One thing I really desire is to see others dig into God’s Word. We live in a culture that is so fast paced. Easily digestible information is incredibly easy to access. We prefer to learn new things in tweet-sized packaging, because often it doesn’t feel like we have enough time or the mental resources to take in information that requires more effort. I think it’s because of this that I see so many (including myself!) leaning into articles, podcasts (I see you, Ask Pastor John listeners!), and Instagram captions to further our walk with the Lord, rather than engaging with scripture ourselves. While there is nothing wrong with using these God-given tools to enhance our relationship with Him, they can’t be used to replace it.
I wanted to share a few tips today that have helped me persevere in knowing God more and spending time daily in the Word. This is by no means an exhaustible list; these are simply things that have helped me, and I would love to hear in the comments any suggestions you might have!
- Study through a book of the Bible in its entirety. One of the best ways to truly understand what you are reading and to avoid misapplying scripture is to read it in context. It’s a great time to do a little research on the history of when the book was written, who it was written for, who wrote it, etc. All of this information is available online, and there are so many commentaries accessible through a Google search that can answer any questions you have. Sometimes I read through a book in a week, and other times I will spend 3 months in the same book because there is so much to unpack. I usually start with one broad scope read-through where I read the entire book to get an idea of what’s happening, then go back to the beginning and break it into smaller passages to study each day.
- Ask good questions about what you are reading. Sometimes it can be hard to know how to even study certain passages. Having a good set of questions to ask about the text can be really helpful. I use these questions to guide my Bible reading: What does this tell me about God? What does this tell me about man? What is something from this passage that I can obey? Who can I tell about what I learned from this passage? It can be really amazing the things you uncover in the text just by asking these simple questions!
- Have a back up plan. Some days, you may not have as much time to read or you may be in a place where you are having a really hard time focusing. That’s life and it happens! In these situations I always read a chapter from Proverbs and jot down some ways I can apply what I read, and I also read a chapter from Psalms and pick 1 or 2 themes to pray through and meditate on throughout the day. This way, even if I don’t quite have the mental capacity to tackle Old Testament prophecy, I’m still getting in the Word and not throwing in the towel all together. This doesn’t have to be your exact back up plan, but make sure you have one in place so you are ready.
- Read the Old Testament! I get it. It can be hard to leave the Gospels and Paul’s letters. They are so rich and easily applicable, but let’s not forget the meat of the Old Testament. This year I have been really challenging myself to explore the Old Testament, from the history of the Israelites to unpacking prophecy. Looking for Jesus all throughout the Old Testament has really enhanced my faith, given me a much broader view of who God is, and enriched my identity as I begin to understand the family I have been grafted into. So try alternating between the Old Testament and the New Testament to change it up!
- Pick a time & stick to it. One of the best things you can do to make sure you are getting in the Word daily is to put in the work and create a habit. Habits take time and reinforcement, so you have to be ready to commit. Decide when is the best time for you to spend time with God; it may be in the morning, on your lunch break, in the evening, etc. Even if it is just 5 minutes, make every effort to open your Bible when that scheduled time rolls around. 5 minutes is better than no minutes, and by sticking to this it will begin to feel unnatural if you don’t spend this scheduled time in the Word!
I hope these tips give you some helpful ideas, and again, I would love to hear any of your tips in the comments!