Do you struggle with any bad Bible reading habits? I’m not talking about struggling to read your Bible (that’s a battle we are all fighting). Rather, have you ever discovered yourself reading the Bible in a disingenuous or counterproductive way. Reading the Bible is one of the most important things you can do in your Christian walk. Despite this truth most Christians are really bad it. We impose our 21st century ideologies on the text, skim read the Bible, rip verses out of context, and just generally distort the sacred text we claim to revere.
Here are a few bad Bible reading habits that often lead us into this mess.
“Watch How Fast I Can Finish”
There are times we can feel just plain guilty about not reading our Bibles. In an effort to salve our guilty conscience we will grab our Bible’s at the end of the day and do a quick skim read of a verse or two. There’s no question that it is a good idea to keep track of progress no matter the discipline. If you’re reading the Bible, however, to feel better about yourself or to somehow appease God then a checklist can be dangerous. Go to the Bible to get more of God, not to get more A+ stickers.
We know the importance of Bible reading but our practice does not always line up with our belief. In many ways we would just be better off not reading the Bible at all than just glancing through a passage a day. The Bible is an important treasure we have been entrusted with that requires a certain amount of digging to uncover.
“I’ve Got to Find My ‘Verse of the Day’”
This is the tendency to skim through your Bible reading and look for an inspired verse or two. This often comes as a result of the mistaken impression that Bible reading is easy and glorious. Remember what Paul said to timothy: “Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). Bible reading is going to take some spiritual fitness. When we read the Bible looking for some verse that jumps off the page at us we are reading wrongly. In reality, we should be reading the Bible looking for what the text actually says rather than what we want it to say.
“I Guess I Will Read This Verse Today”
You may be tempted to flip open your Bible in the morning, let your eyes land on a verse, and have that be your Bible reading for the day. You may even be tempted to simply ask God a question, open up the Bible to wherever, and think that the first verse you see is somehow God’s answer to your question. What you need to understand is that while the Bible is inspired it is not magical. Having a Bible reading plan is actually a very important step towards having a good devotional walk with God.
“I Missed My Bible Reading Time this Morning. I Guess I’ll Have to Pick it Up Again Tomorrow.”
This happens when we compartmentalize our Bible reading from the rest of our day. If we have a healthy Bible reading time we will be seeking to apply the Bible to the whole of our lives. No matter how consistent your schedule may be, if 23 or more hours separate your thoughts about the Bible, you do not have an effective Bible reading time. No matter the amount of Bible reading you do or even when you do it you should strive to meditate on the Bible all day long. If the Bible is like food than snacking is sometimes good!
“Lets Find the Hidden Meaning in the Text”
This is an incredibly dangerous habit to have formed. This is the idea that there is some kind of hidden treasure that you have to uncover in your Bible reading. It assumes that we somehow need a some pair of secret decoder glasses to find the layers of truth hidden by God in His Word that are only discernible to Christians.
We need to be sure to be careful here. While the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God, it was not written as some secret truth to be revealed only to some elect few. The Bible was written to reveal truth to all people. If you are searching for a new interpretation in a well-known passage you might want to backtrack and start your journey over.
Posted by Caleb