SPENDING TIME WITH GOD:
READING THE BIBLE

The Bible is not boring. The Bible is not irrelevant to our lives today. The Bible is God’s letter to us: in it we will find what God wants to communicate to us directly.

Many times when people call the Bible boring or irrelevant, when they really mean overwhelming. For someone who doesn't know much about the Bible or Christianity, opening a Bible and starting to read it will give them so much new information so quickly that they don't even know where to begin to understand it all. If this is the case for you, make sure you have an easy-to-read Bible (like the New Living Translation - we are offering these for free as they become available) and start by reading about Jesus in the book of Mark or Luke (mostly stories), or John (mostly Jesus' teachings). Try to find a friend or group of people through your church or Christian group who will be able to encourage you and answers your questions as you read.

Reading the Bible requires some time and discipline, but this is a small payment for all that we will get out of it! Use the suggestions below and in the "Tips and Ideas" column to the right to help you out:

HOW TO READ YOUR BIBLE:

Get some tips from others. If you’ve never read your Bible before, talk to someone who has so that they can help you find a good place to get started – unlike other books, you may not want to start at the beginning!

Find a translation you like. Translations vary in their difficulty and trueness to the original text. Paraphrases (like The Message) are easier to read but are less true to the original (not word-for-word translations), while more literal translations (like the NASB) are very true to the original, but are more difficult to read. The NIV is a good balance of the two.

Have someone keep you accountable. Find another Christian who will help encourage you to keep reading and perhaps consider meeting regularly so you both can share what God’s been teaching you through your reading.

Read daily. When you make a habit of reading, it will be easier to do it regularly.

Apply what you read. When a passage stands out to you, that’s God speaking to you! Think about how it applies to your life and what you will do or change as a result of what you read. See James 1.22,25.

Be ready and eager to read. Come to this time expecting to learn and listen to God. Don’t let busyness, pride, or a bad attitude get in the way.

Don’t try to understand everything. Write down questions you have and don’t get bogged down trying to figure it all out.

Find one “nugget” a day. Write down one thing God showed you in your reading everyday.

Confess sin - sin will make it hard to listen to and spend time with God reading another in a different book the next), your reading can become directionless and unmotivated, plus you may not get the overall picture of what God is communicating in His Word

If you miss a day (or more) don’t feel guilty.
Just get back on track! Guilt will just keep you from your reading even longer.

 

THINGS THAT CAN MAKE READING YOUR BIBLE DIFFICULT...

Sometimes reading gets difficult and feels pointless. Here are some possible causes and solutions:

Physical condition – being tired or sick. This may or may not be preventable. If it is, do something about it: go to bed earlier, read at a better time in the day, or cut back on your activities.

Sin. Sin makes it hard to God to talk to you, so if you’re living in a way that’s not pleasing to Him, deal with it. Confess your sin and make things right.

Rushing your time with God. He can’t say what He wants to say, when you don’t have time to listen. Slow down!

Getting in a rut. Find ways to spice up your time with God: read a different translation, in a different spot (ignore your reading plan!), at a different time or place, add a devotional – do whatever it takes to make your time with God new and interesting.

Not sharing what God is teaching you.
When we don’t share with others what God is doing, it can discourage us and get us bored – find some friends to share with from time to time.

Sometimes none of these solutions will be of help to you. If that is the case, remain disciplined and read even if you don’t feel like it. God is faithful and, if you are seeking Him, will not let your time in His Word be like this for the rest of your life!

See our FREE online Bible guide for more information about Reading Your Bible.

NEXT: Spending Time with God through Prayer

 
  Everyone is different in what helps them to read their Bible effectively, but these ideas may help you:

Set a specific time to read everyday. Find a place and time when you can focus and have minimal distractions.

Set a specific amount to read everyday. The goal can be in time or chapters, but be sure to focus on quality not quantity.

Take notes. Keep a spiritual journal or notebook, so you can write down what you’re learning or questions you have as your read. This will help you focus on what you’re reading.

Read systematically. If we jump around too much, our reading can become directionless and unmotivated and we don’t get the overall view of what is being said because we will tend to read out of context. Set some goals or decide on a reading plan (short-term or long-term)

Be armed to resist excuses! Reading the Bible daily requires discipline and excuses will come. Think about some excuses you could see yourself making and decide now how you will handle them.

Switch translations from time to time just to keep God’s Word fresh for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

M. Schmidt © 2005