Bible Study Tips… For the apathetic

A photo by Léa Dubedout. unsplash.com/photos/N6STB5KbRUUProbably the most common, yet least vocalized, excuse about reading the Bible is apathy.

Think about it, when asked, “how is your time with God?”, we give the typical cop-outs:

Too busy/ don’t like to read/ can’t understand it/ etc.

When, in fact, we have plenty of down-time to surf Netflix. We consumed all 3 Hunger Games books in 1 week. We study fascinating theories on greek mythology in our spare time.

Yep, for many of us, apathy is the honest-to-goodness reason we avoid God’s Word. This is probably true for 1 of 3 reasons:

  1. We do not care what the Bible says. Our opinion satisfies, so we do not search the Scriptures for God’s.
  2. We are unprepared for conviction and unwilling to change. By not reading truth, we can claim “out of sight, out of mind,” and stay oblivious to God’s leading (or at least we think we can.)
  3. We actually don’t like what the Bible says. Our Christianity is based on the parts we like (which we can summarize on a colorful little 3×5 card.) As Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, says: we say “I don’t believe that” when really, we just don’t like it. Disbelief sounds less rebellious and challenging to God than “I don’t like what You have to say.”

Understandably, apathy towards the Word of God can be paralyzing to our Christian walk!

The people of God in the Old Testament, the Israelites, faced great destruction for their apathy toward God’s Word. They went so far as to ignore the Law of God altogether. When a certain “book” was re-discovered during King Josiah’s reign, the response was shock and amazement:

When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders … “Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.” 2 Kings 22:11-13

If we continue to live apathetically toward Scripture, we too might face devastation in our lives. Not only are we missing out on the undeserved blessing of KNOWING God Almighty, our Savior; but we are also denying the Lord our attention and obedience.

Based on Josiah’s experience, we too can return to right devotion to the Lord by reading Scripture.

Ready: Josiah was ready and available to receive God’s Word. We see this in his words and actions in 2 Kings 22:

  • Unlike his father, Josiah was living in righteousness. Even as a little boy, he was seeking to please God. (v. 1-2)
    • A question to ask yourself (and that I am asking myself): Have I made my heart ready to receive the Word of God? Josiah was already seeking to please God; am I seeking to preserve my own opinions?
  • Josiah was striving to rebuild the temple when the book of the Law was rediscovered (v. 3-8)
    • How can I seek to rebuild my relationship with God in preparation to receive His Word? (Sing a song like “Lead me to the Cross” by Hillsong United or “Over my Head” by Starfield.)
    • Read Job 38. Recognize again how HOLY God truly is. Shed the apathetic attitude and “brace yourself like a man,” in the presence of God.

Receive: Josiah was not hard-hearted when he encountered truth.

  • When Josiah heard the truth of God’s Word, he tore his clothes and immediately sought after the Lord. (v.11)
    • As I read God’s Word, I will ask God to help me understand it. Can I humble myself to seek God’s Will for my life, my heart, my mind?
      • Pay attention to the words of Scripture, and leading your sense of the Holy Spirit. Remember, the Holy Spirit will always lead us in the same direction of Scripture.

ephesians-5-15

Repent

Immediately, after seeking the Lord about the revealed truth, Josiah enforced change. His actions are recorded in 2 Kings 23:

  • Not willing for others to remain ignorant, Josiah read the truth to his nation (v. 1-2)
    • How can I share the truth I read in God’s Word with others? Or will I be cowardly and value false “tolerance” in the face of truth?
  • “He pledged to obey the Lord by keeping all his commands, laws, and decrees with all his heart and soul.” (v.3)
    • In what ways has my heart become rock-hard to God’s commands? I will pray for reconciliation, and a willingness to obey. Then I must have the perseverance to actually do it!
  • He removed from the temple everything used to worship other gods. (vs. 4, 6, 8, 10-16, 19)
    • What do I need to remove from my homes, my bedroom, my mind, my smartphone? What idols come between me and God? (I’m thinking Pinterest, just saying.)
  • He redirected or executed the people who led his nation astray (vs. 5, 7, 9, 20)
    • Are there people in my life that lead me astray? Can I resolve to have a greater influence on that person, stopping my ears from the lies they lead me to believe? If not, I may have to sever relationship to maintain wholehearted devotion to God. This applies to friends, family, role models (other bloggers), and media.
  • He celebrated the things that God celebrates (v. 21-23)
    • Have I been to church lately? Have I gathered with God’s people, lifting up His praise through singing? Does my conversation gravitate toward negativity? Or am I celebrating and thanking God, remembering all He has done?
  • He got rid of “mediums and psychics… and every other kind of detestable practice” (v. 24)
    • Do I read my horoscope, forward emails for good luck, knock on wood, or use the words “karma,” “jinx,” and “bad omen?” While I know they are silly and meaningless, Should I easily speak these detestable practices with the same lips that I praise God? (James 3:7-12)

Josiah’s story is also recorded in 2 Chronicles 34-35. You can also read about the devastation Israel faced for ignoring God during Josiah’s reign in the prophetic book of Jeremiah.

Still not “getting there?” If you still feel apathetic, perhaps you are struggling with a different issue. Press the “Follow” button to get updates on more topics for the Bible Study Struggle.

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