4 Steps to Keep From (Merely) Scanning Scripture

4 Steps to Keep From (Merely) Scanning Scripture


Do you have a tendency to skim over repetitive passages of scripture?

It’s no secret, we all do it. You sit down with Bible in hand and start reading diligently only to find yourself on down the line unconsciously skimming over certain details. A good example I find is the greetings at the beginning of all the epistles. 

I don’t know about you, but since I believe that

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV),

it frustrates me that I have so much trouble actually making myself find meaning in certain passages.

The solution however, can be quite simple. Here are 4 practical steps, tips really, that should help you get more out of your bible reading, even when reading familiar or repetitive passages.

4 Steps to Keep From (Merely) Scanning Scripture


1. Slow Down

Naturally when you have an agenda you view your time reading scripture as a job that needs accomplished before getting on to the next one. But when we meet with God to read His word to us, we need to meet with Him and (within reason) forget everything else. By slowing down and reading more purposefully, you are likely to catch what might have seemed obscure phrasing.

2. Word Study 

Next I would suggest taking the passages apart. Whether you want to go in deep or just a little way past the surface. Take a concordance and examine some of the words that seem to get lost in the shuffle of every day reading. I would even advise grabbing a study bible and/or commentary and comparing what they say about the context.

3. Meditate

Anything that you read only once can be, and is most often, quickly forgotten. Take a small passage, (a little bit at a time), and write it down. Then think about it. Consider its meaning. Ask yourself some questions that arise. Meditate on the passage.

4. Compare versions

Many respected Christian leaders recommend the practice of comparing versions of scripture. As long as the versions are accurate. This is a good piece of advice because though the meaning is the same, the way it is written and the different words used to explain or describe it will cause you to think about it in a new way.

For instance, I was raised as a child on the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible but when I received my second bible as a young teen it was a New King James Version (NKJV). It was then an experience rereading passages in the (what I considered) more advanced version. I was a pretty die-hard believer in the NKJV for the longest, until I began comparing passages from it to other versions. Now I compare what I read quite often, especially when I am struggling to better understand something specific. And what’s more, today I have verses I prefer in other versions because the translation is more meaningful.

Remember, by versions I am stating that there are different translations not different scriptures. After all, the original is Hebrew and Greek so everything else we read is a translation. The point is to read from the most accurate translations.

5. Pray

And lastly, here’s a tip that is of the utmost importance when reading the bible period. Pray that God will open your understanding and give you patience to focus on what you are reading. He won’t deny you this because what you are asking is in line with His will. Granted, this doesn’t mean it will suddenly become easy. The learning process, and the journey to get to understanding, is just as important to Him as the ending result.

Notice that these steps also apply to understanding hard passages as well. 

Everything about God’s Word is meaningful. If we find we have a problem with it in one way or another, we should continue to trust His faithfulness and search for understanding from Him.

What about you? Do you find yourself struggling to focus on scripture? Has this post encouraged you? Let me know your thoughts below!

If you want to read more on this subject, read How to Tell if You Are Suffering from The Martha Syndrome (and 5 Ways to Deal With It).

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