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The Danger of an Over-realized Expectation of Reading the Bible

We expect too much from our Bible reading.

I realize that's a provocative statement, but before you click away, hear me out.

Not long ago, a group of women gathered in my living room to dialogue around this question:

"What are the greatest hindrances to women engaging with Scripture, and how can we overcome these hindrances?"

We talked through the usual answers:

  • busyness

  • distraction

  • misplaced priorities

  • text is too confusing

  • unsure where to start

But then this response arrested my attention: "Women expect an immediate reward when reading Scripture. We want a warm fuzzy to tuck in our pockets and take with us for the day, and when we don't get this we are disappointed, and we give up."

I think this is true of many women.

We have an over-realized expectation of reading the Bible. We wrongly believe that reading the Scriptures every day will be immediately rewarding.

Now, sure, there are times we do have an emotional response, and we can tuck an encouraging line or two from the Bible in our hearts for the day, but this doesn't always happen - especially when we are in some of the more difficult passages of Scripture.

We mistakenly look for short-term fruit rather than long term fruitfulness. But Bible reading is not often immediately rewarding. Instead, the reward comes over time. Showing up in the Word of God day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year is what shapes who we are. Bible reading over years is what transforms us.

The danger of an over-realized expectation of reading the Bible is that we will become disappointed and eventually give up, assuming that God's Word doesn't work for us. But feeling dry in Bible reading is part of the normal Christian experience. But the Spirit of God is doing a work in our hearts and lives whether or not we get goosebumps when reading the Bible.

Instead of treating the Bible lie a treasure hunt to unlock some mystical knowledge, view it as God's revelation to us and His design for life. God is not withholding Himself from us; He is telling us who He is through His Word.

Instead of expecting to be moved emotionally every day from your Bible reading, expect God's Word to transform you over time. He who promised is faithful.

Do you want a fresh way to study Scripture? Check out the S.T.O.R.Y. Bible study method. Combining timeless methods of Bible study, Study with S.T.O.R.Y. is a fresh way of studying Scripture. Using the acronym S.T.O.R.Y., this approach to digging into God’s Word will guide you through 5 steps for studying the Bible, one chapter at a time: Simply read, Thoroughly mark, Openly explore, Re-write text, Your story.


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