A small shift in the way we view our Bibles could have a massive impact on how we read and invest time in God’s word. According to Barna, 62% of Americans say they wish they read the Scriptures more. This should raise the question, what is keeping people from cracking the pages of their Bibles? The possible reasons are varied and might include busy schedules or a fear of not understanding what we read. But there seems to be an even deeper and more fundamental hindrance in our approach to the Scriptures. Addressing this hindrance does not merely require adding another strategy to our Bible reading times — it requires a change in our perspective about what Bible reading is.
Awash in a Sea of Standards
The question asked in the Barna statistic points to the problem. It seems that we have an underlying assumption that there is some arbitrary amount of Bible reading we need to attain each day or week or year in order to fulfill an unwritten requirement. If we have met the quota, we can answer “no” to the Barna question — we are content with our amount of Bible intake and don’t feel the need for more. If the quota goes unmet, on the other hand, we answer yes.
Our own subjective standard for the required volume of Bible reading, which is usually derived from the habits we see in others, leads us to see our Bibles not as a delight but a burden, as we are often unable to match those habits. The result is that for too many, Bible reading is not a habit which brings joy, but work to be dutifully completed.