By Patrick Miller
Plenty of people want to read their Bible more in 2021. So what’s stopping them? Time. Can you relate? Maybe you have kids who wake up early or friends who go to bed late. Maybe you need time to unwind, or you find yourself distracted during the time you set aside to read.
And yet, you really do want to read your Bible. The first step is finding your hunger, which I wrote about previously. Go read it before you read this, because without hunger nothing I say here really matters.
But what about time?
Unfortunately, finding time is more complex than solving a scheduling issue. For instance, what if I told you that I know the secret to reading 200 books per year? The average nonfiction book is about 50,000 words. So 200 books is 10 million words, which would take an average American about 515 hours to read.
Okay… so what? Who has 515 hours to spare? That’s where this gets interesting.
The average American spends 1,642 hours a year watching TV and 608 hours a year on social media. My friends and I average 819 hours a year just looking at our phones.
So, here’s the secret to reading 200 books: watch 30% less TV. Or spend 85% less time on social media. Or 63% less time on your phone. None of these are hard. So… now do you think you’ll read 200 books this year? Probably not. Why? Because it’s not a time issue. It’s a priority issue.
You need to love reading more than you love TV. Most people don’t.
Reading your Bible 15 minutes a day, five days a week only takes 65 hours a year. That’s 4% of the time we spend watching TV, 8% of the time we spend looking at our phones, and 10% of the time we spend on social media.
So is the problem really our busy schedule?
Can we be honest?
The reason we can’t find time for the Bible is the same reason we can’t find time to read 200 books. It’s not a priority.
We’d rather spend the 15 or 20 minutes it takes to read our Bible, doing what we love: email, Netflix, sports, video games, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, shopping, browsing.
You don’t have a scheduling problem. You have self-deception problem. It’s difficult to find a “when” for the Bible because you actually believe that you’re “too busy.” But maybe you don’t need a new planner. Maybe you just need to be honest with yourself.
Grammy award winner Chance the Rapper is a professing Christian. He took a sabbatical a few years ago, and this was his reason:
“I’m going away to learn the Word of God which I am admittedly very unfamiliar with. … We all quote scripture and tell each other what God likes and doesn’t like but how much time do we spend as followers of Jesus to really just read and KNOW his word? I’m definitely guilty of not devoting time to it.”
I love his honesty. There’s no self-deception. No “I’m too busy” (even though this guy tours the world!). There’s no excuses. No self-justification. Just, “I’m guilty of not devoting time to it.”
Maybe that’s a great place for some of us to start. Not shaming ourselves but admitting the truth to God, saying something like:
Jesus, I say I follow you. I say I love you. But I haven’t devoted time to your word. Honestly, I find it hard to give you just 15 minutes. I’d rather spend that time doing something else.
Jesus, I know that if I really love you, I should like you enough to spend a little less time on other things so that I can spend a little more time with you. But my heart is full of mixed up, dueling desires. Help me want you. Forgive me, because I’ve got no excuses.
Would you help me to make a change?
The secret to finding a “when” is closing shop on your own self-deception. Be honest about what’s holding you back. When you do that, you might be surprised how God shows up.
Are you ready to make a change and “find” the time to read your Bible? Click below for 7 easy steps to start reading your Bible consistently in 2021.
Don’t miss the rest of our five-part series for Making Jesus More in 2021:
- Part 1– 7 Easy Steps to start Reading Your Bible in 2021
- Part 2– Are You Hungry? The Secret to Reading Your Bible Consistently
- Part 3– The Real Reason You Don’t Have Time To Read the Bible
- Part 4– 3 Reasons to Delight in and Meditate on the Bible
- Part 5– 5 Simple Ways to Connect with God Through His Word