There is a sweetness that comes with reading my bible, but it wasn’t always that way.
For years it was a chore, a task that needed to be done. I would slog through the writings, barely understanding what I was reading but applauding when I made it through another chapter. I wouldn’t think about it much after, nor would I really remember what I had read. I’m not sure when it changed, or how it became a desire like it is now, but I know it started with tiny, small steps that led to a love for reading God’s Word. It’s how He speaks to me; I can’t tell you how many times I have been going through something and the next scripture I read points to exactly that. Not reading it is like putting together an appliance without reading the instructions, it may still work but perhaps not in the way it was intended. There is life in this old book, and I encourage you to discover it.
Does that sound a little far-fetched to you?
I’d encourage you to implement the following 10 tips for getting back into the word and then letting me know how you got on:
A quick, simple prayer before you sit down to read.
“Lord, thank you that you reveal your heart to me through your word. Amen.”
2. Find a bible you love and understand
It’s important to have a bible that you understand and want to read. There is no sense getting yourself a King James Version if you don’t understand what you are reading. Most people begin with the popular NIV, although some of the translations can be a little off. There are more concept based versions of the bible like The Message and The Passion Bible, but it is always important to find a balance between almost-direct translations and liberal translations. Advice that was given to me was to steer clear of bibles that have been written by one person, rather choose a bible that has been put together by a team of scholars.
My best and most practical bible has been the English Standard Version (ESV).
Look out for my video on different bible types and how they are categorised.
3. Start simply
If you are just getting back into treading the Word or you’re new at it, start simple. Choose one of the gospels and read a few lines a day, a paragraph or even a chapter – but read with understanding. If you only manage three lines before you lose focus, then think on those three lines as you go about your day. You’ll be meditating on the Word and rooting the truths into your heart by doing so. There is more value in taking your time to read with understanding than there is in ticking boxes on a bible-reading checklist.
4. Make a time
Don’t we often make time for certain tasks that we need to get done? Although reading the Word should become less of a task and more of a desire over time, at first it can be exactly that – a task. Like all tasks, we have to set aside a period of the day where we plan to achieve the goal we had in mind. When it comes to reading your bible, I would suggest doing it first thing in the morning before the day gets ahead of you. Perhaps it is as you wake and you snuggle in bed to read, or maybe it’s on the couch with a cup of coffee. If you’ve got young children and the morning isn’t possible, try find another spot in the day where you know you can give yourself a few minutes to focus on what is in front of you.
5. Start slow
Reading the Word does not have to be a two hour journey. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be five minutes if we are going to take what we have read, understand it and think upon it. The reading part may have been short, but the part where what you have read filters into the rest of your day actually becomes rooted in your heart.
6. Find a quiet space
The world is loud, and so are our homes and environments. Maybe it’s the fridge, the sound of footsteps on the wooden floor upstairs or even the wind rattling the windows – it can be distracting.
A great tip for being able to focus on the Word is to play some instrumental music. There are amazing options from Hillsong to Bethel, all you have to do is type ‘worship instrumental’ into Google and you’ll have plenty of sweet, quiet, Holy Spirit inspired songs to help you focus.
With modern technology we are more able than ever before to access the bible on our phones. There are many apps with different versions on, as well as audiobook versions. If you’re better at listening or need something to hear on your commute, play a chapter from the gospels and listen to it as you go along.
8. Write it down
You may not want to write or highlight in your bible, but if you feel you saw something important or something stood out to you, make a note somewhere. This is how God speaks to me, in those moments where something stands out and clicks in my head in a way it didn’t before. This doesn’t happen every time, but often I’ll go back a few days later and what I read will happen to relate to me in hindsight. It’s a tool not everyone will be comfortable using, but having it written down or sectioned off somewhere is a great way to map out what the Lord is saying to you.
9. Think about it
What we read doesn’t always resonate, but that is no reason not to think about it. There are an abundance of questions one can ask when we actually start to see the bible as genuine accounts of lives lived. Take the story of Adam and Eve as an example, often one we think of as more of a fable than a truth. Imagine being them, walking in the garden with God. What must it have been like to realise that you have sold out to Satan? That you disobeyed God, that you caused hurt. Does that sound a little more relatable now?
What about Eve, did she feel guilty? Did she realise what had truly happened? Did her and Adam fight about it, did it cause a massive break in their own relationship?
Biblical characters become a lot more real and relatable when we consider that they are in fact people that existed, even if it was a long time ago.
10. Pray about it
Ask the Lord to reveal something to you about what you have read in your time with your bible. It may not be what you hoped, or perhaps it will be more than you imagined – thank Him for revealing His precious heart to you.