Young People Ask . . .
How Can I Make Bible Reading More Enjoyable?
“At times the Bible is hard to understand, and that can be discouraging.”—Annalieza, 17 years old.
“I found the Bible boring.”—Kimberly, 22 years old.
MANY people do not enjoy reading anything. So a book as large as the Bible may seem overwhelming—even for avid readers. “To me, the Bible was a thick book that contained many big words that were hard to understand,” says Tammy, who is 17 years old. “Reading the Bible requires a lot of concentration and endurance.”
In addition, homework, household chores, and recreation may consume much of your time and energy. This too can make it hard to concentrate and enjoy reading the Bible. Alicia, who is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, also takes time to prepare for and attend Christian meetings and to share her beliefs with others. She admits: “Bible reading can be difficult because there seems to be an endless amount of things to do.”
Yet, Alicia, Tammy, and many other youths have met the challenge. Now they read the Bible regularly and take pleasure in it. You can too! Consider three things that you can do to make Bible reading more enjoyable.
Make Time for Bible Reading
“I think young people say that Bible reading is boring because they haven’t done it enough,” says Kelly, who is 18. Just as you enjoy a sport or a game that you play often, you will enjoy Bible reading as you do it regularly.
But what if you have very little free time? The apostle Paul advises: “Keep strict watch that how you walk is not as unwise but as wise persons, buying out the opportune time for yourselves, because the days are wicked.” (Ephesians 5:15, 16) You can ‘buy out time’ by spending less time on nonessential activities like watching TV. The term Paul used for “time” can mean a time that is appointed for a specific purpose. What could be your appointed time to read the Bible?
Many read the Bible in the morning, after considering the Scriptural text and comments found in the booklet Examining the Scriptures Daily. * Others prefer reading before going to bed at night. Choose a realistic time that works for you, and adapt as needed. Alicia observes: “Flexibility is really the key to my keeping a regular schedule for reading.”
Some Christian youths schedule 10 to 15 minutes daily to read the Bible. By doing so, they have been able to finish the entire Bible in a year or two! Even if that seems beyond your reach, make it your goal to read a portion of the Bible every day. By resolutely sticking to your appointed time for Bible reading, your love for God’s Word will grow.—Psalm 119:97; 1 Peter 2:2.
Pray for Wisdom
Admittedly, even regular Bible readers find portions of God’s Word difficult to grasp. The Bible’s Author, Jehovah God, wants you to understand his Word. The book of Acts tells of an Ethiopian traveler who could not fully comprehend a prophecy in Isaiah chapter 53. The man was willing to ask for help, and Jehovah’s angel sent the missionary Philip to explain the prophecy to him.—Acts 8:26-39.
Effective Bible reading, then, does not begin with reading at all, but with prayer. Before opening their Bible, some make it a practice to pray to Jehovah for the wisdom to understand and take to heart the lessons in their reading. (2 Timothy 2:7; James 1:5) God’s spirit can even bring back to your mind Bible verses that will help you to answer questions or cope with trials.
One young Christian man remembers: “When I was 12, my father left our family. One night I was praying in bed, begging Jehovah to make my father come back. I then picked up my Bible and read Psalm 10:14: ‘To you [Jehovah] the unfortunate one, the fatherless boy, commits himself. You yourself have become his helper.’ I paused for a minute. I felt that Jehovah was talking to me and letting me know that he was my helper; he was my Father. What better father could I have than him?”
Could you make it your habit to pray each time you sit down to read the Bible? Adrian suggests: “Pray before reading—and after, for that matter—so that it really becomes a two-way conversation with Jehovah.” Heartfelt prayer will deepen your resolve to stick to your Bible-reading schedule and will strengthen your relationship with God.—James 4:8.
Make It Live
Kimberly, quoted at the outset, found the Bible to be boring. True, the Bible is a very old book—written far before the advent of the computer, the television, or the airplane—and Bible characters died thousands of years ago. Nevertheless, the apostle Paul wrote: “The word of God is alive and exerts power.” (Hebrews 4:12) How can such an ancient book exert power?
In the days of the copyist Ezra, thousands of men, women, and “all intelligent enough to listen” were gathered together in Jerusalem to listen to a reading of the Law of Moses. At that time the Law was already over 1,000 years old! Yet, Ezra and his assistants “continued reading aloud from the book, from the law of the true God, it being expounded, and there being a putting of meaning into it; and they continued giving understanding in the reading.” When these men explained the Scriptures and put life into the reading, what resulted? “All the people went away to eat and drink and to send out portions and to carry on a great rejoicing, for they had understood the words that had been made known to them.”—Nehemiah 8:1-12.
How can you ‘put meaning’ into your Bible reading? Cathy, who finds reading a challenge, reads aloud to focus her attention. Nicki tries to put herself in the setting of the account. “I imagine how I would feel in that situation,” she says. “My favorite story has always been the account of Ruth and Naomi. I can read it over and over again. When I moved to a new city, I drew comfort from this story because I could imagine how Ruth felt going to a strange place and not knowing anyone. I saw how she put her trust in Jehovah, and it really helped me to do that too.”—Ruth, chapters 1-4.
For the Bible to ‘exert power,’ meditation is needed. Each time you read, take time to reflect on the scriptures you read and to consider how you will use what you have learned. You may want to refer to Bible study aids published by Jehovah’s Witnesses to enrich your reading. *
Sticking to a Bible-reading schedule is not easy. Even the best Bible-reading program may need to be adjusted from time to time. How can you persevere in your goal to read the Bible daily?
Your friends and family can help. Fifteen-year-old Amber says: “I share a room with my sister. Some nights I am so tired that I just want to go to sleep, but my sister reminds me to do my reading. So I never forget!” If you find a particular scripture or passage to be interesting, talk about it with others. This will heighten your appreciation for God’s Word and may even stimulate their interest in Bible reading. (Romans 1:11, 12) If you neglect your Bible reading for one day or longer, don’t give up! Pick up where you left off, and be more determined than ever to stick to your schedule.
Never forget the rich benefits that come from daily Bible reading. By listening to Jehovah through his Word, you can enjoy a close relationship with him. You will come to perceive his thoughts and feelings. (Proverbs 2:1-5) These precious truths from our heavenly Father will prove to be a protection. “How will a young man cleanse his path?” the psalmist asked. “By keeping on guard according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9) So begin—and stick to—a Bible-reading routine. You may find it to be far more enjoyable than you ever thought it could be!
^ par. 11 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
^ par. 22 The October 1, 2000, issue of The Watchtower, pages 16-17, gives a number of practical suggestions to help you dig deeper into the Bible.
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Prayer and research will enhance your Bible reading and help you to unlock the meaning of the Scriptures
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Putting yourself in the setting of the account will make the Scriptures come alive