Is Bible Study a Discipline or Delight?

“Bible study is not a discipline; it’s a delight.”

A while ago, I came across a social media post with the above caption and it made me think: Is Bible study a discipline or a delight?
Maybe you, like me, have been admonished not to read your Bible out of a sense of discipline or duty, but to take delight in God’s Word. Sometimes it’s possible to hear something like that and become needlessly discouraged.

And so I ask myself this question:

Must we dichotomize discipline and delight in regards to Bible study?
Do we have to say either Bible study is a discipline OR it’s a delight?
Can it be both a discipline and a delight?

Merriam-Webster says that a definition of discipline is as follows: “train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.”

Is my Bible study a discipline?
Yes! I want my study of God’s Word to be a daily discipline. And hey, I’ll take it a step further to say it should be a daily discipline.

Is my Bible study a delight?
Sometimes it is. Sometimes I read God’s Word and am thrilled with the promises I read about God’s presence and His covenant with me because of Jesus.
Sometimes I read and am confused about a passage.
Sometimes I read, struggle, and disagree with the way God has responded to His people. I remember reading through Joshua, coming to the destruction of Achan’s family, and struggling for several days with God’s response.

Does my struggle with God and His Word mean that I’m unspiritual and imperfect? (Gasp! Shock!)
Of course, it does. After all, if I were perfect then I wouldn’t ever struggle with anything.
My struggle also means I’m human.

Here’s the kicker, though. You know what I do when I struggle with God’s Word – whether it’s to believe a comforting promise, obey a difficult command, or trust His unchanging character? I go to Him. I pray. I tell Him about my unbelief. I ask Him to clear things up in my heart and mind. In short, the struggle draws me closer to God.

What is the end result of Bible study?
Not just to learn your Bible, but to draw near to God as you study His Word.

So on the days when Bible study feels like more of a discipline than a pure delight, keep coming to God and His Word. Ask Him to give you delight in the very discipline.

Is Bible study a discipline or a delight?
Yes. Yes, it’s both. And I want to thank God for that.



Looking for practical encouragement from other women who are actively studying God’s Word?
Check out the Dwelling Richly interviews! My favorite series on this site!



Sign up for the Read. Think. Learn. newsletter!
(What is it? All the details here!)

One comment

  1. Mrs. T says:

    Well said, Christa! When I read the question in this title, my immediate response was that Bible study is both a discipline and a delight. Of course it’s a spiritual discipline. And I truly do delight in Bible study, although of course as you mentioned there are those times when we can struggle with what we’re learning. Excellent post. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *