Earlier this year, a Barna report found that a vast majority of Americans—nearly nine out of ten—own a Bible. But you can probably guess the catch: a much, much smaller percentage actually read those Bibles on a regular basis. Thirteen percent read the Bible each day. About half read the Bible “at least four times a year.”
Here’s what I find most interesting about the study’s findings, however: most people wish they read the Bible more than they do. So why don’t they? Almost all of us have Bibles sitting on the bookshelf (an average of 4.4 copies, in fact). What’s keeping us from reading them?
This is an important and productive question to ask yourself—not just to make yourself feel guilty, but because if there’s an obstacle in your life that’s keeping you from reading the Bible, the first step in overcoming it is identifying what it is. So what’s keeping you from reading the Bible as much as you’d like? Here are a few that have hindered me at different points in my life:
- A packed and hectic daily schedule.
- A fear that the Bible is difficult, boring, or confusing to read.
- A belief that the Bible isn’t relevant to modern life.
- Laziness—I know I should, but I simply don’t take the effort to make it happen.
Maybe you can relate to some of these, or perhaps you’ve got different reasons all your own.
Starting this week, we at Bible Gateway hope to add some insight into this discussion with a new series of interviews about the obstacles that keep us from reading God’s Word. As with our recent video series about Bible verses that speak to the year 2013, we’ll talk to Christian authors and thinkers like Lee Strobel, Jefferson Bethke, and Annie Downs. It’s all a part of our 20th anniversary celebration, during which we’re exploring the topic of Bible engagement in 2013 from a variety of angles.
Look for the first installment in our “obstacles to Bible reading” series tomorrow. And in the meantime, take a few minutes to consider the obstacles in your own life. Do you want to spend more time in God’s Word? What needs to happen to make that a reality?