A Guest Post by Natalia Drumm
Are you ready for the confession of a Bible study teacher?
I don’t always get warm and fuzzy feelings when I sit down to study Scripture.
As a matter of fact, for many years, and through many seasons, I kept my Bible tucked away on a shelf and its pages hidden from my sight.
I didn’t have a regular Bible study routine.
God and I have wrestled back and forth on this issue countless times.
“How can you call me to study, teach and proclaim the truth of Your Word, Lord, when so many times I don’t feel like opening its pages?”
Perhaps you’re reading this and say, “Nope, that’s not me. I’ve always loved all my time in Scripture.” AWESOME! But hang tight with me and keep reading. You never know what might help another friend with their journey.
Perhaps you read my confession and are thinking, “Thank God I’m not the only one who has felt that way!” No, friend, you’re not alone.
And I’m here to help you expose, investigate and redeem those feelings.
Let me rewind a little and give you some context.
I grew up in the church. A beautiful, lovely, traditional Southern Baptist church, complete with its pews and hymnals.
My childhood was filled with felt board Sunday School lessons and pocket New Testaments.
I grew up during the era of Psalty songs and the Precious Moments children’s bibles.
I love the heritage of my church legacy, and I thank God for the history of my faith.
But somewhere along the way of Sunday school stories and memorized Bible verses and children’s hymns, I missed something.
I learned how to read the Word of God.
I had a reverence for God.
I had an awareness of God’s might and power and His great love for me.
Yet I had no idea what to do with the disciplines of faith when faith became difficult, complicated, overwhelming or unsatisfying.
Why read the Bible for myself when I felt confused by it? How was I supposed to do a devotional time when all my mind did was wander? Surely there had to be more to quiet time in my Bible than a verse a day? And should I really care about the genealogies and dietary restrictions from thousands of years ago?
Opening up my Bible became more frustrating than fulfilling. So I stopped.
I didn’t stop going to church or stop worshiping. I didn’t stop praying. I just stopped engaging with the Word of God…and my soul paid for it.
The longer and longer I stayed out of God’s Word the more space there was in my soul for the ways of this world to infiltrate my life.
That’s the problem with empty spaces—they seek to be filled.
I believed the lies that Satan whispered to me. I mistakenly assumed the reason my time spent in Bible study was dry was because the words themselves were dry.
The reality was my soul was parched, and I simply hadn’t trusted God with my heart to heal it.
Life is hard. Adulting is hard.
And walking this world as a Christian can be very hard. Jesus Himself told us it would be, but He also gives us this beautiful reminder—He has overcome the world.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
3 Ways to Jumpstart Your Bible Study Routine
So what do we do with the hard feelings of dryness and discouragement?
What do we do when our heart wants to follow God, but we don’t quite feel like studying God’s Word?
If you are struggling in your Bible study routine, here are three simple steps to help reconnect your heart with His.
Jumpstart Your Bible Study Routine Step #1–Invite God to Change Your Heart
Remember that just because you don’t feel satisfied doesn’t mean you’re not satisfied.
Just because we don’t feel like studying God’s Word doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
Just because we don’t feel all warm and fuzzy and overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit every time we study Scripture doesn’t mean it’s okay to put it down.
We’ve become so comfortable doing what we feel like doing, we forget that not everything we feel is good for us.
“The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?”
The modern-day mantra of “follow your heart” will lead us to some very wrong places.
There will be times when we come to God’s Word and it will be a dynamic, engaging and empowering experience.
These moments are gifts.
There are times when the words leap off the pages of Scripture and plant themselves deeply into the recesses of our soul.
Thank God for these moments!
But let us not expect that every moment in Scripture must be this way.
Sometimes we need to study the tedious laws in the Old Testament so we can see how impossible it is for man to attempt to fulfill it and how much we are in need of a Savior.
Some days we need to read list upon endless list of names so we can see the history of God’s faithfulness in preserving His people and His loving kindness to every generation.
Yes, the words may feel tedious, but the truths are timeless.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”.
Did you catch that? The Word of God is LIVING.
That means the Holy Spirit has the ability to draw our hearts closer to God through His entire Word—through any Scripture we read—if we invite Him to.
Jumpstart Your Bible Study Routine Step #2–Adjust Your Expectations
I mentioned it briefly above about not expecting every encounter with Scripture to be warm and fuzzy.
But I also need to explain that we NEED to expect every encounter when studying God’s Word to be alive and effective.
While we may not have the emotions we need to have, we must still expect to meet God in the pages of His Word.
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
For so long I wondered why I didn’t hear from God, why I struggled to know His will for my life, or why I didn’t feel close to Him.
I experienced all those struggles because I failed to spend time getting to know His character.
The occasions that I did open my Bible I expected to read about what God did for other people.
I didn’t expect Him to reveal Himself to me. I didn’t expect Him to speak to me through His Word.
My expectations needed an adjustment.
Every time we open the pages of Scripture we must expect God to reveal Himself to us!
It may be through teaching us of His steadfast love as we read about the salvation of the Israelites from captivity.
Or it may be about His mercy and justice as we read about His consequences for sin.
Or perhaps it may be His teaching us about equality of love and acceptance, as foreigners come into the family of God through faith.
Whatever we are reading on the pages of Scripture will always have something to teach us about who God is and what He is like.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (HSCB)
We bring all manner of expectations with us when we open Scripture.
And those expectations can filter our experiences.
Let us consider what expectations we have that we shouldn’t have and which ones we don’t have that we should.
Expectations aren’t terrible, as long as they’re the right ones.
Jumpstart Your Bible Study Routine Step #3–Connect to a Community
The journey of faith is not meant to be done in isolation.
Aside from times of personal prayer and fasting, Jesus lived His life in community with others. The Messiah did not think it above himself to live, teach, serve and minister to the world within a community of people.
When we connect with a community of believers, we discover that the struggles we face are not original to us.
Other people are struggling with the same issues we are facing, walking through similar seasons, praying similar prayers, seeking similar outcomes or repenting of similar sins.
Other people are struggling with studying God’s Word too.
As we walk in community, we find encouragement, support, and accountability.
The more and more I invest in the lives of the women in my small group, the greater and greater my desire is to stay planted in God’s Word faithfully.
The women walking the journey with me help keep me accountable.
“…not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We don’t study our Bibles in an effort to prove anything or to perform.
But knowing that there will be people in our lives each week to check in on us, ask us how our time with God is going and what we are learning from Him helps us stay focused and diligent with our commitment to study His Word.
This is the gift of community.
Studying God’s Word is A Lifelong Process
With the instant, drive-thru dinner culture of our modern world, it can be easy for us to transfer that mentality to other areas of our lives.
Because we can microwave our food in two minutes we assume two minutes within the Word of God will feed our souls.
The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint.
We’re feeding our souls slowly, not instantly.
The small disciplines we take, the continual efforts we make and the faithful commitments we walk out to study God’s Word will yield long term fruit.
You may dive into Scripture and find excitement and engagement for a few weeks and then come upon monotony and boredom. Don’t quit!
Press on in faithfulness.
There will be times the words we read and study today are not meant for our needs today. Yet those words can plant in our hearts and minds—and one day when we need them they will come to our remembrance.
Always remember, time spent with God is never wasted!
Even if we don’t start out with a love for studying God’s Word, that doesn’t mean we won’t grow to love it dearly.
The more we dive into scripture the more it takes root in our lives—and the more we come to love and enjoy Him and His Word.
Our Free Bible Study Challenge was crafted to help you take the next step in your Bible study journey, no matter where you are starting from!
- If you don’t currently have a Bible study routine, we will help you establish one.
- If you don’t currently have a Bible study community, we will equip you to build one.
- If you aren’t currently experiencing unity with other Christians, we will inspire you to pursue it.
And once we’ve helped you build momentum in one (or all) of these areas, we continue to connect you with free resources and tools that will help you endure long after this challenge is complete.
Register for our Free Bible Study Challenge Today!
You will receive a welcome letter right away and the first lesson (+printable worksheets) will land in your inbox within 24-hours.
We will be giving all participants an opportunity to share their testimonies with us at the end of the challenge. Our team is looking forward to hearing your stories and will be praying for you (and your Bible study communities) every day of the challenge.
Natalia Drumm is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a heart for women’s ministry. She leads small groups in her local church and began Girlfriends in the Word, a community of women seeking to build strong relationships with God and others through time in Scripture.
Natalia also writes for Lifeway Women’s Journey Magazine. She loves spending her time with her three boys and husband and can’t turn down a cold Coke and a chocolate chip cookie. Connect with Natalia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.