While reading through R.C. Sproul’s rudimentary book on hermeneutics, called Knowing Scripture, I came across two excuses that people use as to why they don’t read their Bibles. The first excuse boils down to this:
“I don’t understand the Bible.”
Sproul makes the point that anyone with a high school education can pick up and read the Bible and gain a basic understanding of its message. Christians know that the Bible is supposed to be a “…lamp to [their] feet and a light to [their] path” (119:105). They may think that it is “…profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16). But many Christians continue to willingly starve themselves because they will not take up and read. The guilt many Christians feel about not reading the Bible is chalked up to the fact that it is “hard.” Obviously some passages in the Scriptures are more difficult to grasp than others, but the Reformed have always believed in the clarity of Scripture as a whole. Even a child, if he takes up and reads, can understand the message.
The second excuse is this:
“The Bible is boring.”
Sproul’s words in response:
“When people say that the Bible is dull it makes me wonder why. Biblical characters are full of life. There is a unique quality of passion about them. Their lives reveal drama, pathos, lust, crime, devotion and every conceivable aspect of human existence” (15).
Not to mention that through the Bible the Spirit quickened our hearts to believe the words of the gospel! We have been given the whole story of redemption in one single book, and yet we find it boring? The Bible gives the answers to our deepest questions and needs. Do you lack joy? Do you lack devotion? Do you lack obedience? Only in turning to Scripture, in turning to Christ can we find rest for our souls!
There are several reasons why many Christians find the Bible boring:
1. We don’t know what our needs are (though only the Bible can tell us).
2. We don’t think the Bible will help us with daily life (though it is our lamp and light).
However, for most Christians, Sproul strikes on perhaps the biggest reason we don’t study our Bible’s:
“Here then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy” (17).
As Americans, we like things to be easy. But when it comes to the Bible, actual intellectual work is involved. The first step is not to make excuses. The first step is to admit that we have a real problem: our sinful natures are hard wired for slothfulness, at least when it comes to the most important things in life. The devil himself would love to keep us from the Word, for on its pages we find the message of true joy: that in Christ our sins are forgiven. He has turned away God’s wrath. We can live a life full of good works in response to that message.
Let us not forsake reading (and studying) what we base our lives upon! Let us not forsake what godly men have died for!
Let’s follow the example of Christ, who when tempted by Satan simply refuted him with the words of life: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Indeed, let us imitate Christ, who was (and is) the only human who could (and can) perfectly say the words of Psalm 119:11:
“I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.”
that I might not sin against you.”