Why is it so hard?

I’m fairly young, so my experience in life is not the most seasoned. But stay with me on this one.

I grew up reading. I don’t know how many of you have also, but thankfully, growing up in a western society that requires us to read for school and such is actually a huge benefit. So I’m assuming you grew up reading, too.

I would read all sorts of books. When I was younger I loved reading fantasy like Tolkien’s The Hobbit or Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved the world that I was challenged to envision in my mind’s eye. A good author isn’t hard to do that with, right? It’s almost like you get sucked into the world and you can’t help but engage with it.

Reading a good story isn’t hard for the most part.

Reading a story we cannot connect ourselves with is extremely hard.

I’ve attempted to read the Bible every day of my Christian life. Obviously, I have failed many attempts and have failed many “reading plans” to finish the Bible in a year.

My guess is that many people have failed to do so as well. I think we often get bogged down and have a very difficult time reading the story that feels so foreign to us and our life. We can’t place ourselves into the ancient world and get sucked into the meta-narrative of what God was doing (and still doing) through his people.

So, reading the Bible is hard. We’ve discussed that. But what about the astonishing length of the book?

In Seminary, that is my masters degree program in biblical studies, theology, etc., I thankfully didn’t have to read many books I disliked. But one of the books I had to read that I greatly disliked was over 500 pages long. The font was small, the book was heavy, the content felt dry and impersonal. Both the form factor of the book and the content of it begged for it to become an excellent paper weight! But I still had to drudge through it in order to pass my class (my professor wisely required all his reading to be completed to be eligible to pass his class).

The Bible often feels similar. Yes we can get through the stories in Genesis with some sense of what’s happening, but you get to the later half of Exodus and you his Leviticus and it’s game over. There’s no way we are going to keep reading, especially when the book is laid out more like a dictionary with tiny font and still feels cumbersome to hold. The content feels dry, the form factor is uninviting. Why continue to use daily discipline to read such a book?

I’m not going to outline why I think every Christian ought to be reading the Bible daily (I do think that, maybe I’ll write a blog post on someday). But I want to encourage those who feel the way I often did when I started reading the Bible. I needed something to help me engage with the story and learn how I fit into the story and where on earth this story was going.

If you feel this way, there is hope. I want to encourage you to download the “read scripture” app onto your phone.

What I love about this app is the simplicity it brings as well as the information it has to share in a creative way.

Each day you open your app, you’ll find a video, a passage to read, and a psalm to pray through.

You just click on the day and watch your video intro, read the passage and pray the psalm and then you’re done!

Now, that’s not to say that I have a solution to the daily discipline and enduring over a year to cultivate a habit of thirsting for God and seeking him in Scripture. But I think that this app greatly helps us in learning the story of the Bible as we read it and knowing how to imagine the world of the Bible as we meditate on it.

Praying for you all! Keep reading, studying and praying the Bible each day!

Matt

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