Have you ever looked at a passage of scripture – read it and looked away and immediately thought, “what did I just read??!!!” We’ve all been there. What happens is that frustration and irritation set in and the Bible sits for longer periods of time unopened and unlearned. Yet, we have the responsibility to make a diligent studied effort (II Tim. 2:15). What are some practical things that can help?
Repetition of Verse: One man said, “What the mind repeats is what the mind retains”. Many times Jesus repeated his teachings in different times and different ways so that they would “get it” (c.f. Matt. 5-7; Luke 6). Scripture should permeate the lives of Christians and be repeated for as long as it takes to “get it” (Deut. 6:4-9; II Tim. 3:15-17). Never give up!
Removal of Vice: Our society is built to distract! Seldom can we go for any length of time without checking for email, sports scores, messages, etc. When these cause a Christian to become repeatedly distracted from diligent Bible study, then these devices can simply become vices. Jesus often went away to lonely places to contemplate the spiritual (Matt.14:13; Mark 6:31; Mark 1:35). How much more should His disciples retreat from distractions to commune with God?
Read in Volume: How many books have you read in the last thirty days? Yikes! That may be a problem. If reading is not habitual, then expect to be distracted by literally everything! However, the more the written page is absorbed and contemplated, the more a Christian will find ease in getting into the Book of books (Jn. 21:25).
Respond to Value: In reading, some scriptures will simply “speak” to whatever problem or issue that we are dealing with in our lives. It does absolutely NO GOOD to let that verse pass by without meditating on it, underlining it, highlighting it, writing it, praying it, and committing it to memory. Recognize those obvious and practical applications that can be made immediately. This will immensely help in seeing and responding to value in all scripture (II Tim. 3:16-17).
Remember the Purpose: Jacob had to wrestle with God to receive the blessing, “I will not let You go unless You bless me” (Gen. 32:26). The problem with Scripture sometimes is that we let go too early and we fail to “wrestle” with the text. Remember the purpose is to be blessed by God by studying what He has revealed. That is a great purpose and should help to renew diligence for Bible study. AB