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3 Reasons Why Bible Reading Feels Like A Burden

Did you set out to read your Bible more at the beginning of the year?

3 Reasons Why Bible Reading Feels Like a Burden

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Let me guess.

You started off strong in January and February.

But then you got to Leviticus and Numbers by March, and off the tracks you went.

Spring and Summer approached faster than you anticipated. You became inundated with weddings and events and the busyness of life, and suddenly Bible reading took a back seat.

And now, reading your Bible feels like a burden, and you feel guilty for not spending more time in the Word.

Am I right?

Maybe I’m wrong. But it is my experience that every Christian hits seasons where time in the Word feels like a burden.

When this happens, it’s usually because of one of three things:

1) Lack of planning. 

This surprise you?

It shouldn’t.

I’m convinced that one of the main reasons why you and I don’t read and pray as much as we would like is because it doesn’t make our calendar.



We plan times to go to work meetings, to meet with friends, to hit the gym. These are fun and important aspects of life. If we have the discipline to plan the mundane things of life, why not the “big” things like time in the Word?

Maybe a Bible reading plan will help. If it becomes legalistic and burdensome, throw it away. Whatever you do — whatever works for youcome up with a plan and you will find yourself in the Word more often.

3 Reasons Why Bible Reading Feels Like a Burden

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2) Lack of Prayer. 

I heard a guy once ask John Piper for tips on humility. This kid was a Seminary student, and was afraid that the knowledge stuck in his mind would lead to pride in his heart.

“When you study, stop every 10 minutes and pray,” said John Piper.

Yes, prayer helps fight pride, but prayer — when applied to Bible reading — will also help bring life to the words you read, something that you won’t experience as powerfully if you didn’t pray.

Listen to a few prayers from Psalm 119:

“Teach me Your statutes” (Psalm 119:12b).

“Do not hide Your commandments from me” (Psalm 119:119b).

“Make me understand the way of Your precepts” (Psalm 119:27).

“Revive me according to Your loving kindness, so that I may keep the testimony of Your mouth” (Psalm 119:88).

Might I suggest that your Bible reading feels dulls because you’re not asking God for help?

Pray before, during, and after you read and the Bible will feel alive again.

3) Lack of Meditation.

Don Whitney has a classic book called Spiritual Disciplines for The Christian Life, and is most known for his teaching on the spiritual disciplines.

He said something on a podcast recently that surprised me. “The almost universal problem with Christians is this: even the most devout Bible readers among us don’t remember what they read after they read it. A simple, biblical solution is meditation.”

Mediatation. Not more reading. But mediating.

Practically, here’s what this looks like: If you only have 15 minutes in the morning to read your Bible, don’t spend the whole time reading. Instead, read for 10 minutes, and spend the last 5 minutes mediating on what you read. You will experience tremendous benefits. As one Pslamist puts it: “Blessed is the man who … delights in the Law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night (Psalm 1:1).

So read your Bible. Plan before you read, pray while you read, and meditate after you read. And enjoy it. It’s important for your spiritual well-being. As Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.”

You might also like:

1) 8 Quick Tips To Help You Read More Books
2) 11 Books Every Christian in College Should Read
3) My Top 10 Books of 2014

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two children. Learn more.

4 Replies

  1. Our pastor gave us a 3 week challenge. Read 1 chapter of John a day. (Convenient, because it’s 21 chapters long.) He gave us a bookmark with the acronym SOAR, for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer. The bookmark also outlines a process:
    Scripture–Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you and write it in your journal.
    Observation–What do you think God is saying to you in this Scripture? Try writing this scripture down in your own words, in your journal.
    Application–Personalize what you have read, by asking how it applies to your life right now. Is it instruction, encouragement, or correction? Write how this scripture can apply to you today.
    Prayer–Pray over this scripture. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Journal your prayer and if it seems a little overwhelming, take it slow and keep it simple.
    The process takes me about 15 minutes and uses about 1 page in my journal every day. I’ve been studying the Bible for 30 years, and I’ve read John at least 10 times, but this process helped me see things I’ve never seen before.
    I’ve since then been working my way through Genesis. I plan to read all the narrative books this way, then go back and read the others.

    1. Nice. I’ve used the “SOAR” journal plan before and I really enjoyed it.

  2. Linda Mowles

    Thanks for the ideas. This is the first year that we have not “fallen off the track” and are on our way to completing our goal of reading the entire Word in one year. We are in Isaiah now and it is difficult reading, but will try to use your thoughts as we continue to attempt to understand what God is saying in these passages. Blessings to you this day.

    1. Awesome! Keep up the good work and finish strong. 🙂