What to Do When the Bible Seems to Get Old
I still remember vividly the first time I read the Bible of my own free will. I was 18 and had just come back from youth group where I had just accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had a Bible in my room that I never touched, but when I got home that night I opened it up and started reading. I started in the book of Matthew and after only a few months I read all the gospels. I was raised Catholic and I heard many of the stories about Jesus before, but the difference was now that I truly believed in him they came alive for me like never before. I drank in Jesus’ words eagerly because they were nourishment for my soul.
As I grew in my Christian walk, I went on reading plans where I would read through the entire Bible in a year, which I did twice. I took classes where we studied the Bible and broke down salvation history into different sections. In the past year, I noticed a growing struggle inside myself. I had reached a point where I knew the Bible and its characters so well that the Bible seemed to grow stale for me. As a passionate reader and writer, I found myself longing for more and wishing there were more books the Bible so God could speak to me in a fresh way. I don’t think I’m alone in my struggle and in fact I think that there comes a point in every Christian’s life where the Bible seems to get old.
I’ve heard many pastors say every time they read the Bible they get a fresh revelation from it. While I don’t doubt their words, I wonder if they have ever wrestled with what I have. I wonder and wrestle with this thought: are we as Christians supposed to read this one book over and over again for the rest of our lives? To me such a thought can seem terribly dull and monotonous.
I set out to write this blog to provide you with an answer to this struggle, but I don’t have a pat answer or a quick fix to this dilemma. Recently though a revelation has come to me that I hope helps anyone who is wrestling with the same problem. We all as Christians have a relationship with God through Jesus, but, as with any relationship, it takes work to make it grow. The Bible is one of the main ways in which God speaks to us, and if we don’t read it because we think we know it so well we limit how God can speak to us. It’s like shutting a door in God’s face. The Bible is the sacred word of God, and while I may wrestle with it that still does not shake my faith in it! I believe my relationship with God is worth fighting for and I will do whatever it takes to grow in that relationship. So, if that means taking the time to read something I think I know through and through then so be it! The important thing is to acknowledge the struggle is real but to choose to press in to God’s word anyway.
If you share the same struggle as me, one of the things I suggest is reading the Bible in a different way. What I mean by that is if you’re used to reading the Bible from beginning to end try something new. Perhaps try reading a little of the Old and New Testament together, or focus on a specific book in the Bible and meditate on it. That book can be one that you want to understand better or one that you hardly ever read. In addition to what I have already said, there are many good Christian books that you can read along with the Bible that will help enrich it for you. For example, in the book Surprised By Grace by Tullian Tchividjian, it focuses on the book of Jonah. This book helped both my wife and I see the book of Jonah in whole new light.
I want to end with a word from the book of Galatians that I think applies to this struggle, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will form the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up, (Galatians 6:9). My prayer for everyone at GT is that no matter what we press into God’s word because it feeds us spiritually and teaches us God’s ways. Let none of us get tired of reading God’s word but continue to grow from it and allow God to use it to speak with us.