Some folks love to read the Bible and really encounter God in its pages. Others look at the results of Spirit-led Bible study–like radical understanding, drawing close to Jesus, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and God's on-time word for your situation–and want no part of it.
If you're in the last group, you probably prefer to be left to your own devices when you study the Bible. You probably prefer to just do your reading and get nothing out of it. If that describes you, I wanted to help you today. If you really want to read the Bible and get nothing from it, there are specific things you can do to avoid encountering God in the pages of Scripture.
So, in no particular order, here are 12 awesome ways to read the Bible and get nothing from it: 😉
1. Read the Bible in a noisy place.
In Psalm 46:10, God said “Be still and know that I am God.” Therefore, if you really want to avoid encountering God in Scripture, then you should definitely seek out as much noise to accompany your Bible study as possible.
So when you go to read the Bible and get nothing out of it, try these things:
- turn the TV up;
- turn the radio on;
- turn the weather radio on;
- keep your cell phone on “loud”; and
- check Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest every time you get a notification.
Do not, under any circumstances:
- turn the TV off;
- get up before your children, so your house will be relatively quiet;
- turn your phone on silent or even leave your phone in a different place; or
- ignore social media when you get notifications. After all, the world cannot exist without you for even 10 minutes. Yes, you're that important.
All the things on the second list above are total no-nos if you want to read the Bible and get nothing out of it.
2. Make your time with God your last priority.
No matter what, be sure you eat your breakfast, take your shower, work all day, eat dinner, and pay all your bills before you get around to seeking God. If you put everything in your life on your priority list before God, then you're sure to get nothing from your Bible study. ‘Nuff said.
3. Never write in your Bible.
Leaving written memorials to God in your Bible is a total no-no if you want to get nothing from your Bible study.
Therefore, do not write notes in your Bible about what specific verses mean to you. Do not highlight key passages. Do not, under any circumstances, write the date God spoke to you through a certain passage next to that passage. Keep the pages of your Bible as untouched as possible.
(I guess you could skip all the rest of the points and just never read your Bible, too, if you want to get nothing out of it. Nevertheless, if you're determined to get your reading in, soldier on through points 4-12 below.) 😉
4. Don't pray before you read.
Since Jesus said “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), you definitely should not pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand His Word before you read it. Just try to plow through it on your own. You don't need God's help if you want to read the Bible and get nothing from it, so don't waste your time asking.
5. Don't pray through each verse as you read it.
God's Word is perfect. Both His character and His will for your life is perfectly revealed in it. Therefore, if you want to avoid encountering God in the pages of Scripture, you should definitely avoid asking Him for the things He has promised you in Scripture.
For example, if you read Ephesians 1:18 about the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, you should definitely not ask God to enlighten your understanding.
Here are some other things NOT to ask God for if you want to read the Bible and get nothing from it:
- the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16);
- wisdom (James 1:5);
- hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6);
- renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2);
- prophetic perception (1 Corinthians 14:1);
- becoming like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18);
- material provision (Philippians 4:19); and
- comfort and help (John 14:16).
Do not, do not–I repeat, do NOT–pray through the verses you read if you want to get nothing out of your Bible study.
6. Don't read anything relevant to what's going on in your life right now.
- If you're sick, don't study the verses about healing.
- If you're broke, don't study the verses about God's provision and how to handle money God's way.
- If you're sad, don't read any encouraging passages.
- If you feel dead inside, don't read Jesus' continuous preaching about how He gives LIFE (which is not just for the afterlife, by the way).
You'd hate to have God break into your situation, fix it, and comfort you, so definitely avoid reading passages that pertain to your current situation.
7. Don't get a translation you can understand.
Read as archaic a version as you can find. “Thees” and “Thous” are an absolute must. If possible, read a Bible in a foreign language–one that you don't speak and have never studied. That should do the trick if you want to read the Bible and get nothing from it.
8. If you do learn anything new while you study, don't write down your thoughts in a journal.
To avoid encountering God in the pages of Scripture, do not use your journal to take notes while you study. For example:
- Don't write down passages that impact you word-for-word.
- Don't write down questions you may have as you study.
- Don't write down what you feel like the Lord is saying to you.
- Don't thank God in writing for what He has done for you today.
- Don't write down the new ideas and flashes of inspiration you get while you read.
Really, to avoid the temptation to do any of these things, it's best to not even buy a journal. Especially not a pretty one that inspires you to write in it. That way, you're extra-sure not to encounter God or hear His voice in the pages of Scripture.
9. Read as fast as possible.
The Christian life is a sprint, not a marathon, after all. You've got to get through this thing as fast as possible. Therefore, you need to read at least 27 chapters per day in order to cross “Bible study” off your Good Christian list. That means you should read as many verses and chapters as possible every day if you want to get nothing from your Bible study.
It doesn't matter if you don't understand a thing you read. Just cross chapters off your list. Reading the Bible through in a year, a month, or even better–a day–is, after all, a sign of holiness. Hey, holiness has nothing to do with conforming to the commands of Christ. It's just about spiritual-looking accomplishments. So read that thing as fast as you can, baby.
10. Don't look for Jesus in the pages of Scripture.
The Pharisees in the Bible–the religious types who ruled ancient Israel's religion–were experts at Scripture. Jesus Himself testified to that fact in John 5:39-40:
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”
The Pharisees were experts at Scripture, but they totally missed Jesus. If you want to avoid encountering Jesus also, then avoid looking for Him in His Word. That means:
- Don't study how the Tabernacle in the wilderness portrayed Jesus;
- Don't study how the Law of Moses foretold Jesus;
- Don't read the prophesies about Jesus in the Psalms and in the book of Isaiah;
- Don't read about how Jesus loves the Church in the Song of Solomon; and
- Avoid noticing how God revealed Himself to guys like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and Elijah.
If you don't want to encounter God in Scripture, you definitely want to ignore the fact that all Scripture points to Jesus. Don't you dare look for Jesus in its pages if you want to get nothing out of the Bible.
Related: Jesus Is Like Sweet Nectar
11. Multi-task while you're reading.
You're a busy person, so don't miss the opportunity to drive, cook, clean the house, check your Facebook (see point #1), talk on the phone, and do any other task you can think of while you're “studying” the Bible. The Holy Spirit doesn't mind being an afterthought, anyway, right? (See point #2.)
12. Never ponder the practical application of what you read while you read.
When you read verses that say stuff like “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31), do NOT, under any circumstances, do the following:
- Don't think about who you're mad at that you need to get right with.
- Don't think about who you've been gossiping about that you need to stop gossiping about.
- Don't think about how you constantly pick a fight with your husband, just because you like drama, and you need to cut that out and be nice.
- Do not–absolutely do not–forgive anybody you've been bitter against.
If you do any of those things in response to the Word, you'd actually be obeying the Word… and you can't obey the Word if you don't want to encounter God. After all, Jesus said:
He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).
If we keep God's commandments, it proves we love Him. Then the Father loves us, and then Jesus loves us and manifests Himself to us. If you don't want to encounter God, you wouldn't want that to happen.
Those are the best ways I can think of to help you read your Bible and get nothing from it. I'm sure, however, that there are people out there who have even better tips than these.
What other ideas can you share that will help people avoid encountering God in the pages of Scripture? Share your ideas below!
Image courtesy of Hamed Saber on Flickr.