This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8
This is a common struggle among many believers, keeping up with the consistency of reading the Bible regularly. A practice seen in almost all churches I’ve attended, attempts to get members to read the Bible always as a New Year resolution, often starts well but seldom completed at all, if not forgotten totally in a matter of weeks. And it happens all the time, year in year out.
To be honest, I cannot say either that I’m good at reading the Bible myself. I’ve have had my fair share of struggles when it comes to keeping up with reading the Bible. But throughout my life as a believer since my teenage years, I’ve come to accept the fact that the Bible is not meant to be read like a novel, not from the first page to its last. The Bible is not designed to be read like that.
Take for instance an enclosed manual of a DSLR camera. Most people won’t read it like reading a book. Instead the manual is a reference document when one needs to get something done with the camera, he refers to it. I like photography but I’m not a professional at it. Therefore I often find myself struggling with my Nikons and needing to refer to its manuals. I’ve been doing this for years, and yet I still need the manuals and am still struggling with them and the cameras.
Likewise the Bible plays a similar role in our lives as believers. We are not perfect beings. We are not God. As such, we need to consistently go back to the Bible to find out how to govern our lives with it. Unless we come to the point of understanding that the Bible is meant to be the manual guide for us as humans, one shall continue to struggle with the issue of keeping up with reading the Bible if it is treated just as a form of church-driven activity or being bluntly instructed to finish reading it for the sake of reading it.
It will be hard to read, or even come to understanding the Bible, if we do not have the zeal to live our lives right. Like you can take pictures with a good DSLR with its automatic mode, but you’ll never get good pictures unless you know how to use the camera’s manual features to control surrounding light entering its CMOS sensors. And to be able to at least figure out how that works, you’ll need to refer to the manuals. And such knowledge only comes about if one has the heart and desire to wanting to take good pictures. Otherwise, the person is only wasting his own time holding a good camera.
Experience taught me well that any success in reading the Bible consistently could only start with our desire in wanting to improve ourselves in holiness. Other than using it for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, the Bible can be a very difficult book to read for anyone trying to do so outside these reasons given in 2 Timothy 3:16. Unless the heart wants to be taught by it, desires to be rebuked by it and wish to be trained to do what is right, unless the heart yearns to be corrected, reading the Bible or even liking to read it will seem like a far fetched possibility.
The secret to reading the Bible lies in the secret of how we desire to change ourselves for the better. And without repentance, the heart will have no reason of wanting to read the Bible; there’s no intention to convert, therefore there’s no need to keep reading the manual of life that instructs us on how to do our lives right. Worse, if you are reading the Bible with the sole intention of wanting to win an apologetic argument, soon you’ll find yourself exposed to the truths of change that you never intended to observe and thus leading you into more despair. No one studies a camera manual just to argue with another person on how to use a camera correctly.
The truth is the Bible is a blessing to the convert and quite a curse to the others, including the professing believers whom are never really converted.