Bible Reading Guilt is a real thing. I know it is because I feel it everytime I hear someone tell me all about how they’re reading through the bible in one year, or having these amazing quiet times. All. The. Time.
Why can’t I be more like them? Why can’t I read the bible just like them? Seriously, it’s like some kind of mental block has occured, and in that moment, I hate myself for it.
Have you ever been there? Are you feeling it right now. Because I know I am.
But there is good news for all of us people facing Bible Reading Guilt.
We do not need to struggle, It is possible to find freedom from it.
The Two Reasons for Bible Reading Guilt
But before I go any further, I want to explain what I think are the two main reasons for bible reading guilt.
The shame of comparison: We need to slow down
We compare ourselves to the people we think are doing better than our selves. Guilt creeps in as we continue down this path, and at some point along it we forget that we are not them. Maybe we simply do not have as much time to read the bible as them, perhaps because of work or family commitments. Or maybe our emotions are in turmoil and we do not have the head space to intensively study the bible at this point in time. God understands this. He is our friend, and real friends understand when we do not have as much time to give to a relationship as we would like. In this situation we need to slow down.
We are genuinely being convicted: We need to knuckle down.
We do actually have the time and the space to read the bible, but for whatever reason we just not doing it. Maybe it seems like a steep mountain to climb; maybe reading the bible terrifies us; or we just don’t know where to begin. Whatever reason it is, we can overcome it. God has forgiven you for when you haven’t given him as much time as you should. But, in this situation we may need to knuckle down.
For the times you need to slow down
Take small steps. Don’t bite of more than you can chew. Focus on qualtily not quanitity. You probably could race through a couple of champters. But would you remember any of it? Might it be better to just slow down.
Try reading just one verse, try writing it out or sticking it somewhere that you will see it regularly.
Try listening to good Christian music. Lots of these songs are filled bible verses and words of encouragement. Listening to these songs is a great way of getting God’s word deep into you. Spotify is a great place to start, or listening to a Christian radio station such as UCB.
Get into a habit of talking to God throughout the day. Tell him about the little things you are going through, Keep him at the centre of everything that is happening.
Tell him about your struggle. Tell him about why you are struggling. True friends understand when you are unable to give as much as you would like in a relationship for whatever reason. God understands as well.
Just be still and know that he is God. I know this is an easy thing to say, but when I was going through a tough time I would just picture myself in the arms of Jesus. I think that was all my mind could cope with at that time, but in doing that I found peace.
For the times you need to knuckle down.
Be encouraged rather than guilt tripped by other people’s success. They are only human beings too. If they can do it then so can you!
Try reading a Christian biography. Reading about someone who’s life has been transformed by the bible, is a great way to be spurred on to read yourself.
Invest in a bible with wide margins, so you have space to write or draw.
Use a bible reading plan, or don’t. Whatever you prefer. There are no rules when it comes to reading the bible. But having a plan can be useful for a lot of people.
Join a church home group (or cell group, or small group, or life group, or connect group or whatever other crazy name your church gives for groups of people who get together in each others homes to read the bible and pray together.) This is a safe space where you are able to talk about the bits of the bible you find hard to understand. Other people can encourage you, and even better… You get to be an encouragement to them as well.
Just do it. Every single day. Whether that means setting your alarm a bit earlier, or carving out some other time in the day. Make time for reading the bible, and commit to it. And when you don’t manage to, don’t feel guilty about it. Each day is a new one.
Try starting a blog. I know this sounds a bit of a weird one, but I couldn’t not share it. Blogging has really helped me crystalize my thinking in a lot of areas, because I can’t share something, unless I am sure it is what I really believe. And I often can’t know that, without going back to the bible.
It doesn’t matter if you continue to struggle in this area for the rest of your life. In Christ you are a new creation, there is no shame or condemnation. You do not need to feel guilty, no matter how many times you mess up, as long as you are actively seeking him.