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8 Sneaky Ways Satan Stops You from Reading Your Bible

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
Published Mar 28, 2024
8 Sneaky Ways Satan Stops You from Reading Your Bible

Satan works overtime in trying to stop us from reading our Bible because he knows better than anyone that it’s God’s written Word. A treasure chest of wisdom, teaching, knowledge, encouragement, and equipment for service in God’s earthly kingdom. The Bible is a love letter to those who believe in Jesus Christ and a spiritual resource for seekers. 

We may not even recognize Satan’s assault on our lives with deception, distraction, and discouragement. But when we become aware of the enemy’s tactics, we can neutralize him. Here are eight ways Satan tries to keep your Bible closed and strategies to outmaneuver him.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/RyanJLane 

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Church congregants, DOJ argues that restrictions on churches should be rolled back

1. Not Taking Your Bible to Church

As the pastor prepared to start his sermon, he told anyone who needed a Bible to raise their hand, and they’d be given one to keep. No hands went up! The parishioners knew that every Scripture the pastor used in his sermons was on a handout in the church bulletin, as well as projected on screens at the front of the church. Why would they need a Bible?

Sadly, this has become the norm in many churches today. Congregants become passive instead of participants, as they’re spoon-fed Scriptures and feel there’s no reason to bring their Bible to church. Can churches still be considered “Bible churches” when no one opens a Bible, sometimes not even the pastor? 

Regardless if your church projects Scriptures on a screen, take your Bible to church and look up Scriptures the pastor uses in his sermon. Make notes in the margin or underline passages in your Bible that God uses to speak to you. If you’re not sure where a book in the Bible is located, check the Table of Contents. The more you interact with your Bible, the quicker you’ll learn your way around it. Some people put index tabs in their Bibles to locate the various books. You may prefer having a Bible on your phone instead of a hard copy, but still open and read from it.

I’m fortunate to attend a church where people bring their Bibles. The pastor puts the Scripture references in the handout notes, but not the Scripture text. He encourages everyone to look them up in the Bible, even if they’re also on the screens. What a blessing to hear Bible pages turning and the joy this must bring to our Lord. 

As we grow in our maturity and relationship with Jesus, taking our Bibles to church, looking up Scriptures, writing notes in our Bible, reading along in our Bibles also sets a godly role model for our children and grandchildren.

Flashing Scriptures on a screen, or printing them in a handout often tossed after church, will never replace knowing and reading the written Word of God from your personal Bible.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Photo Credit: Sincerely Media/Unsplash

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2. Technology Replacing Bibles

2. Technology Replacing Bibles

Let’s discuss hard-copy Bibles versus a Bible on your phone. A Bible App is convenient and accessible when your phone is with you. Today, who doesn’t always have their phone with them! What if we experienced the same panic at leaving our physical Bible at home as when we leave our phone at home?

However, technology is vulnerable and fallible. In the remake of the Left Behind movie depicting the rapture of believers, the anti-Christ takes control of the world. One scene caused me to gasp aloud to my granddaughter’s chagrin. A man’s wife and son were raptured, but he and his daughter were left behind. The husband remembered that his Christian wife had told him about the Bible, predicting this would happen. He tried finding a Bible on his phone now, but there weren’t any. The screen said, “No Bibles found!” All electronic Bible Apps were deleted. Eliminated!

He went into their bedroom and found his wife’s Bible on the bedside table with all the notes in the margins and highlighting she had done over the years. She left behind for him a legacy just as our Bibles will be a legacy of our faith journey for our families when we die. 

Phone Bibles are useful, but shouldn't entirely replace God’s written Words. You can look up Scriptures on electronic devices, but you’re not seeing the complete Bible or holding this precious Book in your hands. It’s like looking at one line in a book, but never reading the entire book. 

There is absolutely a place for electronic Bibles for online studies or in areas where Bibles aren’t available. But reading and interacting with God’s written Word is about a relationship. We interact and interface with the entire Bible. It’s personal. When you have a close relationship with someone, would you be satisfied with online social media or would you want to get to know that person face-to-face?

Parents or grandparents, if you only read your Bible on an electronic device, how do children know you’re not checking email, social media, or playing a game? Distractions Satan gleefully uses to interfere with your Bible reading. 

Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Psalm 119:89

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/AndreyPopov 

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Person raising hands in worship in church

3. Dark Churches

Several years ago, I wrote an article, “Why Is the Church Going Dark?” The single most repeated comment was from people complaining they couldn’t read their Bible in dark churches. Even though churches may slightly raise the lights during the sermon, it often isn’t sufficient to locate or read Scriptures in your Bible. Many said they gave up and relied on the screens. 

Usually, the justification given for a dark church is to attract the younger generation. I haven’t seen any studies supporting that premise. Church youth rooms are usually lit brightly. We’re called to mentor the next generation using God’s Word to teach them the value of knowing and reading their Bible to develop their own personal relationship with the Lord. Sitting in a dark room looking at a screen, or maybe at their phones, robs them of the opportunity to discover and interact with the intertwining wonders, prophecies, symbolisms, and foreshadowing of Jesus in the Bible.

Some parishioners say they prefer it dark so they can worship without being seen or distracted, but one of the purposes of church is corporate worship and fellowship with the family of God. Families don’t sit at home in the dark.

If you attend a dark church and you can’t read your Bible, talk to the pastoral staff and ask them to turn up the lights during the sermon.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/middelveld 

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Hand over the Bible in study

4. Relying on Devotionals

Like many of you, I enjoy reading a daily devotional in my quiet time with the Lord. But it can become expedient and convenient to read the devotional without ever opening your Bible. We might be tempted to let the devotional suffice as our daily Bible reading, especially when time is limited. If this becomes a regular habit, we could go days, weeks, months, or even years without ever reading from our Bible. 

Devotionals often include Scripture references without printing out all the specific verses. This sneaky way looks good, but also keeps your Bible closed, and that’s not good. One way to interact with a devotional is to look up in your own Bible all the Scriptures referenced and read them in context from the Bible. Ask God how He wants to apply the passages to your life, not just from the devotional author’s perspective. 

A devotional is inspirational, but it’s the author’s viewpoint and discernment on a particular Scripture or passage. Someone else’s interpretation of verses they’ve read in their Bible. God wants us to study, read, and research in our own Bibles. Never let devotionals replace devotion to your Bible. 

Devotionals have their place, but let it be said of us . . .

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Psalm 119:16

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jacob Bentzinger 

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Man at work looking at his watch

5. Time Pressures

We live in a fast-paced, urgent, and over-committed world. God definitely doesn’t want us racing through life with pressures that don’t offer an opportunity to sit for a moment and read a few words from Him before we head into our day. Satan does want us living over-committed and stressed. He wants us to struggle through days with a heavy burden that causes many to turn to unhealthy addictions instead of to God who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28

Satan tells us to get up and get going or we’re a slacker and a loser. God says, give me a few minutes of your time and I’ll help you enjoy the day relaxed, refreshed, and productive. Some people, like me, wakeup with a to-do list on our mind or fresh ideas for a project. We're tempted to make coffee or tea and get to work. Maybe you identify. I’ve learned if I take a few moments to open my Bible and ask God to reveal His plans for me through His Word, my day goes smoother and often a Scripture will be exactly what I needed.

Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. Psalm 119:49

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/GaudiLab 

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bible reading bible study scripture snow woman read study

6. Don’t Know Where to Start

The Bible can seem intimidating when you first begin reading. It’s actually a compilation of 66 separate books! Maybe you’ve tried starting at the beginning in Genesis and the reading goes well until you get to Leviticus and Numbers. Satan plants doubt in your mind of why everyone is so inspired with this Book of animal sacrifices and genealogies. Soon the Bible is back on the shelf collecting dust.

Instead of abandoning the Bible, reach out for help. Mentoring from a spiritually mature believer can offer suggestions and guidance like starting with a Life Application Bible, which offers explanations and ideas of how to personalize Scriptures. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t many Christian bookstores available to peruse and look at different Bible translations, but you can shop on websites with peak inside views to find a translation that resonates with you. When I first started reading the Bible, I actually chose an illustrated Children’s Bible and I recommend this even for adults. Jesus tells us to come to Him as little children. Eventually, you can progress to a more mature translation that suits you best.

Joining a Bible study at church allows you to study and learn different books of the Bible with fellow believers who share wisdom and discernment in how to apply Scripture to life and world events.

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema 

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a frustrated man

7. Feeling Like a Failure on a Reading Plan

It’s a new year, and you’re going to read the entire Bible in a year! You have the best of intentions. Maybe you select a daily reading plan with some of the Old and New Testament, adding in a Psalm and Proverb.  You’re excited and stay on track for the first few weeks, then life happens. You miss a few days and feel the serpent chiding with thoughts like, “You’re never going to make it through the year.” Or, “You’re so far behind, you’ll never catch up now. You might as well just give up.” Or, “Why do you want to do this anyway? It’s too much.”

Sound familiar? It does to me. Here are some suggestions.

  • Join an online group reading the Bible in a year to provide encouragement that you can do it.
  • Put your Bible in a place where you see it as a reminder to pick it up and start reading.
  • Ask a friend or family member to join you. Doing things together is always better.
  • Some people are auditory learners and do better listening, so find a reading plan online that offers auditory daily Bible reading. I like to use my ear buds and listen to the Bible while I’m walking or on the treadmill. There’s usually sound effects and different people reading various roles with inflection and emotion. The Bible comes to life.
  • Even when you fall behind, keep going. No rule or statute commands reading the entire Bible in a year. Maybe it’ll take a couple of years. That’s okay. Every time you do read, God will speak to you in a new fresh way or reveal something you hadn’t noticed in the last reading of the same passage. An adventure with God. He’s not grading you on how fast you read; He just wants you to do it!

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:147

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Nicola Katie 

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8. You Doubt If the Bible Is Relevant or Inerrant

8. You Doubt If the Bible Is Relevant or Inerrant

One of Satan’s most notorious lies to convince you not to read your Bible is to plant the seed in your mind that it’s an archaic book of fables written by men and has no use or relevancy in today’s modern culture. Sadly, even some pastors and theologians have fallen into Satan’s snare and abandoned the timeless inerrancy of the Word of God. G. Campbell Morgan once preached a sermon titled “Famine for the Word of God.” He said maybe there was someone in the congregation who, “You have become hardened to the touch of God, unconscious of the fact of God; and though His Word is living and quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, it fails to affect you.”

When we stop reading our Bibles, we will suffer the fate of spiritual famine by losing our appetite for God's Word, the bread of life (John 6:35). “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11 NLT

Just as Jesus used Scripture to respond to Satan’s temptations in the desert before Jesus started His ministry (Matthew 4:1-11), the best way to combat Satan’s lies is with God’s own Words. 

God writes all Scripture through human-willing hands and hearts. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT

Jesus Christ is the Eternal Word of God. In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with GodJohn 1:2 NLT

Thus Jesus and the Bible never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NLT

No one should ever add or subtract from the timeless inerrant Bible. And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. Revelation 22:18 NLT

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Ridofranz 

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Open Bible with yellow coffee mug and notebook and pen on a table.


We never reach a place in our faith where we know it all. God’s Word is new every morning and every reading. Never let Satan lie to you that the Bible is intimidating because the truth is that God’s Word is always inspiring! If you want to hear God, you need to engage with Him through the way He communicates: Prayer and His Word, the Holy Bible.

“If we want to grow in our love for the Lord, we must draw near to Him through His Word. As we learn to know Him intimately, our love will increase and we’ll desire to obey. Unless we invest in Scripture, our fervor for the Lord will fall short of what it could be. And if you ever feel disappointed that your love for Christ seems small, open the Word of God and obey whatever He says, He will abide with you and disclose Himself, thereby increasing your capacity to love and know Him more.” Dr. Charles Stanley, In Touch Magazine, April 3, 2018 

A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah. God gave it to make plain to his servants what is about to happen. He published and delivered it by Angel to his servant John. And John told everything he saw: God’s Word— the witness of Jesus Christ! How blessed the reader! How blessed the hearers and keepers of these oracle words, all the words written in this book! Time is just about up. Revelation 1:1-3 The Message

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/ Dennis Swanson - Studio 101 West Photography 

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Janet’s new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at AmazonChristianbook.comBarnes and Noble, and signed at author’s website. She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s FaithfulnessForsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has ForgottenDear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!Praying for Your Prodigal DaughterFace-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com. Join Janet on FacebookLinkedInPinterestTwitter, and Instagram.

Originally published Wednesday, 03 April 2024.