You are not alone when you say that reading the scriptures can sometimes be burdensome! Many times the reason can be something as simple as fatigue, the wrong time of day, distractions around us, or just too many other things on our mind to be able to focus properly. We can end up staring at the pages yet not comprehending anything! For starters, if any of these might be contributing to your “burn-out,” consider how you could change your circumstances. And of course, remind yourself that the Bible is God’s way of speaking to you!
2 Timothy 3:16-17 is a wonderful passage of scripture to remind us just how important Bible study is for a Christian. It reads: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God, and fit him fully for all branches of his work.” (Phillips Translation)
Practical suggestions may be to choose a “reader friendly” translation, such as the New International Version, the New English Version, or Phillips translation of the New Testament. If you are reading through the Bible consecutively, could it be that the specific subject matter does not interest you? You may need to skim quickly over genealogies, battle stories, and numbers, and save those readings for another time. It may also be helpful to read through a good children’s Bible story book such as Egermeier’s Bible Stories. This could serve the purpose of familiarizing yourself with many Bible stories, but in a condensed way.
Sometimes it’s hard to focus on passages that just don’t seem applicable to our current stage in life. If you crave more devotional and praise, why not skip to the Psalms? If you need to refresh your heart with the life of Jesus, focus your attention on the Gospels. Prophecy can be very exciting, but much more difficult to understand without seeing how individual prophecies relate to one another. Although reading through the Bible is beneficial, selecting a specific topic of interest and using a concordance to look up all verses related to that topic is often more profitable and interesting. Wonderful connections and truths are often missed with only a casual reading of scriptures.
A similar approach is to find material already prepared that follows the same pattern of study. For example, if you are interested in the Lords return, the Chicago Bible Students website offers a wonderful booklet entitled “I Will Come Again.” This short booklet provides many scriptures relating to the Lord’s return. If you are interested in studying the symbolism of Israel’s tabernacle, we offer a book entitled Tabernacle Shadows. In it you will see how God depicted the sacrifice of Jesus through the ancient rituals of Israel’s law. Specific questions such as, “Why does God permit evil?” are beautifully answered with scripture in a booklet by that same title. Taking the approach of topical Bible study will open new avenues of understanding that can serve to relight the fire of your zeal for God’s word.
Please visit www.chicagobible.org for many helpful study materials, powerpoint sermons and DVD’s which will help make the scriptures come alive.