Have you ever opened up God's Word and felt like you were in a desert, drudging through sand with every word that you read? Or have you ever finished reading Scripture and felt as if you got nothing out of the text? We have all been there. Seasons of dryness when it comes to reading God's Word are normal. But even though this struggle is common, there are still ways to bring some vitality into our Bible reading. Here are three tips for when your Bible reading feels dry.
Remember the Purpose
When I was younger, I thought that studying Scripture was something I had to do or God would be mad at me. This caused me to develop a legalistic mindset, viewing quiet time as a begrudging duty. It wasn't until later in life that I learned that God has given us His Word so we can know Him. Not only this, but God gives us His grace in both dry and saturated seasons in the Word. God's favor is not determined by the success of our quiet time, for God's favor has been given to us through Christ alone.
This perspective changed everything for me. Instead of viewing Bible reading as a task, I viewed it as an invitation from God to know Him more deeply. If you feel like your Bible reading is dry, consider the purpose of your study. Maybe you feel like I did, and sometimes still do, that your study of Scripture determines God's favor. Or maybe you can view Bible reading with a "checklist" mentality, tacking it on the list of the things you have to get done today. Instead of viewing Bible study as what you have to do, view Bible study as what you are invited to do by the God of grace. Pursuing knowledge of the God who invites us to know Him is a delight rather than a duty.
This may seem simple, but prayer is essential when reading God's Word. The God who invites us to His Word is the same God who helps us study His Word. When Bible reading feels dry, God welcomes us to come to Him in prayer. After all, Scripture is the very Word of God. We can approach God for help because God's words cover each page; therefore, He is the best source for true understanding.
By His grace, God has given believers the Holy Spirit, who aids us during Bible Study. The Spirit helps to illuminate God's Word–this means that the Spirit reveals the truths of Scripture to us. The Spirit causes our minds to grasp and understand what Scripture is saying and what it means for our lives. The Spirit also gives us the strength to persevere when studying God's Word feels hard or dry. If your Bible Study feels dry, lean into the power of the Spirit. Rely on His strength to keep returning to Scripture even if you're struggling. And pray, pray, pray. Pray as you open up God's Word, as you read, and as you finish your study time. Consider adopting these prayers from Psalm 119 into your daily routine:
- "Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wondrous things from your instruction" (Psalms 119:18).
- "My life is down in the dust; give me life through your word" (Psalms 119:25).
- "Help me understand the meaning of your precepts so that I can meditate on your wonders" (Psalms 119:27).
Change Your Routine
If you still feel like your study time is dry, consider changing your Bible study routine. It is not bad to quit a Bible reading plan that makes Bible study feel more like drudgery. It is not a bad thing to quit a book of the Bible that is hard. While I encourage you to try again in the future with more difficult texts, there is nothing wrong in taking a break from a book and going to a text that you know well or speaks to your current situation more intentionally.
You can also tailor your quiet time to how you learn best. Bible study does not look the same for every person because God has wired each of us to learn in different ways. Do you learn best creatively? After studying a passage, consider implementing a creative outlet such as hand lettering a verse, writing a poem in response, or singing God's Word aloud. Do you learn best by note-taking? Consider purchasing a journal from The Daily Grace Co., such as the In the Word Journal or the Be Still Journal, which have different sections that help to guide your study of Scripture.
If you are in a season where Bible Study feels dry, don't be discouraged. God gives you His grace during this season and equips you by the power of the Spirit to press on until the waters of vitality come again.