What To Do When You Don't Feel Like Studying the Bible

Isn't it wonderful when we have passion for the Word, looking forward to getting into the Scriptures?

I wish this were true all the time, but it's not.

Here is my reality: I'm interested in getting into the Bible about two mornings out of seven. I lack the desire the other five mornings a week. How do I know that I lack the desire? Just about every other distraction -- right down to defragmenting my computer hard drive -- is more interesting in that moment than opening the Bible.

I tell you this to encourage you. Satan gets a lot of mileage trying to persuade people that they are the only person who [whatever]. It's not the truth.

But I do read and study in my Bible daily. Even the days I don't feel like it. *Especially* the days I don't feel like it.

Consider Paul's words to the Corinthians about self- discipline so that he would be ready to serve others:

"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." (1 Cor 9:26-28, NIV)

Bible teachers need to be self-disciplined to study the Word because it's training and preparation for helping others learn, and for whatever service our Lord calls you to.

Years ago I studied martial arts. I can still remember the fury of my sensei when I showed up for practice and told him I didn't feel like practice. "Feeling is not important. Doing is only thing." And then he pushed me harder that day than ever before.

No one asks the soldiers in boot camp if they feel like doing more pushups. It's irrelevant.

The safe thing to assume is that you won't feel like studying the Word, and go ahead anyway.

I'm not going to mollycoddle you and tell you it will be ok, and suggest you pray that Jesus gives you more desire tomorrow or the day after that. If you know what to do, do it.

Welcome to spiritual maturity!

But I will assure you about two things:

1. If you just get started, it will get easier and more enjoyable. Whenever I start to exercise (or even think about exercising), the committee of whiners in my head starts complaining. (Some people say that they have an inner voice; I have a whole committee up there, and half of them are whiners.) Just keep going, and the whining quits.

2. Acting on what you know, apart from how you feel, will strengthen your character -- this yields fruit in the crisis moment. You're increasing your capacity to do what is right, no matter what.

It will help enormously to have specific study goals and objectives. At a minimum, get a Bible reading plan and decide to follow it. If you miss a day, forget it and start right up wherever the plan is (don't fall into the trap of trying to get caught up).

Lives are at stake here, beginning with your own!


Glenn Brooke has been working on self-discipline in Bible reading for almost 24 years. When he's not teaching Bible lessons, he's coaching other teachers. Go to for a free package of helps for teachers.

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