“So how do you judge what a man is worth, by what he builds or buys? You can never see with your eyes on earth! Look through Heaven’s eyes. Look at your life through Heaven’s eyes.
– Prince of Egypt, “Heaven’s Eyes”
I have a confession to make. I’m a Christian and I don’t like reading the Bible. I never know where to start and because I don’t know where to start, sometimes I just don’t start.
But I’m still a Christian though, right? Anyway, like it or not, I can’t avoid the word of God forever, but if I dive right in I’m only going to get confused and frustrated. Luckily, at this point in my thought process, someone conveniently gave me a 5-minute devotional book. Five. Minute. Devotional. This is perfect. So I read that for a year and some and as I grew I knew God was nudging me to challenge myself a little more.
So I went out and bought a bigger devotional, one without a time limit. It was really great and I was feeling a lot more challenged, but after couple months I noticed that I spent more time focusing on the suggested reading in the Bible than the prompt in the devotional book. That’s when I knew God was showing me that it was time to unscrew my devotional training wheels and jump into the Bible.
And it terrified me.
Needless to say I ignored that until I was completely unsatisfied with my devotional. The very same book kept me fed and challenged suddenly left me wanting and unsatisfied. Touché, Lord. After some introspection, I realized that the only reason I don’t like reading the Bible is because I’m afraid I wont understand it and that’ll only confirm my lack of talent at Christianity.
Anyway, I know I can’t be the only bad Christian out there. Or maybe you are a really good Christian but you’re having a hard time diving into the Bible with no safety net. Either way I’ve been through this and I want to help. So from one bad Christian to another, here are some tips to get you started.
I’m sorry that this is so cliché, but hear me out. I noticed that sometimes I’m a little overwhelmed opening up my Bible to the the larger books. If I focus on 1 chapter a day, how likely is it that I’d still be reading Psalms 150 days later? Probably not likely. So, I started with the stories I loved the most and I thoroughly enjoyed rediscovering the reasons why I love them so much.
I’m going to level with you, I’m scared of everything and I struggle a lot with my faith. It is small and easily swayed and I am constantly asking God questions. But, like a lot of bad Christians, I grew up in the church and I’m familiar with a lot of the biblical stories. I was able to match what I’m feeling with a character in the Bible. I chose Esther because she faced a terrifying reality and faced it head on anyway. I chose Abraham’s story because he is credited for his faith. I was especially comforted when in Genesis 18, Abraham bombarded the Lord with so many questions and He was patient enough to answer them all.
Switch it up
Reading is a little hard for me and I’m easily distracted by wordy texts. I’m not a theological expert but I know the King James can be a little hard to understand, but I’ve heard, don’t quote me on this, that it’s the closest to the original text. My Bible is NIV and that’s fine for me but ESV is my go to. Sometimes I like reading the MSG because it has a modern tone, so reading it feels very natural, but sometimes a little too casual. AMP is a little lofty, but it is extremely thorough and, for me, it feels like I can get the most out of my verses this way. There is so much available to us these days. There is no reason why you should be married to one version you don’t really understand that much. Don’t be afraid to switch it up.
I’m a bad Christian and the only thing that redeems my lack of talent in this area is knowing that God loves me. I know I love Him back and these are the only reasons why I continue to read the Bible that I may never understand.
I’m going to wrap it up by saying, from one Bad Christian to another, please don’t count yourself out. It is so noble and brave to keep trying at something you don’t feel any good at. You must feel like you’re surrounded by a number of people who seem effortlessly righteous. I understand. So this is me calling out to any bad Christians out there. Know that God loves you. That’s enough. That’s plenty to get you started.