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4 Ways To Read The Bible When You Can’t Read The Bible

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Brain fog feels like an old friend at this point.  It has come and gone since my early 20s.  Caused usually by chronic fatigue and/or mental health struggles, and probably exasperated by medications.  

When I am dealing with brain fog, I find it hard to concentrate for longer than a few minutes (or even seconds!).  Getting my thoughts to connect is like wading through thick, heavy molasses.  Reading anything, including my Bible (which usually brings me comfort) feels impossible.  Have you been there?

Even when I’m struggling, I know where true comfort can be found–God’s word.  It is living & active and has the power to provide wisdom, comfort, and intimacy with God.  And even when I feel unable to read, I long to be reminded of his beautiful truths.

Paul writes in Hebrews 4:12

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” 

Brain fog doesn’t just affect people with mental health struggles.  Even common life issues like stress and exhaustion can cause this ailment.  So how can we let the Word of God wash over us, in seasons where we feel unable to read the bible? 

For me, these 4 things have allowed me to absorb God’s word, without actually reading.

1.  Listen to the Bible App

The Bible app is free and very simple to navigate.  I used this app for years to read the Bible before ever trying the listening feature, and it is a game changer.  

I choose a chapter, click play, close my eyes, and just listen to God’s word.  No effort required.  And you don’t even have to be struggling with brain fog or comprehension for this to be helpful.  I know lots of people who listen as they drive, or do chores around the house.

And depending on what type of learner you are, you may even be able to absorb the Bible better when listening.

2.  Have a friend or partner read a small portion of the bible to you

In my first year of marriage, I suffered a bad season of depression.  I could barely get out of bed and make it to my job.  I would drag myself home afterwards, and sink into the safety of my bed.

One of the only things that brought me comfort during that time was my husband sitting next to me, reading me small portions of God’s word.  It was usually Romans 8 or the Psalms.  But whatever it is was, it was so helpful.

There is something about someone you love reading scripture to you that feels [almost] sacred.  You are able to hear God’s words in a new way..  I would definitely recommend trying this.

3.  Read the Jesus Storybook Bible for small, easy to digest bits of God’s word (or listen to it)

Isn’t this a children’s book?  Yes, yes it is. But sometimes all you can handle is scripture broken down in to easily digestible bits, like a child.

You may think it is silly, but Zack bought me the leather-bound edition of The Jesus Storybook Bible our first Christmas together.  I thought it was a thoughtful gift, but I had no idea how valuable it would be for me just a few months later.

This book beautifully weaves together God’s story, taking special care to illuminate Jesus at the center of it all.   Sally Lloyd-Jones uses such pure language.  Her writing paints the complexities of the Gospel in a stunningly simple way. 

In the middle of mental health struggles, or a season of fatigue and brain fog, The Jesus Storybook Bible is exactly what my heart needs.  Maybe it could be helpful for you too.

4.  Write out a comforting verse

I recommend writing a verse in Psalms, if you don’t know where to begin.  Psalms is a book full of songs crying out to God.  A collection of hymns where the author(s) are pouring out their emotions before God, remembering the ways God is faithful, and can encourage us to cling to these truths, despite our circumstances.

 If you enjoy drawing, you could decorate the verse you wrote out.  But if that isn’t your thing, just writing scripture can be cathartic. Give it a try!

Whether you are in the trenches of mental illness or just exhausted from daily life, my hope is that you could use one [or all] of these tools to calm your weary heart.  Let God’s word bring you comfort, even when you can’t actually read the bible.


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