Working on increasing your Scripture time? Great! But even if you’re a voracious reader, reading the Bible is a bit different than any other book you may snag at the library. If you want to get serious about diving into your Bible, you need to approach it with some type of game plan. Here are three common mistakes people make when reading the Bible—and how to avoid them to ensure your time of spiritual reading is as fruitful as possible.
1: Playing Bible Roulette
Have you ever just closed your eyes, asked God to find you a piece of Scripture that will move your heart, and opened your Bible to . . . like, Leviticus?
Here’s the thing: the Bible shouldn’t be thought of as just one book. It’s really more of a library. Some books are allegorical, some are journalistic accounts, some are ancient songs. It’s important to know what you’re reading so that you can properly understand the intent behind the words. You need to know which covenant was in effect and the book’s greater place in the context of the whole Bible. If you’re new to the Bible, the gospels are a great place to start—they’re factual, easy to understand, and contain stories you’ve probably heard before. If you want to dive into a weightier Old Testament book, do some research first to understand things like who wrote it and what their intention was.
2: Moving Too Quickly
Oftentimes, when I’m reading the Bible, I find myself starting to zoom through it. Woman at the well? Oh, yeah, I’ve
read that a million times. I’ll just skim. Here’s the nativity—yeah, I’ve been to plenty of Christmas pageants; I’ve got that down. Yup, “love is patient, love is kind” . . . got it. But when you read too quickly, you lose some of the hidden depth in these often-told stories. You may have heard Jesus say, “Blessed are those who mourn” a thousand times, but when you really pause and dive into that verse, it can change your heart in ways you couldn’t possibly fathom. Blessed are those who mourn? When have you mourned? Who is mourning in your life right now? Why does God allow mourning? All of these deep, spiritual questions from a verse you may have read a thousand times! Don’t speed or skip over things just because they’re familiar to you.
3: Trying to Prove an Agenda
You should have one goal when opening the Bible: to increase your love of Jesus. If you’re opening your Bible in order to win an argument, find things that “prove” you right, or support a political position, you’re going to be disappointed. The Bible isn’t meant to be a weapon we wield at our enemies; it’s meant to be an account of salvation history. It’s meant to help us understand God and, therefore, ourselves and others. Reposting Bible verses without fully knowing their context, whipping them out in angry arguments, or sitting in your own Scripture-proven self-righteousness are actions that won’t lead you any closer to Christ.