This post originally published on a previously-owned blog and was imported here to simplify my life. Please excuse any confusion due to this merge. I hope you enjoy the content!
How do you rate yourself in the discipline of reading the Bible?
If you’re like me, you’ve tried quite a few times at maintaining a daily Bible and prayer time. You’ve read books or blogs on it, heard about ideas in church or have come up with new attempts yourself. You’ve tried all sorts of methods in order to really cultivate the act of diving into God’s Word every day.
But somehow you keep getting distracted. Those distractions can happen quickly, causing excuses to mount up and discouragement to set in. I feel you. I totally get that struggle, and I thought today was the day I should share with you some tips that have changed my life!
7 Things You Should Do When Reading the Bible (Part 1 of 2)
Remember to make the appointment
In her book, Let Prayer Change Your Life, Becky Tirabassi brought up the simplest yet most powerful tip: Every day, look at your next day’s schedule and plan when you will be spending time with God. It will often be at the same time once the habit is formed (i.e., early in the morning), but if you just take a moment each day to make the decision and schedule the actual time of your “appointment with the King,” you won’t miss it.
“Had this appointment been with anyone else — friend, student, or businessperson — I would have had the same professional concerns and made the same courteous efforts of being on time, prepared, alert and attentive. Therefore, I daily kept an “appointment” frame of mind in planning my hour with God.” — Becky Tirabassi
Corrie Ten Boom said a similar thing years earlier:
“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” — Corrie Ten Boom
2. Stick with a reading plan
This is another area in which there are countless resources — you can google up Bible Reading Plans, you can find smart phone apps with hundreds of them, and there might even be some suggestions in your Bible itself. These plans can be “time” focused (i.e., read the Bible in 90 days), “topic” focused (study of joy), “historical” (emphasis on timelines and how they all work together), and many more.
There are endless options, but the important thing is to pick one reading plan and stick with it. You can always do another one when the first one is done.
Perhaps start with your local church? See if they are doing a corporate plan and jump in. Perhaps there is a small group you could join that has a plan they’re working through. Perhaps you need to start one!
Again, my point is to just pick one. dive in and know that you can do others later.
P.S. You can’t ever read the Bible too much. 😉
3. Respect the Bible for what it is
It’s strange how it can be easier to read books (or blogs) about the Bible than read the Bible itself. Have you ever noticed that? Good writers can hook their readers and well-worded ideas can convince even the stubborn. That is why it is so important to clear your mind of possible misconceptions of what Scripture is telling you. Fight the temptation to let humans (even smart ones) guide all your understanding of what God is doing in His Word.
By the way, I’m not discrediting or discounting the extreme importance of church leadership, Bible professors or other mentoring types — these are important roles — but I’m just trying to express the importance of letting Scripture reign over it all.
Henry H. Halley says it beautifully:
“…Don’t worry about the theories of the critics. The ingenious and impudent effort of modern criticism to undermine the historical reliability of the Bible will pass; and the BIBLE ITSELF will still Stand as the Light of the Human Race to the End of Time. Pin your faith to the Bible. It is God’s Word. It will never let you down. For men, it is the Rock of Ages. Trust its teachings; and be happy forever…
…don’t try to straightjacket all its passages into the mold of a few pet doctrines. And don’t read into its passages ideas that are not there, not even for a sermon. But try to search out fairly and honestly the main teachings and lessons of each passage. Thus we will come to believe what we ought to believe; for the Bible is abundantly able to take care of itself, if given a chance.”
WOW. Did you read it more than once like I did? “The Bible is abundantly able to take care of itself.” I love that.
4. Set the Scene
This may seem like a silly step to you, but it’s vital! In my own experience, if I wake up and my desk is cluttered, I’m far more tempted to go back to bed (which I don’t…well, not until my QT is done and then I might snooze for 15 minutes before the babies wake up!). It’s important to set the scene for wherever you do your Quiet Time.
Do you do it at the kitchen table? Wipe it clean the night before, lay out your Bible/journal/pen/etc. and maybe even a bowl of almonds! Do you do your Quiet Time sitting on the floor of a dark room? Don’t go to bed before you’re sure there aren’t 100 legos in your spot.
And, seriously, what is better than getting up and clicking on the coffee pot because you prepped it the night before? Set the scene!
To Be Continued…
Hold on tight! I’ll be sharing the last three important components to your Bible reading time in just a couple days! Check back Wednesday for the rest of the list.
UPDATE: See Part 2 by clicking here!
In the meantime, what do you think about this? Did it help you in any way? Please comment below!