What if I struggle wanting to read the Bible? Dr. Nate Brooks unpacks some of the obstacles Christians face when the Bible seems dry instead of living and active.
All of us as Christians are going to experience times when the Bible feels dry, and that can be a scary thing for us because we know that the Bible teaches that it’s living and active. It’s sharper than any two-edged sword, able to pierce between the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, able to evaluate the thoughts and intentions of our heart. And so with the Bible saying that it is living, when we feel like it’s dead, that that can be unnerving for a Christian. And yet, all of us who have been believers for a while understand that there are seasons that the Bible doesn’t seem like streams of living water, but instead seems like the desert. When there are times when the Bible feels dry or dead, I think those are moments that the Lord gives us to evaluate a few things. There are three main reasons that we would understand that the Bible can feel dry to us sometimes.
Three Reasons the Bible Can Feel Dry
1. Personal Sin
When there are times when the Bible feels dry or dead, I think those are moments that the Lord gives us to evaluate a few things.One reason is our own personal sin. Psalm 16:11 says that “the nearness of my God is my good.” And when we’re in opposition to God, when we are rebelling against him, when there is some category of our life that we have not submitted to him, you know, that that’s going to make the Bible feel more dry to us, because we are living at a distance from how the Lord would have us live. And him being close to us is threatening to us instead of comforting. If that’s the case, then we need to repent of our sins and rest in Jesus Christ and seek to grow.
2. Personal Weakness
A second reason that the Bible can seem dry to us is personal weakness. We are made of flesh, and we grow weak and we grow tired, and that can at times cause us to not enjoy, not delight, and not connect with things that we care quite a bit about. If you think back to perhaps the most recent time you were ill, had a stomach flu or something like that, there wasn’t a lot of delight in the Bible in the middle of having a stomach flu, because there’s not a lot of delight in anything in life at that point. So sometimes there are aspects of personal weakness, of chronic pain, of exhaustion and things like that. And when the Lord brings those circumstances, I think we remember to trust his sovereignty, to trust us providence, to continue to to step forward into the scriptures in faith, knowing that those weaknesses will pass eventually. And I pray that the Lord would live in our hearts to it.
3. Lack of Skill
The third reason sometimes is is simply a lack of skill. I know when I was a young Christian, there were large sections of the Bible that made no sense to me. I think we see this in the Ethiopian eunuch who talks to Phillip and says, “How can I understand what’s going on here?” And Phillip explained it to him. Sometimes we simply don’t know enough about the Bible, how it’s put together, how to rightly interpret it, for sections of it to seem living.The Bible is an inexhaustible source. And you know, when that is the case, what we want to do is simply work to grow in skill, to grow in our knowledge. The last command that Peter gives in the entire Bible is for Christians to grow. And so, as you and I make use of good resources, of listening to our pastors exposit the Bible, and seeking to learn from them how to use the text well in application, things such as the hermeneutics class in the RTS mobile app—all of these things are going to increase our skill and ability in understanding the incredible, joyful complexity of the Bible and all of its layers.
The Bible is an inexhaustible source, and there’s always things that we can learn from it. And as we continue to grow in our skill and ability, that’s going to cause the Bible to come alive in new and fresh ways for us. So when when we feel like the Bible is dry, I say those are three major categories that we want to look at. One is, evaluate our own lives: are we standing in rebellion before God, and that makes the Bible seem more dead to us? Are we physically weak and need some refreshment? And third, are there skills that we need to grow in that would make it come more alive?