In January, believers may begin “read through the Bible” plans. Unfortunately, many don’t make it far. I’ve written about Bible reading before, and remind the reader that: “insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.”  -So, stop the insanity! Try some different approaches to Bible reading. (See the linked post for ideas.)

THAT IS NOT my focus for this post, but to suggest another possible reason for why a Bible reading plan can derail. Maybe we are expecting “too much” from our reading? These two quotes make the point:

“One way to short-circuit consistent Bible reading is to expect every engagement with Scripture to be spectacular. That’s bound to yield disappointment. We must read trusting that the Spirit will use what we ingest and meditate on in His time for our good.” – Keith Plummer @XianMind

“What if the passage you study today is preparing you for a trial ten years from now? Study faithfully now, trusting that nothing is wasted, whether your study time resolves neatly in thirty minutes or not.” – Jen Wilken

I’m afraid that the “self” focus that took the 20th century by storm has affected just about all of us. We can approach the Scripture with a self-centered focus: What applies to me? We also live in such an “instant” age that we lack patience. We expect the Scripture to quickly reveal its truths to us, or to be immediately useful or applicable to our life.

Don’t misunderstand. Of course the Scripture should impact our lives! But the way we approach the Scripture – our expectations – matter.

We may be applying “worldly” expectations to the Scripture. Matthew 6:33 says “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When we read the Bible are we putting the “things added unto you” first? That is backwards.

In John 5, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of his day because they diligently studied the Scripture to find eternal life but failed to see Jesus in them (verses 39-40). Think about that. They were concerned about eternal life and that is certainly a valid or admirable concern. Yet they missed the very source of that life – Jesus! We can read the Bible but miss what matters the most because our focus is off.

As you begin Bible reading/study in a new year, thoughtfully and prayerfully consider your approach to and expectation of Scripture. Don’t let a faulty focus or expectation lead to disappointment that derails you from consistent Bible reading.

Update, adding this:
“As long as we deal with the Word of God as an instrument with which we can do many useful things, we don’t really read the Bible. The Bible does not speak to us as long as we want only to use it.” – Henry Nouwen

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