV to HCSB. You can also read several translations at once if you own more than one Bible, or can buy a parallel Bible that contains three or four translations all in one book.
4. Get some guidance.
While we are perfectly able to navigate God’s Word with the help of His Spirit, a good commentary or devotional can add context to your study time. The power of God’s Word comes alive when we have a greater understanding of the historical and social circumstances surrounding the characters we’re studying. Some used bookstores offer commentaries and you can buy them on Amazon (the NIV Commentary series is excellent and you don’t need an NIV translation to use it).
Devotionals can also offer some structure to your study time if you aren’t sure where to start on your own. Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer and Elizabeth George are some popular authors, but bookstores like Lifeway and Christian Book Distributors (or even Barnes and Noble) offer many resources to peruse.
5. Add variety.
Finally, break the boredom by incorporating variety into your quiet time. Change locations. Change the time of day. Make a basket with your Bible, pens and journal, and always get your coffee ready before you study. Perhaps play worship music before or after you study. You can personalize your time with God; no one quiet time needs to look identical to another.
As you make efforts to seek God—even on days you don’t feel like it—you will begin to look forward to your time with Him. You will notice when you haven’t spent time in God’s Word. And you’ll be drawn back to His presence with a desire to learn more.