I’ve been getting that question a lot lately. Probably because I keep posting pictures of my morning quiet time on instagram. I can’t help it. There is just something about a summer morning that helps me hear God speak and compels me to share.
Maybe it’s the ethereal filters or verses posted below blossoms and blades of grass that has people asking me, “How do you read your Bible?”
The fact is I used to think that there was some secret sauce to people who were reading their Bibles and getting something out of it. I thought maybe they knew more than I did, or they knew where to look, or maybe they just had stronger faith.
So I’m here to tell you…there is no secret sauce. You just have to do it.
But that is an annoyingly vauge answer. So I’m gonna tell you how I have read in the past, where I’m at now, and give you a few pointers that have been helpful to me.
I can only share though IF, and this is a big IF, you promise me you won’t turn this into come big huge condemnation thing in your own life. Our lives are so different, our stories, and our needs. The only thing that stays the same is this:
“Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one goes to the father except through me.” John 14:6
So you aren’t allowed to get dogmatic or legalistic with yourself on this quiet time thing, mmmmmkay?
Good. Now that we got that cleared up.
When I first rededicated my life to the Lord I started reading the One Year Bible, it was both the most frustrating and fruitful thing I have ever done for my relationship with God. I highly recommend it. During that time I also had a group of women I met with each week that got together to discuss what we had read. If you can go through the Bible in community? Do that. (Just FYI: I haven’t done this in a couple of years, but I think next year I will again, but cause it’s just such a great broad view.)
Then I started having babies, and you know how they say it changes everything? Yes. Yes it did. For lots of night I would stay up nursing a child (or just being miserable pregnant) and pop out the Bible on my phone. I would be darn lucky if I got a paragraph in before I drifted back to sleep. I would mutter prayers in between head nods. I relied heavily on women’s bible study and mostly never got around to the homework. I would just show up, watch the video, and soak up wisdom from the people around me. And can I just say? Praise God for those years and those studies.
Now I’m in a season where God is asking more from me, because He wants more for me. Let’s not kid ourselves that I have hours everyday to devote to this before I start serving up meals and tending to owwies. This process is twenty minuets top to bottom.
Find a Plan, if at all possible. Or make a plan. This is so helpful to stay on track and its why I love the One Year Bible. These are the kind of plans that go through books of the Bible as a whole, which is so important. But it is a proven fact that people don’t do things that they don’t plan to do.
I start my study by finding an extra ten minutes to get myself oriented. I write the Who, What, Where, When, Why’s of the book I’m reading. Right now it’s John’s epistles so Basically I would write down that John wrote it later in his life, possibly on Patmos, to individuals in the church to remind them to guard against decit and walk in love.
Google it. You can figure out a summary of your book in less than ten minutes.
For years I would tell people I’m just not a journaler because, well, I’m not. But now I am? Right now I usually write a small summary of the passage I am in. I find it does me good to paraphrase what I am reading so that it gets buried in my heart.
Also? I pray it. In writing.
Praying through scripture is one of those things I always knew I should do, but didn’t. Listen yall, it is just riches for your soul. You don’t have to write it down like I do, but give it a shot, I think you'll find that it changes both your understanding and your application.
When I don’t understand something or I find it confusing I head over to Blue Letter Bible and look up the verse and commentary. Sometimes if it is a difficult concept I print and paste it in to my notebook like this:
It’s like the kindergarden of those awesome people who art journal their bibles.
See, practically the same!
Also, I draw a lot of charts. Mostly flow charts, that’s a just a thing I do.
Last but not at all least, I count my blessings. If you haven’t read 1000 Gifts. Go do so and then return. I kid. Finish this post first and then go.
I also write quotes or verses that are speaking to me, if you only have five minutes do this part. Thank God. Praise Him. Write down ONE verse. It will change your life.
So tell me how do you read your Bible right now? Do you have something that's working for you? Let me know in comments!