How to Read the Bible {effectively spending time with our Heavenly Father}

How to Read the Bible

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.

 

Resources:

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:

http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/tips/3-simple-steps-for-studying-the-bible.html

 

Topical search through the Bible:

http://www.openbible.info/topics/

 

The Bible in countless translations and languages:

https://www.biblegateway.com

 

Have a great week, and I’ll be back Saturday!

 

*aj

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9 thoughts on “How to Read the Bible {effectively spending time with our Heavenly Father}

  1. I am taking things one chapter or even half a chapter at a time, these days. I’ve gotten the “overview” so many times, what I really need to do is pay close attention and let God speak to me.

    Writing out prayers was something my mom suggested to me years ago, and at first I thought it was weird and would take way too long. But three years ago, I started doing it, and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. It helps me focus, because my hand is moving, and allows there to be a record to go back to later. One of my favorite things is getting near the end of a prayer journal and looking back on those prayers with awe, realizing how they were answered.

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    • Yeah. I think that once we read the Bible so many times, it’s extremely important to slow down and study. I might do one chapter or a half of one or something once I get past the Gospels. I definitely thought writing out prayers was weird too – maybe I didn’t want to be totally conscious of praying about petty things? – but I’m glad I started. So glad it works for you too! I prayed about something the other morning and it was answered within a few hours. It really is incredible.

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  4. This was such a great post to read. Im so thankful for finding your blog. When i started reading my bible in 2008, i did it coz other people were doing it and so wasnt really goinf deep into the Word but like u said- im glad i did because it got me into the habit of reading my bible. Today i know better. Even though i did finish it, i started again from Genesis. I have a journal for writing down my thoughts about verses and also a faith journal where I write my letters to Jesus in the form of prayers. Time with God is always time well spent.
    And i agree with what you did say about the old testament being different to the new but it is part of the bible and we will jever understand what the difference is unless we read it.
    Thanks so much for thia post.

    Please do check out my blog.
    imachoccakeaholic.blogspot.co.uk
    God bless you.
    Joanny ☺

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