When did reading the Bible become a duty rather than a delight? Seriously, to talk to people today (Christians included), one would think that there was no more tedious task on earth than to sit down and spend a few minutes in the Word of God. Part of this mindset, I’m sure, is due to the fact that we’re all so busy. Too busy to sit still. Too busy to focus our minds on the Scripture. Too busy to take time out of our schedules to read. What we often fail to realize, though, is that we are robbing ourselves of a true blessing, not to mention the strength and encouragement we need to face the oncoming day.
When I realized that my Bible reading time had become a task of drudgery, I determined to find out why and to remedy the problem. I didn’t want to approach my time with the Lord as a mere obligation. With the Lord’s help, I was able to pinpoint some of the contributing factors to my poor attitude and to come up with a solution that put a spark back in my Bible reading. Here are some suggestions:
1.) Do what works for you.
I’ve heard it said that morning is the best time to read the Bible, but then I’ve heard others say that they feel they get the most out of their Bible time if they read just before they go to bed. The “when” doesn’t matter. Don’t allow someone to dictate what time of day is best for you. You know your schedule. You know when your energy and focus levels are at their best. Taking those things into consideration, determine what time of the day you concentrate best, and make a habit to spend time with God at that time each day.
2.) Make it about quality, not quantity.
There are hundreds of Bible reading plans on the market today, and many of them include a schedule for reading the Bible through in one year. That’s fine. I’ve done that. But you know what? During that year, I gleaned very little from what I read. It was more about getting it done, and with reading five or six chapters at a time, I wasn’t able to really meditate on any one portion. Just as with choosing the time of day, you need to decide how much of the Scripture you read each day. There is no prize for reading through the most verses, however, there is great reward to be found in meditating on a single verse or passage to the point that a new understanding is achieved.
3.) Look it up!
One of the biggest complaints I hear about the Bible is that parts of it are too difficult to understand. Granted, there are mysteries in the Bible, but mysteries are great, aren’t they? Besides, much of the confusion could be laid to rest by simply getting out a Bible dictionary or commentary. How long is a cubit? Look it up. Don’t understand what it means to “go out with a high hand”? Look it up. Yes, it may take a little longer, but isn’t it worth it to glean more from your time in the Word?
I have found that I do prefer to read my Bible in the stillness of the morning. It works for me. There are days when I’ll read through three or four chapters, while other days I find myself stuck on one phrase of a verse. That’s okay because often times I’ll get more out of that one phrase than I did from the three chapters. Such was the case when I was reading about Joseph, and I decided to look up the word “pit.” You’ll never guess the blessing I uncovered, but you can read about it here. So, you see, there is no magical formula or strict regulation for reading the Bible. God gave us His Word as a love letter to us. He doesn’t want us to wade through it like we’re trudging through mud. He longs for us to enjoy it, to find peace within its pages.
Do you have any tips for digging deeper into God’s Word? What works for you?
Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. – Psalm 119:18