Caleb writes, “Pastor John, what do you do when you’re bored of reading the Bible?”
I pray my acronym I.O.U.S. Even the psalmist had to pray this way. That encourages me enormously. Caleb and I aren’t the only ones who have ever struggled with feeling excited about the Bible; the psalmist did too. I.O.U.S. is my acronym.
I stands for incline. “Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain!” (Psalm 119:36). Isn’t that amazing? I am amazed that the psalmist would ask God to incline his heart to the word. What? You are not inclined to the Bible sometimes, Mr. Psalmist?
“I look at things the Bible says about the Bible to rekindle my love for the Bible.”
O stands for open. “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18). The psalmist could go to the word and not see anything, just like us. Some days we stare, but the pages are blank. We feel horrible for our insensitivity. So, we can join the psalmist and pray, “O God, open my eyes.”
U stands for unite. “Unite my heart to fear your name” (Psalm 86:11). When my heart is all fragmented, it goes in every direction. I look at flies on the wall or hear something in my driveway and get distracted in a hundred ways. The psalmist does too. So, he pleads, “O God, get my heart together so it can focus.”
Finally, S stands for satisfy. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love” (Psalm 90:14).
I pray that acronym, Caleb. I join the psalmist and plead, “Incline my heart, open my eyes, unite my heart, satisfy my heart. O God, don’t leave me in this season of boredom or blankness or deadness.”
Scripture on Scripture
I have a long list of other passages I go to. Let me just tick them off. I won’t linger on them long, because I think they themselves are the most important things. I look at things the Bible says about the Bible to rekindle my love for the Bible.
- “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies” (Psalm 119:98).
- “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable . . . that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
- God’s word awakens faith: “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
- God’s word gives life: “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:13).
- God’s word is life: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
- God’s word makes us holy: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
- God’s word gives freedom: “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Don’t you want all those things, Caleb? You can only find them in the word of God. Because I preach that way to myself, I am preaching that way to Caleb. I look to see what the Bible says about the Bible.
When I really need to, I read sermons by people who are not bored by the Bible. For me, that often means Jonathan Edwards. After reading a sermon by Jonathan Edwards, I come away loving the Bible, wanting to see what he saw, wanting to feel what he felt. Let that happen. Go to church and listen to pastors who are gifted in opening and exulting over the word. Their seeing and loving the word will kindle your own.
The list goes on and on. But I will stop there and say, “Caleb, you are not alone.” Our love for reading the Bible constantly goes up and down. Even when you don’t feel like it, keep tending the garden of your heart. Be like a farmer who must get out every day, pull weeds, and till the soil. Don’t do it because the fruit will come that day, but because it will come in God’s sovereign timing if you keep tending your garden.