Image Source:  The Gospel Coalition

At some point, someone in church has likely told you that you should be reading the Bible regularly.  When I was a child in Sunday School, we even sang a song about what happens when you read the Bible every day (and what happens when you don’t).  So why is it that so many people, whether they are regularly in the pews or not, don’t read the Bible each day?

Why We Don’t Read the Bible

First Things First

When I first volunteered for a children’s summer reading program that our church was offering to the community, a representative from the PEI Literacy Alliance came to explain to the volunteers why literacy is such an important issue on PEI.  I was surprised to learn that almost two-thirds of Islanders have limited reading skills.  It was then that I realized that when churches ask people to read the Bible, they may be asking them to do something they literally are not equipped to do.

PEI Literacy Facts:

  • the reading skills of 30% of PEI adults are so limited that they can’t deal with most printed material
  • an additional 35% of PEI adults need materials written clearly in plain language
  • reading skills of seasonal workers are lower than year-round workers
  • fewer than half the workers in farming, manufacturing and other primary industries have reading skills that allow them to meet most everyday reading demands
  • 80% of Canadian seniors cannot read well enough to deal with everyday literacy tasks
  • literacy levels get lower from west to east across Canada

from the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), 1996

For more PEI literacy statistics, click here.

Common Reasons

For those of us who are fortunate to be among the one-third of Islanders who are able to read well, here’s a list of reasons we usually give for not reading the Bible:

  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “It’s boring.”
  • “I don’t understand it.”
  • “I can’t find anything in there that’s relevant to my life.”
  • “I don’t know where to start.”
  • “I get so busy that I forget.”

I’m sure there are other reasons that I haven’t listed but those are probably the most common ones.

The Solution

Have you considered using a Bible app for your everyday Bible reading?  Anyone who has Internet access and a device that uses apps can read the Bible wherever and whenever they want!  A Bible app can solve many of the problems mentioned above:

  • Many translations (and languages) are available so you can choose one that is easy to understand.  You can also read the same verses in different translations to compare the words and phrases used by the translators, which can clarify the meaning of the passage or show a different way to understand the verses.
  • Bible apps often have audio versions so you can listen to the Bible rather than read it, which helps those whose reading skills or eyesight isn’t strong and those who are constantly on the go.  (And, yes, listening to the audio version of a book does count as reading!)
  • Bible reading plans are available for those who don’t know where to start and for those who want to find out what the Bible says about a topic that’s especially relevant for them.  Some reading plans also include an introduction that explains the concepts and context found in that day’s passage.
  • Some Bible apps have videos available so you can get a visual display of what’s happening in a particular passage.
  • You can set a reminder to read the Bible in the Bible app itself.

We are fortunate to live in an age when technology allows us to cross the barriers of time and space.  Most of us have a device of some sort with us at all times that allows us to stay connected.  If you use a Bible app, you can bring the Bible with you wherever you go and read/listen to/watch it in whatever way and at whatever time is most beneficial for you.  Why make Bible reading harder than it has to be?

“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”  (Joshua 1:8)

Check out a few of the most popular Bible apps:

One Comment on “Maybe We Shouldn’t Ask People to Read the Bible

  1. Pingback: Head First | PEI Baptist Association

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