Overcoming Bible Reading Barriers

All of us are familiar with the tension of wanting to read the Bible consistently and feeling like a failure when days, weeks, and maybe even months go by and you haven’t opened the Scriptures. There could be plenty of reasons we experience these droughts of inconsistent Bible reading. Some reasons are straightforward and can be solved for more easily. These might be:

  • Time management
  • Setting small, realistic goals
  • Replacing your phone with your Bible on your nightstand
  • Finding a good Bible reading plan

Some reasons are more complex, more confusing, and more complicated – struggles with depression, chronic physical illness, life-halting grief, loneliness and isolation, trauma brought about from the church, the always-on nature of working from home and parenting little children at the same time. The list of reasons could go on and I don’t write these things as someone who is ostensibly aware of these possibilities, but as someone who could check the box on a number of these at different times this past year.

Now, none of these things excuse or absolve us from the need to be in the Word. If anything, they point all the more to why we absolutely need to spend time in the Word, communing with God. Yet, I think it is important to take a moment and acknowledge these difficult things we may be dealing with. We are broken, limited, fallible beings who cannot – even on our best days – muster up the ability to live like Christ on our own.

We are weak.

Thankfully, the Bible tells us again and again that this weakness, this inability to do it ourselves is exactly where God’s power is perfected:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” — 2 Corinthians 12:9

This makes room for us to go to God not in spite of the reasons we’ve left our Bible unopened for the past week, but because, through his Word, he promises to meet us in our pain, sorrow, struggle, and weakness. He bids us come – and not necessarily on schedule or at the same time every day or when we feel good or most spiritual – just as we are and however we are, trusting that when we draw near to God, he will draw near to us (James 4:8).


So, a few not so practical (see those mentioned earlier) but hopefully helpful tips:

  • Acknowledge your weakness in prayer with God.
  • Give language to and honor whatever you may be struggling with. Journaling or some form of outward expression of this can be beneficial.
  • Find a Bible resource for reading the Scriptures when it feels hard to. Personally, I’ve relied on the CSB Reader’s Bible to help me when I’m in a drought. The novel-like format of this edition helps me to put aside any expectations for my time in the Word and just read the Bible as a narrative full of people learning to rightly relate to God not all unlike myself.

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