Author: Rachel Kidd
In this second part of this series on how to read your bible, we’ll be focusing on how to create a practice that works for you.
Whether you’re a morning person who reads scripture over a cup of coffee or someone who prefers reading late into the night, it’s about creating a sustainable practice for you. If your practice doesn’t fit well with your lifestyle or personality, you’ll be much less likely to stick to it.
With busy lives spent running from one thing to the next, it can seem nearly impossible to find time to be still and soak in scripture. Developing a habit that sticks takes time and effort, but this practice of self-discipline is well worth it.
Before diving into how to create a sustainable bible reading practice, determining your purpose, your why is crucial. The scripture is clear from Old Testament to New, that reading and meditating on the Word is transformative and part of a strong faith.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
This verse in Romans reminds us that the Word, the written will of God, is perfect. By allowing it to permeate our minds and hearts, we are transformed and renewed.
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Scripture also acts as a shield, like this Proverb tells us. It protects our hearts and provides a refuge, a safe haven from the harsh reality of the world we live in.
But, in order to experience the transformative power of scripture, we need to spend time reading and meditating on the Word. We need to create time and space to spend time with God, just like we would with any other relationship. So, how do we do that? Where do you start?
Think about your life, consider all the factors. Are you a busy mom without a spare minute to herself on school mornings? Are you a student with a packed schedule? Or are you retired with plenty of hard-earned time on your hands?
Consider your personality too, are you introverted or extroverted? Do you like to process new concepts and information alone or with others? Do you prefer independent study or study groups?
If you haven’t already, identifying your learning style and personality type can be really helpful in building a life that is the most effective for you.
No matter your age, stage in life, or circumstances, I am betting you can find a few minutes each day to dedicate to quiet time. Not only is it a great time to dig into scripture, but its a great time to recenter yourself and connect with both yourself and God.
It can also be a time to connect with others, like your spouse, children, roommates, or prayer group. Especially for extroverts and verbal processors, creating space to discuss scripture and pray with people you love can be so life-giving.
If you’re like me, sometimes you like to be alone to process and sometimes you prefer to be with others. Create variety in your scripture reading practice by scheduling different groups. Maybe you have a prayer group you attend once a month, once a week you do a devotional with your spouse, and every morning when the house is quiet, you read alone with God.
Determine when you have the most time in your day, week, or season and start small. Perhaps you find yourself finishing your lunch within the first thirty minutes of your lunch break and scroll on your phone for the next thirty.
What if you took just fifteen of those thirty minutes to open your bible app instead? Or listened to an audio version of your bible?
Finding those pockets of time in your busy day can be incredibly rewarding and helpful in creating a sustainable practice for you.
Maybe you only have time right now for a bible study for an hour once a week sitting in your car while your child is at soccer practice. And that is okay! If you already have a routine bible study, add to it! Build up from three times a week to four, then five.
Life has seasons, times that are busy and times that are leisurely. Understanding the seasons of your life and patterns of behavior can be helpful in embracing the natural ebbs and flows.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.
(read the rest of this chapter for a complete list of patterns)
It can also help you both take advantage of the good times, soaking in the Word, in preparation for the hard and busy times when you lack that time to read scripture.
Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart.
The scripture reading practice you create and follow consistently will only support your faith journey and relationship with God.