When Bible Reading is Frustrating
Adapted from Surrender Your Story by Tara Sun
Picture this. It’s early in the morning and you are sitting down with your first cup of coffee of the day. Your couch, desk, or favorite cozy spot is covered with the essentials: your Bible, an adorable notebook, pens, and some highlighters in the prettiest pastel palette. The house is quiet, and you have all the time in the world.
You savor the last few drops of your delicious coffee and then set it aside as you pick up your Bible. A few moments go by as you flip through its pages and then, finally, you choose a passage to read. But as you begin reading, something unexpected happens. You suddenly realize that none of what you’re reading makes sense. The excitement you had when you sat down with your pile of supplies starts to slowly fade as God’s words start to blur.
“What does this outdated law or painfully long genealogy have to do with anything?”
“What does THAT word mean?”
Has this ever happened to you?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to read the Bible, and then suddenly realized that I was lost—that what I was reading didn’t make sense. And because I had no idea what was going on in those pages, all I felt was frustration. It was easier to shut the Bible than it was to keep on. As you may guess that frustration ended up robbing me of the joy I should have had in the Bible.
It was starting to feel like God’s Word was something only the pastors at my church could understand, or those with PhDs, the famous scholars who have come before, or maybe even the Christian influencers who have a lot of followers.
But there is good news that eases our insecurities, feelings of inadequacy, or fears when it comes to reading the Bible.
If you are in Christ, if you have given your life to Him, then His Word is for you. His Word is accessible to you. His Word can absolutely, 100 percent, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be understood by you through His empowerment. His Word has the power to change your life (yes, your very own life). His Word is not hidden from you, and it holds nothing back from you.
Deuteronomy 30:11–14 says, “For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”
Moses, the author of Deuteronomy, was talking specifically about the laws and commandments God had given to the people of Israel. He boldly asserted that Bible was not too hard, too far off, or too complicated for them to understand. Why? Because here’s the promise we too can claim: If we put our faith in God in true salvation, through God’s power, we have full access to Him, His Spirit, and the understanding of His life-changing truth.
Whether we feel smart enough or equipped enough, if we are in Christ, the amazing, unchangeable truth is that God’s Word is for us. It’s not hidden from us. God wants us to know Him! He desperately aches for His children to immerse themselves headfirst into His Word, plumb its depths, and emerge transformed.
Quick Tips & Journal Questions for Your Bible Time:
Who? Who are the people/characters in the text? What is said about them? How are they described? What do they do?
What? What is happening in the text? What is the point or main message?
Where? Where is this taking place? Where is the writer? Why might the location be important?
When? Think about time. When do the events in this passage take place? When is the writer writing this? Sometimes the chronology provides additional context that helps us understand what’s going on in the text and how to apply it to our lives today.
- Why? Why was this passage included in Scripture? Why did the author include certain surprising details?
To learn more about the freedom found in surrendering our plans to God, wait upon his timing, and understand His Word, Tara Sun has written a new book, Surrender Your Story: Ditch the Myth of Control and Discover Freedom in Trusting God.