This article is part of the Help! series.
Let’s Be Honest
Do you find the Bible boring?
Not just those parts of Numbers and Leviticus that we conveniently skip during daily devotions. I mean all of it. Would you much rather be reading something—anything—else? Does a mindless scroll through Facebook posts you’ve already read seem more attractive than sitting down to read the Bible?
Or do you not want to admit that?
If we’re honest, I think we’ve all been there. It took years before I learned to enjoy and love the word—and that was after I became a Christian. Here are a few things I learned as a young person struggling to find a love for the Scripture. Perhaps they’ll be helpful for you, too—especially if you’re also a teen!
Ask for the Spirit’s Help
Paul called on the Philippians to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13). We work to follow and obey God, but we cannot work apart from his working in us. We cannot change unless the Spirit changes us from within (2 Cor. 3:18).
We won’t love God’s word until he helps us to do it.
And the beautiful thing is that he will. He will not just help, he will uphold, sustain, and carry you. He will do for you what you can’t even do for yourself. Grace in Scripture is not just something poured out on us once when we’re saved—it’s an ever-flowing stream. It runs from the foot of the cross down to where we trudge with our bent backs trying to follow God. The grace of God is given not just for our salvation, but for our sanctification—for loving and trusting God, for the good works he’s given us to do (Rom. 6:15; 12:6).
So pray for that grace:
Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you for revealing yourself to us. I confess I don’t want to read the Bible. I have no real interest in studying or memorizing it. I never spend time in Scripture, or if I do, it’s only out of guilt or looking for the praise of others. Please forgive me, and give me a love for your word. Help me to desire it more than money or the sweetest dessert (Ps. 19:10). You know my heart, and I ask you to soften it and give me the love I don’t have. In the name of Jesus my Savior, Amen.
Don’t stop praying that prayer. We’ll fight for this love our whole lives, and as long as we do, we’ll need grace.
Read It Anyway
It’s hard to read the Bible when you don’t feel like it.
Well, that goes without saying. It’s hard to eat when you don’t feel like it, too. Who wants to eat dinner when you’ve just spent all day at some event filling up on candy? But if you don’t eat those vegetables, you’ll end up on a sugar crash, feeling sick for the rest of the evening.
Sometimes we just have to do the thing we need to do, even though we’d rather do anything else.
And we do need to do it. Of course, you know that, or you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Like meat and vegetables, we need it for daily nourishment. Like a school book, we need it to learn more—about God, this world, and ourselves. Like Frodo’s vial, we need it to give us light in dark places (Ps. 119:105).
But knowing we need it doesn’t help us want it. It doesn’t make reading the Bible any less boring.
No—but reading the Bible will.
How can you learn to enjoy something if you never partake of it? We don’t learn to like vegetables because our mothers tell us they’re good for us, nor because a heavenly lightning bolt grants us an ardent adoration of asparagus. We learn to like them by eating them. Repeatedly.
My grandfather gave us an illustration that has never left me. At first, he says, the Bible is like medicine. You know it’s good for you, but you hate the taste. After a while, it’s like oatmeal. You don’t hate it, but it’s not the best thing in the world either. But finally, it becomes like honey. Sweet and delicious.
How can you learn to enjoy something if you never partake of it?
Don’t be afraid if the Bible is like medicine now. It will start to taste better—just take up and read.
If the Bible seems boring, perhaps it’s because you’ve only ever known it on the surface. For years, I just read a chapter or two every day and promptly forgot them. I knew the skeleton of every story backwards and forwards, and I could probably have told you every command, but I never went any deeper.
I couldn’t have told you why the stories mattered, or how they were important to the great story of Scripture, to that long waiting for a Redeemer. I didn’t see what the commands taught about the love and righteousness of God. I read the poetic books, but they were boring—largely because I didn’t understand.
But then I started to study them, and it was like new vistas opening in front of my eyes. There is so much to learn in the Bible, more than a lifetime of studying could begin to fathom. There is so much to see about who God is, and how he has created this world to work, what he has commanded us to do, and what he has done for us in Christ.
As I studied, what had been boring slowly became interesting.
Let God Use It in Your Life
Some of those who love God’s word the most are those who have walked with him the longest—those for whom Scripture has been a guide through winding paths and an anchor in the fiercest storms.
That doesn’t mean you can’t know and love God’s word now—of course not! Read it, study it, memorize it. But don’t let it just stay in your head. Let it guide your steps, even (and especially) if you’re a young person (Ps. 119:9). Go to the word (not just other people, or the distraction of screens) for comfort and help. Live your life according to the words of the living God and let him use it in your heart to make you more like himself.
Katherine Forster is the author of Transformed by Truth: Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen.
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