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4 common hurdles in reading The Bible

As Christians, we know the best way to know God more is to read our Bibles. This sounds like it should be easy, but we often have a hard time sitting down and actually reading God’s word. Most people have hurdles they have to overcome. Continue to read as I share 4 common hurdles in reading The Bible and how to overcome them.

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4 common hurdles in reading The Bible (and how to overcome them)

Today, we’re going to talk about four different hurdles we can face when reading the Bible. As Christians, we all want to read the Bible and pray more and we know what to do, right? There is a Sunday school song that says: read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow.

We know that that’s how we get to know God more.

But knowing it and actually doing it are two different things.

And if you’re like me, then Bible reading every day isn’t easy for you. It’s something that maybe you struggle with.

And if it is, then it means that there’s some sort of barrier keeping you from doing what it is that you want to do. So today we’re going to take some time to talk about some of the barriers we can face while reading The Bible and I’m going to give you a few tips on how to overcome them so that hopefully you can have some success later on.

And I really hope that you don’t feel judged or diminished in any way when I go through these things, because, for one, we all go through different struggles when it comes to our relationship with the Lord. I think it’s normal.
I feel like talking about it is really good because we can encourage each other and just know that I
also struggle with some of these things.

There are many hurdles that may come our way during Bible study, but today I wanted to focus on 4. 

For each, I’ll share what each hurdle may look like and then give a few tips to overcome them. 

1. Not enough time 

This may be you if:

A few tips to help you overcome this barrier

A) Make a list of all the things you are doing:

My first piece of advice is to make a list of all the things that you’re doing and then reevaluate to see if
they are important right now.

For example, every summer my husband mows the grass on Saturday mornings, but now it’s fall.

We haven’t had a lot of rain, so our grass isn’t growing and so it would be a waste of time for him to
spend thirty-forty minutes mowing the grass. So in the fall, he takes that off his To Do
List.

A picture of 3 women jumping over a hurdle. Above the picture are the words 4 common hurdles in reading The Bible. www.onedeterminedlife.com

B) Replace with Reading The Bible

Now the trick here is to go through your routines and you see that you don’t have to do
something anymore because the seasons have changed.

You want to make sure you replace part of your FREE time with reading your Bible and maybe the rest of that time resting so that you’re not feeling like you’re adding things to your routine.

And then on top of that, you’re feeling more rested than normal because that usual task is not on
your list anymore.

These things can be anything from chores or activities with children or family obligations or maybe work. Anything that isn’t always the same throughout the year.

Think about, whether or not something needs to be done right now. Can I do this on a day when I
have more time or do we have to continue doing this right now because the season changed?

For example: Maybe you’re a gardener and in the summer that takes up a lot of the time of your time.
Then in the wintertime, it doesn’t.

So then it’s using some of that time that you were doing something else and just adding Scripture into that.

C) Find creative times in your day to include fellowship with God

For example, if you’re feeling like you have too much to do and there’s too much going on and you don’t want to add one more thing to your To-Do List.

What you can do is think of something you’re already doing and then add scripture, or prayer time to that
event.

So for example, when I am in the car by myself, whether that’s going to run errands or picking
up the kids or dropping something off, what I like to do is to turn off my radio and then I spend that time in prayer.

So I’m not adding to the things I have to do. I’m just adding prayer or scripture reading to what I’m already doing.

I know many people who will listen to an audio Bible while they’re doing something. Because that works really well for them.

So if you’re an auditory learner, then maybe it’s listening to the Bible while you’re doing something else

2. Distractions

The second hurdle I want to talk about is distractions. If this is you then

A few helpful tips:

A) Turn off ANY digital distractions

My phone was a huge destruction for me for a long time. I took the extreme step and switched from a smartphone to a regular phone. I did this for 2 years, and am now back to using a smartphone.

The 2 years without a smartphone help me create boundaries over phone use and I learned how to limit phone distractions.

I’m not telling you to get rid of your phone, but playing with the notification settings will help.

I know that on my phone there’s a setting I can go in and I will say do not disturb. So when that
is on I will not hear the phone call and I will not get a notification about a text coming in.

So then those notifications aren’t going to draw my attention away from when I’m studying my Bible and will be there once I’m done. I can go back into the settings, turn on my notifications, check my
voicemail, check my texts, see what I’ve missed, and go on.

Now, if that’s even going to be too tempting for you, try putting your phone on the other side of your house, maybe in your bedroom or somewhere where you’re not going to be so that when those notifications do come in, you don’t even hear them because you don’t see them, depending on how tempting the phone can be.

An image with The Bible verse Colossians 3:2

B) What to do with the Kids

If you’re like me when my kids are babies, I really wanted to read my Bible in front of them because I wanted to set a good example, but they would like to take out my markers and try to colour in them and it just created so much more stress for me.

So the idea of reading my Bible and trying to study it with my kids around just was not good for my mental health and so I had to find other times.

I then switched to reading my Bible during quiet time. If you’ve had young kids, you know that when
they’re young there’s not a lot of quiet time. So sometimes I would do this when they were watching TV
or while they were napping.

I also found that there were always natural parts of the day when the kids had less energy or were
playing happily together, where I could have five-ten minutes reading scripture without them
disrupting me.

But there are also times as a mother when there was no time during the day when I didn’t have one kid on me. And so that’s when I talked to my husband. And we decided that during a portion of the week, he would spend the time with the kids so that I can take that time to be with the Lord alone without any distractions.

I know that that’s a privilege and not everybody listening has a spouse or family that can do
that for them. Or if they do, it’s not daily or weekly, but it’s really just taking some time to figure out how you can have quiet time with kids around and find a time that works for you.


C) Follow a reading plan

I have a busy mind and so I often get distracted reading my Bible and Praying. To help me with that, I follow a Bible reading plan. I can go back to my plan and remember what I’m reading and then I’m doing it.

It’s a good trigger to remind my brain hand you’re reading the Bible today, get back to this plan.

D) Keep a prayer journal

The second struggle I have is to keep focused on praying. I often start praying for something and then get distracted from another thought.

What has helped with that is having a prayer journal. That way I can write down who I’m praying for and what I’m praying for.

That way, if I do go down some rabbit trails and I catch myself, I think don’t have to spend
all this time trying to think about what or who I was praying for. I can go back to my journal and see where I left off.

1 Year Bible reading plan

3. Negative Self-talk

You may be someone who needs help overcoming negative self-talk. This can look like:

Tips To overcome this

A) Challenge thoughts with Scripture

The best thing we can do to overcome some negative talk is to challenge those thoughts with scripture.

We have a great example of Jesus in the desert where Satan comes and tempts him and Jesus replies with Scripture.

So the best way we can fight the lies that Satan likes to throw at us is with scripture.

for through him we both have our access in one spirit to the father.

Ephesians 2:18

If you’re feeling like you don’t belong in God’s presence, there are many verses that say otherwise. And so the lies that the devil throws at you may be different than the lies he throws at me.

And so you can spend a few minutes and figure out what are the specific lies that the devil is telling me, and then think of verses that can contradict the lie.

Then those verses tell me exactly God’s opinion so that I can fight back with the word of God.



B) Challenge thoughts with truth

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellent if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8

I encourage you, anytime you have some negative self-talk, whether you’re putting yourself
down, whether you’re making yourself feel like you’re not worthy enough and those thoughts are just
filling up your mind, let that be a trigger to remind you of the truth.

Ask yourself, what is good, what is just, what is lovely. This verse is a really long way of saying to think about the Lord because He is all these things.

And anytime we think badly of ourselves and look down on ourselves, we can come back to the Lord and think about Him and He’ll give us a proper view of what’s happening.

I find just these two things are an excellent way to challenge those negative thoughts that we have and then encourage me to come into his presence.

When I do that, I realized God is such a loving father, even if all those negative thoughts are true. His love and his sacrifice have taken those all away.

So, in His presence, He doesn’t see those things. He sees the sacrifice Jesus made for us and our sin has been taken away.

It gives us the mindset of Jesus when He looks at us and what He says about us and not what we say about ourselves.

One thing that I heard recently I thought was completely brilliant is this: speak to yourself the way
you would speak to a friend.

So if a friend is going through a really hard time, you’re not going to turn around and say, mean things. No, you would never do that because they’re your friend.

But we say that to ourselves because we feel like that.

And so it’s just practicing giving yourself grace. Speaking truth to yourself the way you would speak to a friend.

4. Lack of Confidence 

This can be a barrier you face if:

Tips to overcome this:

A) Remember Hebrews 4:14-15

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4: 14-16 

This is just a long way of saying, nowhere in this does it say that you have to have a certain IQ or a certain understanding or certain position to be in the presence of God.

Regardless of who we are, when we come through the Lord Jesus Christ, we are all accepted into the presence of God and we can come into His presence with boldness.

We can do so because we stand on the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ and on His merit, not ours.


B) Look at who God met with

Jesus interacted with all these people

Nowhere in Scripture does it say that you have to be good enough to see Jesus.

What you do see is Jesus spending time with all those people who were sick with sin.

If Jesus can meet with lepers and sinners and prostitutes and the lowly, then He
can meet us too.

When we read Scripture it says God so loved the world, the world includes us. There is nothing that can separate us from the Lord’s presence.

Jesus is calling us to come to him. He wants all people to come to him and know him.

Action Steps 

The Faith in Action Conference

The Faith in Action Conference is a FREE 4-day virtual event to help Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive Bible study of Mathew 5-7 & James.

The conference is all about helping Christian women take action in their faith through a deep dive into Bible study.

16 speakers over 4 days will help you discover how to live out your faith by looking at Mathew chapters 5-7 & James. These chapters are filled with practical advice for us. Everything from how to treat one another, to marriage advice.

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