I’m back! It’s good to be back. On Saturday, I promised to teach us how to implement reading the Bible into our daily lives. I wrote a post about why it’s important (read it here), but I didn’t tell you where to start. And that, my friends, is the objective of this post.
On January 1st, 2013, I started reading 4 chapters of the Bible every day, in order, and finished in October. I’d write a sentence or two about what the theme was, and then I was done. I won’t undermine what I did, because it definitely helped me get into the habit of reading my Bible, but I know I could have gone deeper.
Once October hit, I switched gears. I had a pretty little journal lying around and begging to be written in. This is what I did, and it worked for me for a while.
Instead of continuing on with four chapters a day (which became overwhelming as the chapters got longer!), I studied one a day instead. I skipped to Romans instead of starting over from Genesis, because as much as the entire Bible is important, we aren’t to take the Old Testament as our life manual – it’s different now, in light of Jesus. We aren’t restricted by the same laws and we have a different focus.
I took each chapter one by one, reading through it once, then going back and reading through it once more. I took a few verses and wrote my own commentary on them. Of course, my parents (the Bible experts, haha, love you Mom and Dad) are usually around to ask if I don’t understand something, but there are some good commentaries out there for reference. Check out the Bible Gateway app (which has the Bible in many different translations, audio versions, dramatized Bible, commentaries, dictionaries, reminder notifications for your phone to read the Bible, reading plans, everything), which I love and use all the time.
Continuing on with my method.
I read each chapter thoroughly, and took a lot of notes. The point here isn’t to read a lot, but to comprehend and take to heart what you’re reading. That, friends, is what it’s about.
I’ve used an array of different methods. Please note that there is no right or wrong. All that’s important is growth in your faith and getting to know God better. Whatever works for you is fantastic.
This year, I’m reading two chapters out of the New Testament and writing a page-long prayer (something I’ve never done before) every day. Not sure why exactly I haven’t “prayed on paper” before, but this year I thought it’d be interesting to see what I prayed and how God answered those prayers. And I’m glad I decided to go through with it! I’m enjoying writing to God every day and seeing the thoughts on paper that I haven’t gotten outside of my head until now.
Something I’ve discovered as I’ve walked this Bible-studying journey is that having time is important. I don’t mean that we should all be monks and nuns and read the Bible for twenty-three hours a day and sleep on cold stone floors for one hour. But setting aside 15-30ish minutes a day to read or even listen to the Bible while eating, (or cleaning, or doing those other things that nobody really wants to do but they have to do anyway) will make a huge difference. There’s 1,440 minutes in a day. If you’re okay with staying up until 2am late watching TV, reading a novel, or browsing the internet, then you really do have 15 minutes at some point in the day to cultivate your faith. Trust me, it is so worth it.
So, here. Here’s what you can do.
You can read. Read like your life depends on it. Read like the Bible is your food. Read it and take it in, take it apart, and find something to take away.
And write. Write verses that are significant to you. Write words that stick out. Write letters to God, being honest, and asking Him to reveal Himself to you. And I promise, He will.
Pray. Pray because God knows your heart and delights for you to want to know Him too. Thank Him for what He’s done in your life and what He is continuing to do. Pray continually, because God is our Father, and He wants to have an open relationship with us.
I said this already, and I mean it, so I’ll repeat myself. There is no wrong way to spend time with God, the whole thing is about spending time with Him in the first place. When you’re with friends, it’s just good to be together, regardless of what you’re doing. Same with our Heavenly Father. And the more you read, the more you’ll desire to. Really.
A Project Inspired article about cool ways to study the Bible: http://www.projectinspired.com/bible-study-hacks-you-wish-youd-thought-of/
Tips for studying the Bible effectively:
Topical search through the Bible:
The Bible in countless translations and languages:
Have a great week, and I’ll be back Saturday!