Reasons Why People Don’t Read The Bible: “I Don’t Have Time”

Last Updated: April 19, 2022By

In a recent article, we discussed how reading your Bible is the number one thing you can do to become a better Christian Ambassador. I know I made it sound like an easy answer. And yet, if you ask the vast majority of Christians, the only time they read their Bibles is on Sunday during the sermon.

One of the most popular answers as to why people can’t do something is “no time”. Americans never seem to have enough of it. It’s why we can’t work out, or read any book, or go to church, or make that lunch date Aunt Lucy keeps inviting us to. We’re so busy!

I’m a family man, so I understand all that means in this day and age. Both my wife and I work. We have two kids – one whose mission in life is to join every extracurricular activity that gets posted at her school. Life gets pretty busy. And tiring. I get it. Where can you possibly find the time to read the Bible?

Where Has All The Time Gone?

Let’s have a look at some areas Americans spend their time in.

  1. Checking Email – According to a survey conducted by Adobe, the aveae American worker spends 143 minutes every day checking personal email. That’s almost 2.5 hours a day.
  2. Watching TV – The average American spends 3.1 hours per day watching TV
  3. Social Media – On the average, people spend almost 2.5 hours on social media a day with Facebook being the highest (58 minutes), followed by Instagram (53 minutes), and Youtube (40 minutes)
  4. Commutingthe average American has a one-way commute of 27.6 minutes

Those numbers may not fit your average day, but the point is it probably does to one degree or another. Chances are, you can probably say you do all of the above in a given day. You may have just never kept track of how much time you were spending doing them.

And I can’t tell you how many people I hear throughout the week say “we just finished binge-watching (insert latest Netflix/Amazon/Disney+ show here). Now we need something else to watch”. And I get it. For many of us, watching TV is a thing we do together. My wife and I certainly look at it this way. It’s time we can sit together and take a break from everything else we have going on. And, it’s hard to get up from a good show that has really hooked you! But, just like with your phone, add up all of the time you have spent watching the various seasons of your favorite show. And how many shows you’ve gone through…

If I Could Find Time In A Bottle

But, what if you could find 30 minutes a day? Just a half of an hour. You could read the entire book of Ecclesiastes in 1 30 minute sitting. So, one day. The book of Romans – 2 days. The Gospel of Mark – 3 days. The book of Genesis – 7 days. All the Psalms in 10 days. All the letters in the New Testament plus the book of Revelation – 15 days. The entire New Testament in 40 days. And the entire Old Testament in 120 days. That means if you watched just one less episode of that TV show a day, you could read the ENTIRE Bible in one year. Twice! And STILL have 45 days left over.

OK, maybe 30 minutes a day might be tough for some. And, I know it’s hard for a lot of people to sit and read for 30 minutes a day. Especially if you’re not already someone who likes to read (although… isn’t scanning through the comments on Facebook posts reading?). Now, think about this. Reading a single chapter in the Bible might take you about 10 minutes. Where can you find 10 minutes in your day? Standing in line for lunch? On your commute to work? Waiting for your kids to get out of school? Imagine how much happier you would be with 10 fewer minutes of news watching every day.

Time In Your Hands

Put that phone you carry around with you to good use! There are lots of really good Bible apps available. With a Bible reading app on your phone, you could be reading through a chapter of Romans while you wait for your Venti Peppermint Moccachiatolatte rather than scrolling Facegram or Instabook.

My personal favorite app for digital Bible study is Logos. It has a lot of great features for highlighting, note-taking, and cross-referencing. My favorite feature is the Bible Reading Planner. You can set up a plan to read any book in your library over a given time and Logos will tell you what chapters to read each day to complete your goal. My personal favorite plan is the entire Bible chronologically in one year (although I rarely complete it in 365 days and that’s OK!).

Another cool feature is that all of your notes, books, reading plan progress, etc sync across all of the ways you may use Logos – on your phone, your computer, and in any browser. The app is free, and you get a lot of great books to get you started. You have to purchase additional books, though. But, their library is vast.

Time In Your Ears

Reading isn’t the only way to access the Bible, though. And think about all the time you have doing mindless tasks but can’t hold a book or your phone to read – like doing dishes, doing laundry, doing yard work. That’s where audiobooks can help you. Imagine how much reading you could get done if you took even 10 minutes of your 27.6-minute commute and listened to a Bible audiobook. Or, maybe you listen to it while you’re working out. Hey, that’s two things at once. Talk about multitasking!

I’ll always advocate for reading a physical Bible over a digital one. Studies show that we tend to retain information better when we read physical books. There is something about the tactile experience we have with physical things that aids us in memory and retention. Also, reading things on our phones and tablets gives us more opportunities for distraction. And, I bet if you really looked at your day, you could find 10 minutes to pull your Bible out and read a chapter or two. But, if the only time you can find is when you have your phone in your hand, digital will serve you well to keep you fed.

Congratulations! You Found The Time!

Finding time to do important things can be hard with everything we have going on. But, I promise you the time is there. And dedicating even a small fraction of your day to reading the Bible is something that will impact you tremendously for the rest of your life.

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About the Author: David W. Gilmore

Dave Gilmore is the founder and editor-in-chief of Legati Christi. Over the past few years he has developed a passion for Christian Apologetics and theology, and enjoys talking to others about the Christian world view

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  1. Cameron Regenstreif September 12, 2023 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    the classic saying is i don’t have time to read the bible. that’s not true if you just stopped watching tv or being on ur phone 30 minutes less you would have time. you always have time it’s just if you want to do it or not which is something i struggle with

    • David W. Gilmore September 14, 2023 at 8:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Cameron,

      Getting started can be intimidating. Start small. Ask your teacher for good ways to get started

      Thanks for your comment

  2. Jacob Turk September 14, 2023 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    This is something I struggle with and I know it’s a very common thing for people my age and people of all ages. I feel like the creation of technology really hindered people reading actual important things and now all people read is nonsense on social media about dumb things that don’t mean anything when we all could be reading the Bible and understanding our faith more. I get sucked into social media too and I just scroll and scroll on Instagram for hours sometimes so I feel like if we just limit ourselves and start to read the Bible and make the time for it then we would all have better relationships with God and the world would be a better place.

    • David W. Gilmore September 14, 2023 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Hi Jacob,

      Great observation. I find myself wasting a lot of time on social media some days, too. What do you think we can do to fix that?

      Thanks for your comment

  3. Jacob September 14, 2023 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    I feel like people say they can’t find the time to read the Bible when in reality they choose not to find the time. I feel like the creation of technology and social media also plays a big factor in people not “having the time” to read the Bible because people including myself get sucked into social media and scrolling for hours that is takes time away from us that we could be reading the Bible and strengthening our faith and our relationship with God. So I feel like we all could use a limitation on social media/technology in order for us to actually sit down and read the Bible and understand it and create a good solid relationship with God

    • David W. Gilmore September 14, 2023 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Jacob,

      Technology can certainly lead to a lot of wasting of time. I’m guilty of it, too. What do you think we can do to resist getting sucked into scrolling through our social media feeds?

      Thanks for your comment

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