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7 Reasons People Don't Meditate on God's Word

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This article is part of the ongoing series Meditating on God’s Word.

1. Pride will keep you from God’s Word
Many arrogantly go through a given day without thought of reading God’s Word. They act as though they have no need for the Bible and are sufficient in and of themselves. However, the person for whom God is looking is one with a humble dependency on his Word. Consider Isaiah’s words:

But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2b)

God looks favorably to the one who places himself or herself under God’s Word daily.

Even the simple act of opening the Bible in the morning, before you leave for your daily labor, is a humble expression that you need God.

2. A misguided fear will keep you from God’s Word
I’ve met some who are intimidated by God’s Word, thinking only the clergy and professional ministers can get it. Let me encourage you with the doctrine of “The Clarity of Scripture.” This is the belief that God gave his Word to be understood by all God’s people. Interpretive principles are important. Scholarship has a place. But make no mistake, Scripture claims that it is written for the “simple” everyday Christian (See Ps. 19:7; 119:130). Have you ever considered that Paul wrote a letter like Romans to “laypeople,” not seminarians? He expected farmers, blacksmiths, tentmakers, shopkeepers, mothers, and other Christians to understand his letter. God’s people can understand God’s Word if they approach it with a heart of humility, seeking to obey it. Theologian, Wayne Grudem says, “No believer should think himself or herself too foolish to read Scripture and understand it sufficiently to be made wise by it.”[1]

3. A lack of understanding as to how you should study the Bible will keep you from God’s Word
At the end of this series, I want to help resolve this problem, giving you some practical steps in meditating and studying the Scriptures.

4. A belief that the Bible is boring will keep you from God’s Word
Perhaps you’ve used this excuse, or heard this excuse. Maybe it has grown out of experiences with boring worship services or boring preachers. But still, the fault is not with the Bible. The reason I had no desire for Scripture prior to conversion was my heart was hardened. The problem was never with the Bible. The problem was with me.

Sometimes people come up to me and say things like, “You really know how to make the Bible come alive in your teaching?” I know what they mean. They are trying to encourage me, usually. But one day I want to say, “Alive? I didn’t know the Bible was dead! In fact, I didn’t even know it was sick!”[2] God’s Word is living and active (Heb. 4:12).

If you think the Bible is boring, let me encourage you to do the following:

  1. Test yourself to see if you are truly born again (1 Peter 2:1-3).
  2. Test your lifestyle to see if you are addicted to entertainment to the point that you can’t slow down enough to read quietly and meditatively. If so, unplug for a season and read.
  3. Consider selecting a fresh reading plan and study plan. Ask a pastor or a mature Christian for some good study resources to recommend.
  4. Pray hard for the Spirit to illuminate God’s Word so that it burns in your heart (Luke 24:32).

5. Busyness will keep you from God’s Word
Of course, this is not a good excuse, but it’s all too common. Part of the exercise of meditating on Scripture is making time. One must plan to spend unhurried and unhindered time with God.

No one oozes into Christ-likeness. You don’t accidentally become a student of Scripture. Prioritize sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary, who chose what was best (Luke 10:38-42).

Whenever someone presents this problem of busyness to me, or if I feel myself trying to use this excuse, I’m reminded of a particular cartoon. An overweight man is looking at the doctor who is obviously hearing from the patient that “he’s too busy to exercise.” To which the doctor responds, “What fits your busy schedule, exercising one hour a day or being dead twenty-four hours a day!?” We will prioritize things that matter.

6. Laziness will keep you from God’s Word
R.C. Sproul says, “We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”[3] Like the “sluggard” in Proverbs who refused to go outside because “there’s a lion in the road” (Prov. 26:3), we often make bogus excuses as a cover for our indolence.

7. Unbelief in the value of Scripture will keep you from God’s Word
Indeed, a fundamental problem is that many don’t value Scripture and believe its own claims about its potency. What would happen if we really believed that the Bible was “more valuable than gold” (Ps. 19:10)? What if someone would give you one hundred dollars for every verse you memorized? Would that motivate you? And yet, the Scripture itself is more valuable than any earthly treasure.

Consider the powerful benefits of Scripture:

  • The Psalmist declared that God’s Word brings revival, wisdom, joy, understanding, warning, reward, cleansing, purity, and guidance (Ps. 19; 119:9-11, Ps. 119:105).
  • Jeremiah claimed that God’s Word brings joy and assurance (Jer. 15:16), along with brokenness and humility (Jer. 23:29).
  • Jesus explained to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus that God’s Word points to Him, and their hearts burned as he taught them (Luke 24:27).
  • Jesus prayed that his followers would be sanctified by God’s Word, which is truth (John 17:17).
  • Paul affirmed that faith comes by hearing from God’s Word (Rom 10:17).
  • Paul told Timothy that the Scriptures were sufficient enough to produce wisdom for salvation; content for instruction and reproof, and the necessary equipment for ministry (2 Tim 3:14-17).
  • The author of Hebrews stated the Scripture searches the soul and examines the heart (Heb 4:12).
  • The Apostles declare that the Word creates spiritual life, that is new birth (Jas. 1:21; 1 Pet 1:22-25)
  • Peter added that Scripture produces spiritual maturity (1 Pet 2:1-2).

[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 116.
[2] This response is mentioned in R.C. Sproul’s Knowing Scripture, 14-15.
[3] Ibid., 17.

Tony Merida serves as the Lead Pastor of Imago Dei Church, Raleigh, NC and as the Associate Professor of Preaching at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is married to Kimberly, with whom he has five children. Tony is the co-author of Orphanology and author of Faithful Preaching. He travels and speaks all over the world at various events, especially pastor’s conferences, orphan care events, and youth/college conferences.

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