I Read the Bible and Feel Nothing — What Should I Do? (2023)


Episode 748. Read or subscribe:


We close out the week with a very commonly asked question the minds of many Christians, and it's question that you Pastor John are asked a lot on the road and it's one of the most common questions we get from our listener emails as well.

Here it is if I read my Bible but I, don't feel anything in my affections that resonates with the worth and the value and the preciousness of the words of what those words communicate to me is there anything I can do next or do I just have to wait and let the experience happen to me in the future.

How would you answer such a question? Well, I am so glad for the question, because it is something that I've been thinking about recently so much because I've been meditating on a section of the book of Proverbs and I.

Think this section of the book of Proverbs is introduced by the inspired writer precisely to answer that question so that the section is proverbs.

22 17 down to 24, 22 I think it goes, and it's a section in fact.

In fact, I'll just pause here, no I won't! You can pause so so push pause if you want to go, get your Bible, because I'm going to get everything I have to say from about three lines in verses, 17 and 18 of proverbs 22.

So get your Bible okay! Now you've got your Bible and the section runs from 22 to 17 down to 24 22, and it's called.

If you look at the end, verse 20, it says, have I not written for you 30 sayings.

Now those 30 sayings are found in 22 17 to 24 22 in groupings.

Some Bibles break the groupings out for you.

So every time a new theme starts, there's a new saying and there 30 of them in this unit and in verse.

17 is where they start, and it says, incline your ear and hear the words of the wise.

So these are usually entitled the words of the wise now.

What's so important about this, is that I think the first two verses or the first three verses? Perhaps in this new section of 30 sayings are written precisely to answer the question that we've just been given, namely how do you hear and how do you feel appropriately these words? So let me read: verse 17 and 18 incline your ear and hear the words of the wise and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them these.

These words of the wise communicating that knowledge.

It will be pleasant if you keep them within you if all of them are ready on your lips.

So two things the first line incline your ear and hear the words of the wise.

So clearly the point there is words are being spoken and you should lean in incline your ear.

So literally, if you can't hear them, what do we do when we can't hear we kind of lean, we would press in closer, but we do that with our attention as well.

If you're reading words or if you're hearing words and the words are just going by he's, saying, don't let them go by don't let any of the words go by attend meticulously carefully attentively to the words themselves, because the words next line are going to form knowledge in your mind, because the next line says and apply your heart to my knowledge.

So knowledge is what forms in the mind some idea, some communication of something valuable or precious or important or wise.

That he's going to communicate coming through the medium of words that hit your ear, go inside, produce knowledge, and then here it comes and apply your heart.

To my knowledge, the effect will be, it will be pleasant and I.

Take it that the heart is the organ of pleasantness pleasure and that's what the question is right.

How can I experience pleasure an appropriate, admiring and valuing and treasuring and loving and embracing and enjoyment and satisfaction in what I'm perceiving through the words? And he says the way you do, it is apply your heart now I'm going to talk for just a minute or two about what that means, but just know this writer.

This inspired writer is answering your question.

Yes, is there something you can do to move from ears attending to words and mind grasping knowledge to heart, experiencing pleasantness of what is within? Is there anything you could do, and his answer is yes and the words he uses are apply your heart to what your ear has heard and the knowledge that's forming in your mind.

What does that mean and I've got here right in front of me on my screen on a sheet? The verb apply, believe kah - eat your heart, apply or literally put or set or stand or place.

So you take your heart and you push it.

You put it.

You place it into what you've seen with your eyes are heard with your ears.

You push the nose of your heart in the beauty of the knowledge.

If the heart is not feeling anything, you say to heart heart, wake up and you take hold of the heart and you you, you apply, you push it.

You place it in the knowledge you push on it.

There is something you can do so here's an analogy.

Suppose you would like to taste a steak.

You can hear it sizzling on the grill outside, so you go outside and then your eyes see the steak sizzling on the grill and if you get close enough, your nose may smell the state sizzling on the grill and still no taste in your mouth of that steak.

Is there anything you can do? That is the question.

It really is the question: is there anything you can do with the steak of God with the steak of Christ, with the steak of salvation, with the steak of the word of God, the word of the Infinite Creator God? Is there anything you can do to taste it, and you know what the answer is.

You take a knife and you cut off a piece and you put it in your mouth and you chew and you chew, and then you swallow and you taste so you say to your heart: eat heart eat heart.

So let me give some more examples: I'm walking to church it's October.

This happened last two weeks.

The leaves on the trees in my neighborhood unbelievably bright, with yellow and orange, and the Sun was shining and it was a more mild October than usual and it's 60 degrees.

The leaves are flickering and it is absolutely stunning but I'm walking to church to a prayer meeting and not noticing anything.

My eyes are seeing it and I'm not seeing what has to happen.

I pause, God's grace causes me to pause this.

This little podcast right here causes me to you to pause and you look at it.

You look at it.

You lean in, and you say heart, that's orange, that's yellow.

They were green and now they're, orange and yellow and gold and the Sun is making them bright and they are waving at you with the breeze and God is trying to get your attention and say the glory of God is shining here, look heart and you push the nose of the heart up into the tree.

When I came home several days there were two or three afternoons that were so stunning I would look at my window and say: whoa and I'd get up, go downstairs and I walk under the tree and look up.

Then I walked across the street and looked back then I got out my camera and tried to get some different shots.

Then I walked around the side of the house to see what it looked like from that angle.

This is the pushing of the heart into the gold of natural revelation and you do the same thing with the Word of God.

A diamond has offered you, you see the diamond, but you don't see the diamond, and you say to your heart: heart move around this diamond.

Look at the diamond from that side and look at the diamond from that side, and you know when a born-again person is doing proverbs.

Seventeen B apply your heart.

To this knowledge, apply your heart apply your heart.

You can't help but turn it into prayer.

When you're preaching to your heart and you're, saying to your heart, come on heart! Wake up come on heart! Look at this come on heart feel this.

This is beautiful, wake up heart instinctively! You are praying and you're not just talking to your heart, though you are talking to your heart, because that's what the text says to do apply your heart, but you are praying God God help me God, open my eyes, so may I suggest that even if you listen to this right now- and you say, I've tried that and it doesn't work or I, don't even know what you're talking about may I urge.

You may I plead with you.

You may be such a novice at this like a little child.

Who knows nothing about sex? You choose an analogy.

You may be such a novice at this that you need practice.

Please don't give up, don't say that you are beyond the capacity to feel the beauty of the knowledge of God in the Bible and the knowledge of his ways.

This text is God's Word to you, apply your heart amen.

Thank you, Pastor John, and with that another week comes to an end, and if you missed any of the episodes from the week, you can catch up with the daily ask Pastor John podcast app or you can go online at our online home at desiring God org forward, slash, ask Pastor John and there you can find everything related to this podcast I'm.

Your host Tumi ranky, have a great weekend, and we will see you back here on Monday Lord willing.



What to do when I don't feel like reading my Bible? ›

Here are a few thoughts on what to do at those moments when you just don't feel like reading the Bible. Pray about it. Let God know how you feel – weary, guilty, nervous, frustrated, confused. Ask Him to guide you to where to read, and to make those verses mean something to your soul.

What is biblical depression? ›

Spiritual depression generally refers to a loss of spiritual vitality and joy. In terms of Christianity, experiencing a spiritual depression might involve: losing touch with your faith. “forgetting” God, or struggling to find time for spiritual study.

Will God be mad if I don't read the Bible? ›

Our Father is not a Father who is waiting to punish us for the slightest mistake, but a Father who graciously teaches us and lifts us up through His Word. Of course, any circumstance that keeps you from meditating on the Scriptures is worth fighting. But the reason is not that if we don't read, God gets mad at us.

What God says about feeling empty? ›

Not matter how much you fill yourself, you will always feel empty if sin is hiding in your heart. Sin eats away at your peace. As David said in Psalm 32:1-5, which states: Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Where to read in Bible when depressed? ›

Psalm 34:18

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” The Good News: Even when you're in low spirits, God still loves you.

Is it OK to listen to the Bible instead of reading? ›

Is it OK to listen to audio Bible? Listening to the Holy Bible as an audiobook can be perfectly fine. In fact, the experience can be more immersive than a Bible reading because many audiobook apps have immersive narration.

What does God say about anxiety? ›

Philippians 4:6

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

What is the cause of spiritual depression? ›

It can be caused by a range of factors, including the loss of a loved one, a sense of meaninglessness, or a feeling of being disconnected from one's spiritual beliefs. While spiritual depression is often misunderstood or overlooked, it can be just as debilitating as other depressive disorders.

How does God view mental illness? ›

Saviano says Christians typically view mental illness as a spiritual problem, assuming iniquity in the person's life led to the difficulties. “They don't recognize it can be a real biological illness that causes brain chemicals to be off balance,” Saviano says.

Can you go to heaven without being baptized? ›

While Jesus told Nicodemus, “Amen, Amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit” (John 3:5), he did not set baptism as a hindrance to salvation but just the opposite. We so often judge things by human standards, but God is not restrained by our standards.

Should we cry out to God? ›

An Invitation from the Living God

Let us be quick to cry out to Him in humility, sincerity, surrender, and faith. God “will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them” (Psalm 145:19).

Why did God allow me to lose everything? ›

To gain Christ we must accept the necessary losses. Paul said, “For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Nothing is more valuable than Christ, therefore no amount of suffering that draws us closer to Christ is too great a sacrifice to make.

How do I get rid of spiritual emptiness? ›

  1. Step 1: Turn to God and Pray. It may sound obvious, but the answer to any problem is to turn to God. ...
  2. Step 2: Talk to Yourself Rather than Listening to Yourself. ...
  3. Step 3: Keep Up Your Spiritual Disciplines. ...
  4. Step 4: Wait and Expect God to Answer Your Prayers.

Does God feel sad when we cry? ›

Even before God became man, it's clear throughout the Old Testament that God feels sorrow, even weeps for the crushing blows of His people. Psalm 34:18 promises us that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” How can you be close to someone who is brokenhearted and not feel their pain?

What does God think about depression? ›

Proverbs 12:25 mentions depression directly, "Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad" (NKJV).

Why is depression considered a sin? ›

Depression is associated with sin because people experiencing depression are seen to lack some of the spiritual fruits that are regarded as evidence of genuine Christian faith: When dealing with people in the church... some see mental illness as a weakness —a sign you don't have enough faith.

How do Christians fight depression? ›

Through prayer, social support from Christian fellowship, taking suffering as a gift and blessing from God in disguise, hope that leads to courage to live and expectation for the coming of a better world, forgiveness that leads to healing of trauma, letting go to overcome loss, and love to overcome learned helplessness ...

Should we listen to you or to God? ›

As the apostle Paul wrote: Just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). We must listen to God before we listen to people. When we stand before Him one day, we will stand alone.

What happens when you always read the Bible? ›

Reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis has several benefits. First, the Bible shows us God's character and provides us God's revelation of himself to his people. In each section of the Bible, we see God's holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious and loving character.

How many hours would it take to listen to the Bible? ›

In total, the Bible takes about 75 and a half hours to listen to in its entirety. While that might sound like a lot of time compared to other audio books, you could listen to the entire Bible in a year in just 12 minutes a day! Of those 75-ish hours, about 57 of them cover the Old Testament.

Is anxiety a lack of faith? ›

Jesus even refers to worriers as people “of little faith,” suggesting that, at least at some level, anxiety is an issue of faith. Existential dread finds its ultimate solution in faith in a good God.

Is it a sin to have anxiety? ›

Anxiety is not inherently sinful. In the same way that there's a doubt that leads to faith and a doubt that leads to faithlessness, there's anxiety that leads to faith and anxiety that leads to faithlessness.

How does God remove anxiety? ›

Belief is what helps you overcome anxiety, and strength of that trust is what allows you to feel less fear. Praying that God simply relieves your anxiety may actually make it worse, because God does believe in personal effort, and anxiety isn't something He is going to simply wash away.

How do you know if your spirit is disturbed? ›

The signs and symptoms of spiritual distress include: Feelings of anger or hopelessness. Feelings of depression and anxiety. Difficulty sleeping.

What is the root of depression? ›

There's no single cause of depression. It can occur for a variety of reasons and it has many different triggers. For some people, an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, can be the cause. Different causes can often combine to trigger depression.

What causes loss of faith? ›

Reasons for loss of faith

mental health concerns, such as depression or anxiety. experiencing bereavement and wondering whether life is worthwhile. feeling lonely and disconnected from others. life changes that make you reassess your beliefs.

Who was bipolar in the Bible? ›

However, the diagnosis of bipolar I disorder, as discussed previously, provides a better explanation of the king's disturbed behavior as a whole. King Saul's disturbed behavior taken as a whole indicates that he was afflicted by some kind of a mental disorder.

Who in the Bible had a mental disorder? ›

Evaluation of the passages referring to King David indicated that he was afflicted by some mental disorder, and among the many possibilities major depression, dysthymia and minor depression are the most likely.

What Bible character had a mental illness? ›

It was certainly present in ancient times and the Bible makes specific reference to several cases. King Saul, the first king of Israel, was repeatedly afflicted by what we would probably term clinical depression today.

Will believers recognize each other in heaven? ›

In fact, the Bible indicates we will know each other more fully than we do now. The Apostle Paul declared, "Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). It's true that our appearance will change, because God will give us new bodies, similar to Jesus' resurrection body.

Can you go to heaven if you are cremated? ›

No matter what a person's preference is, from the Christian perspective, cremation does not prevent one from going to Heaven.

Can you be baptized twice? ›

Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated. The baptisms of those to be received into the Catholic Church from other Christian communities are held to be valid if administered using the Trinitarian formula. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: 1256.

What does God do when your crying? ›

“And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain….” (Revelation 21:4). Ultimately, there will be a glorious day when you will feel the Hand of God gently caress your cheek, wiping away the tears you once cried.

What does crying do spiritually? ›

It gives vent to grief, guilt, anger, fear, and frustration, as well as joy and happiness. Our broken heart and contrite spirit cry. Our tender mercies cry. Sometimes when the Spirit touches on the crusty, hardened parts of our heart and we soften up – we cry as a result.

Can God hear my cry? ›

He hears our cries of unhappiness, pain, frustration, exhaustion, and fear. We can be honest with Him. His listening ear is always open to our prayers. His loving heart wants to embrace us as we cry on His shoulder.

Is it OK to question God? ›

It's not a sin to question God — search the scriptures if you doubt. I believe God wants us to question His plan and His ways. He settles our doubts by giving us the belief that His ways are not always our ways.

Where is God when we suffer? ›

When we are suffering, God is right beside us. Nothing can separate us from His love. He wants to show us His love through His church, and give us a purpose through His Word!

What happens when God hides you? ›

Therefore, when the Lord hides you, No Evil Eye can see you. (2 Kings 6:18-19) As many evil eyes looking for you, may the Lord hide you. No Evil Hand Can Touch You.

Why can't I feel the Holy Spirit? ›

An inability to feel the Spirit, or a general feeling of apathy or numbness, is often a symptom of poor mental health. God has not forsaken you. Consider for a moment that the Spirit may be communicating with you in a different way than you have experienced before.

How do I get my Spirit back? ›

Depending on your individual interests, some exercises to strengthen your spiritual core may include:
  1. Writing in a journal.
  2. Praying.
  3. Meditating.
  4. Reading scripture or other inspiration materials.
  5. Attending worship services.
  6. Conscious acts of forgiveness.
  7. Finding a safe place and person to talk to.

What does spiritual dryness feel like? ›

Spiritual dryness describes a feeling of being depleted or empty. Many people describe it as feeling far from the presence of God or having minimal or no spiritual growth. A number of things can cause this season of drought, but God's mercies are new every day.

What is the sin of sadness? ›

Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)

Does God hear us when we pray? ›

The simple answer is yes, God hears your prayers. An ever-present, all-knowing God will hear every word from your mouth, thought in your mind and whisper of your heart. But there are some things that might affect whether He answers.

Are tears a form of prayer? ›

Joyful sorrow

Whether they result from physical pain, from emotional pain, or from an encounter with goodness and beauty, one of the gifts of tears is precisely that we pray through them. All of our tears have been taken into the divine life by Jesus, the one who has wept with us.

Can depression make you feel distant from God? ›

Experiencing a personal loss or hardship can also leave you with feelings of anger, confusion, and doubt. This uncertainty, no matter its cause, can leave you feeling distanced from God, even forsaken.

How does God's presence feel like? ›

It always feels like someone else is there. The Bible says: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18.20). The Bible also says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13.5, Joshua 1.5).

Does God still love me if I'm depressed? ›

Your deepest sufferings do not indicate a departure from God's love. He loves you the same and always will (even when you are depressed.)

What is another word for depression in the Bible? ›

Within the New Testament the word ademoneo means “to be troubled, distressed”, as well as “to be depressed, or dejected, full of anguish or sorrow” (Greek Dictionary, Bill Mounce).

Which Bible character was depressed? ›

Elijah, a prophet, Biblical hero, and person of faith, was seriously depressed.

Is depression a spiritual disease? ›

Neuroscience and psychology offer many theories; but ultimately, depression is not simply a medical or mental problem; it is often a “being human” problem. While various medical and emotional problems can and do contribute to depression, for many, the illness has significant spiritual components.

How does God deal with depression? ›

In this, and other Scriptures for depression, we're reminded that God is always near to the brokenhearted. No matter how deep the pit of despair you're in, God can lift you out. Just as He did for David, God can set you back on a path towards hope and He will steady you whenever you start to stumble.

Why is my soul downcast within me? ›

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Who in the Bible had PTSD? ›

Saul had begun to experience a type of panic and stress attack that continued to reoccur and deeply affected his life. Because of the exposure to heavy combat and killing, Saul had begun to develop PTSD wherein he re-experienced unwanted memories, and emotional distress plagued him.

Which woman in the Bible suffered from depression? ›

In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel for she said “I have asked him of the Lord”. ' In this account we learn of Hannah's great distress because of her infertility and a sufficient number of symptoms are mentioned to make a diagnosis of depression.

Can Christians get depressed? ›

The death of a loved one; the loss of a job; financial hardships; an unfavorable medical diagnosis; marital discord or divorce; an empty nest; unresolved childhood issues; ministry burnout; disobedient children; the list goes on and on of possible triggers for depression.

Does God understand mental health? ›

One of the ways that God shows us that he cares for our mental health is by providing us with the things we need - a great therapist, access to medication, time with Him, a good support system, or all of the above. Loving God with our minds can mean utilizing some of these things he provides.

Does praying help depression? ›

Prayer and spirituality can help ease depression and act as a cushion when life throws curve balls your way. Saying a small prayer to get through a difficult time is not unusual. A plea for help from a higher power is one way people seek and find the benefits of spirituality.

Does God understand my depression? ›

But when I looked at Scripture, I learned that God not only understands the seesaw of depression, but He understands it far better than we can in our humanity. In Isaiah 9:6, God is called the “Wonderful Counselor” to His people, and Matthew 5:4 reminds us that God comforts the hurt and mourning.

What emotions are a sin? ›

Emotions may be sinful if they are inordinate or out of control. In Galatians 5:18-21, the Apostle Paul delivers a lengthy list of sins, including such emotions as jealousy, anger, and envy, which he refers to as “works of the flesh.” By this, he means that they are characteristic of the unsaved person.

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