Recently, I went through a difficult season in my Bible reading routine. What used to energize me now left me weary. The peace I had felt in God’s presence was gone, replaced by a restlessness to finish as quickly as possible. I found it challenging to maintain interest in what I was reading. I was bored and I was not growing spiritually.
Maybe you, or someone you know, is experiencing something similar. You feel like you are on autopilot but don’t know how to change course.
No matter who you are, there will be times that your Bible reading will grow stagnant for various reasons.
To understand how to overcome this, we will look at the causes of boredom, the incredible power of disruption, and the five easy changes we can make to our bible reading routine to cure apathy and promote spiritual growth.
Bible Reading: What Causes Boredom?
Boredom is the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.
Often we lose interest because we experience routines that are repetitive, tiresome, uninteresting, or meaningless.
What no longer stimulates us is avoided, abandoned, or replaced.
There are several benefits to having a routine. Routines often result in the efficient use of time and the removal of distractions. In addition, repetition can lead to improved mastery.
But there are drawbacks to having a set routine.
We can get stuck in a rut. My father taught me to drive in the muddy ruts of an old country road after heavy rain. There was comfort in being able to move in the tracks and grooves of the road. I wasn’t worried about hitting something or leaving the road. But there came a day when I grew bored of the ruts. I needed a change if I wanted to improve as a driver.
We can reach a plateau where further growth is difficult.
Our Bible reading routines can be helpful, but sometimes they hold us back, and disruption is needed to promote growth.
WHAT IS THE POWER OF DISRUPTION?
Athletes will often alter their exercise routines. They know the stress of disruption can be a catalyst for growth.
Recently by tennis partner and I changed up our training routine. It had worked well for over a year.
Within a few days, we were both breathing harder, but both showed significant improvement because of the disruptive force of change. Why hadn’t we changed sooner?
When things are stagnant, it is time to change things up. It’s an even better idea to make changes before things grow stagnant.
Often the cure for boredom and renewed spiritual growth is found in intentionally disrupting our Bible reading routine.
5 EASY CHANGES THAT YOU CAN MAKE TO YOUR BIBLE READING ROUTINE.
1. Change the translation you are reading.
Often this is the easiest and most effective way to disrupt the experience. There are lots of beautiful translations of the Bible that are available. Reading a different translation will not change the overall message, but it may make what was old to us new again.
I know it is time to try a new translation when I am no longer even mildly surprised by what I am reading.
2. Change the time of day that you are reading.
There is nothing inherently more spiritual about reading the Bible at a particular time of day.
A morning person will probably prefer reading in the morning, and a night owl will choose the night hours.
I traditionally have read in the morning to start my day.
However, I have benefited by reading before bed because I have the opportunity to think about God’s truth as I fall asleep.
In addition, there have been times that I have benefited from reading at lunch because it gave me a different perspective.
I know it is time to change the time of my Bible reading when I keep looking at my watch.
3. Change the method of consumption.
There are lots of ways to consume the Bible.
I have fed on God’s word with a printed Bible. I have used the YouVersion Bible app on my phone. I have downloaded and listened to free audio dramatizations of the Bible. I have profited from reading with others and by myself.
It doesn’t matter what method I have used. I still was nourished by the content, and I found that variety is the spice of life.
I know it’s time to change the method of consumption when every encounter feels the same.
4. Change the speed at which you read.
For some, that will mean speeding up, while others need to slow down. There will be times we benefit from both.
When we read quickly, it gives us an overall sense of who God is. When we read slowly, it allows us time for personal reflection.
I know it is time to speed up when I get lost in the details and miss the big picture.
I know it is time to slow down when I am not amazed at the complexity of his plan for our redemption.
5. Change the reason(s) for reading the Bible.
What is our reason for reading the Bible? Sometimes, it takes some serious soul-searching for me to be gut-level honest.
There have been times that I read out of habit, guilt, or a sense of duty.
There are lots of good reasons to read the Bible.
There are times when I read the Bible for self-improvement, to encounter God in worship, or because I was teaching others.
I have found that when I have multiple reasons to read the Bible, I am seldom bored. But, conversely, when I am focused on only one reason is when I am in trouble.
When my Bible reading becomes primarily focused on content creation for teaching, I need to stop and worship and ask God how this impacts me directly. The reverse is equally true.
What is your primary reason for reading the Bible?
There are times we need to change the translation we are reading, the time of day, the method of consumption, the speed at which we read, or our stated reason(s) for reading. Changing our Bible reading habits can cure boredom and promote new growth.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider sharing it with someone else. You might be interested in reading what I learned from the best three books about habits as well.