Why is reading lots of Bible so difficult sometimes?
Yesterday, I shared a little bit about how reading the Bible in large chunks is a really good idea. What I didn’t mention, though, was if I had any suggestions for how to do this—is there a practical tip or trick to share?
Something we need to remember, of course, is that the issue isn’t only a practical one. We struggle to read the Bible because the echoes of our sinful selves still remain and fight against it. We’ve all spent significant portions of our lives rebelling against our Creator, so it’s not like we should expect reading the Bible to be easy.
But there are some practical reasons, too. The Bible is a book like no other, in all the best ways. But it’s also, generally, published like no other. We can’t help but notice verse numbers, cross references, and double columns. The chapter and verse breaks don’t always seem natural. Now, don’t get me wrong: they are totally valuable for in-depth study and reference. But as valuable as they are, they signal us that it’s not a “normal” book we’re trying to read. And as a result, I have to wonder if that’s part of what makes the Bible seem harder to read than it is.
So what can we do about it? Discipline is approximately 86 percent of the issue,1 without question. We need to prayerfully commit ourselves to consistently reading our Bibles, prioritizing it above everything else we read. The translation we’re reading plays a crucial role, too, in that we need to find one that balances readability with accuracy.2
But in addition to prayerful discipline (faith-fueled effort as some might say), and choosing the right translation for us, is also choosing the right format to read from. I really like single column Bibles for this reason. It comes closer to feeling like a “normal” reading experience. But what I enjoy even more is a good Reader’s Edition (especially if it’s broken up into multiple volumes). Last week, I started reading through a Reader’s edition of the Gospels, and I found I was reading it like a normal book (in the right ways). I wasn’t looking for the endpoint to be determined by verse numbers or chapters but stopped where a natural break in the text occurred. There were moments where I almost forgot I was reading the Bible because I wasn’t getting the same visual cues I would from a traditional one. It’s been a great experience, one I look forward to continuing.
What I’m not saying, of course, is that these types of Bibles should replace traditional ones. But if you have the funds available, I would happily encourage adding one to your library. (Here’s one I like.) And who knows? You might find yourself reading the Bible more often as a result.