In the last post (see “In the Presence of God”), we talked about the importance of establishing a daily time in prayer with God. Getting to know and understand Him will be the linchpin in learning to live the life you were created to live. The other side of the prayer coin is studying His Word. Reading the Bible is another way He speaks to us. I know this will be basic to those who have been following Christ for any length of time, but how many are actually taking time to engage with God’s Word daily?
I’m not talking about a checkbox reading either. We need to move beyond having a reading plan and working simply to tick off the box for that day. Rather, we need to immerse ourselves in His Word every day.
I am well-qualified to speak on this, because I have been guilty of both neglecting daily time in the Scripture, and of the check-box mentality. Any method which gets you reading the Bible has some merit. But until you engage with the very Words of God, you will not experience their life-altering power.
To be fair, I’m a fan of reading the Bible all the way through once or twice a year. Getting the whole picture and internalizing all the amazing stories in it are very important in our walk. They help us recall times in the past where God has been faithful and delivered His people. We can take encouragement from knowing this same God is here with us today. But reading the Bible straight through by whatever method you choose, is a large undertaking. It’s a big book. The chances of you actually engaging with it on a daily basis while reading it through are pretty slim.
Better still, or in addition to reading the Bible through, set aside time where you can really dig in, understand, and apply what you are reading. Pick a favorite passage. Choose a single book to do a deep dive. Perhaps do a word study. Take smaller chunks so you can spend the time to listen and understand what God may be saying to you through His Word.
One of my favorite methods of Bible Study is to take a passage that has spoken to me and, using a good study Bible, look up all the verses relating to it. For example, a verse currently captivating me is Psalm 40, verse 8: “I delight to do Your will, my God! Your instruction lives within me.” This blog post was inspired by this verse. After all, where do we find His instruction? It’s in His Word. We get it inside us by reading it, digesting it, and then living it. Using the cross-reference section in my Bible, I’ve discovered several more verses saying similar things to Psalm 40:8 (Psalm 119:9-16, 24, 29-33, 44-48, 128), and I’ve only just begun. I like to catalog similar verses and write them down so they are all in front of me. Then, I pray through them, and ask God to help me apply what I’m reading to my life.
Whatever method of Bible study resonates with you, do it! Try many different methodologies to find what works. Mix them up to keep from getting stale. The important thing is to dive in. Read His Word, meditate on it, let it sink in. Pray through it and then apply it your life. Allow God to speak to you through Scripture. Spending time reading His Word and talking to Him in prayer is how we grow to understand and love Him more every day. Don’t miss the blessing and opportunity of prayer and Bible study.