Discipling Those Who Don’t Like to Read

Assess Needs of Those Who Don’t Like to Read

Look around you. More half of those near you seldom read (except on their phone). For many it has been years since they read a book. Part of the reason is busyness, but it is more than that. In fact, a combined total of about 60% of Americans either cannot read, read poorly, or don’t like to read (especially men). The result is that the majority do not read. How does that knowledge impact your ability to disciple? Where are your disciples related to reading?

Reading the Bible Is Important

When we open (read) God’s Word, God speaks. But how does someone who doesn’t read, grow in his/her personal relationship with God? How does a person learn to live obediently to the Lord Jesus’ commands (Matthew 28:19-20) without reading the Bible?

The more we read, the more we understand. The more we understand, the more we apply (obey) correctly. Obedience to Jesus’ commands shows we love Him (John 14:15). How can we keep commands, we do not know? How can we know what we do not read?

Consider Options for Reading

How can we lead disciples to engage with God’s Word if they can’t read or don’t like reading? Consider the following suggestions:

  • Use the phone. For many, the phone is the primary device for reading. There are many useful Bible apps, such as YouVersion. Find an app you trust and teach your disciples to use the app to read and study God’s Word.
  • Assign short passages. Teach your disciples how to read and study passages so they can do so without help.
  • Write it out. Ask your disciples to write out a memory verse. Reading plus writing increases recollection, increasing the likelihood of application and obedience.
  • Listen. Listen to an audio version of the Bible. Some audio versions are free (such as YouVersion), and some are more engaging than others. Remember that many original hearers of God’s Word did not have a physical copy.
  • Seek a biblical worldview. Help your disciples assess decisions, culture, and life through a biblical lens.

Get to know your disciples early. Be sensitive to your disciples’ needs. Lead them to find natural ways for intake of God’s Word whether they are readers or not.

Make It Relevant to Disciples’ Lives

We seldom desire to read or learn about something that is irrelevant. For example, my wife teaches algebra to middle schoolers. Sometimes students don’t want to learn algebra because they cannot see how they will ever use it. That’s why many life situation illustrations are used. By the way, many of her former students return to thank her because they learned and regularly use algebra.

Teach your disciples how to read, understand, and apply God’s Word. Help them see how the truth applies to life. Lead them determine decisions and paths on the basis of the Bible. When they understand how to discern a biblical worldview, it changes the value of what they are learning. The Bible moves from a history book to a road map for real life.


Don’t assume everyone is a reader. What adjustments do you need to make in your discipling? What adjustments do your disciples need to make? Lead them to have daily intake of God’s Word. Lead them to apply and obey Him. Make disciples!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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