Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
How’s your Bible reading going?
Seventeen years ago I was saved, and for the past fourteen I’ve been in my Bible pretty much daily. I credit the few years I spent back in Bible Study Fellowship for helping me cultivate that habit. I was always a good student growing up and did my “homework” as such. So daily BSF questions were answered…daily.
I didn’t have a reading plan for most of those post-BSF years; I just picked a book here and there, or sought out verses I liked or needed. The church I was attending preached topically every week, so I didn’t have the chance to read passages ahead of the sermon and I never went back afterwards to read the half-dozen or so verses given on that Sunday in context.
Eventually I fell into a plan that worked for me: simply to read front to back and begin again. Three or so chapters a day would complete the whole Bible within a year or so. Then a brother shared with me his plan for reading the psalms and I adopted that, too: simply take the date (say, the 4th) and read that psalm (4) and then keep adding 30 until you get to the end of the book: psalms 4, 34, 64, 94, 124. In this way, the book of psalms is finished every month.
Proverbs is also finished within every month; simply read that chapter on that date. On the 4th of the month, read proverbs 4.
How long does it take to read all of that? About 30-40 minutes.
A few weeks ago, I heard a sermon that pleaded for morning devotions. The preacher apologized for “meddling” but his questions were instructive. The answers to choose from were (a) your Blackberry (or other favorite device) or (b) your Bible. How would you do in this short quiz?
1. First thing each morning, I flip it open to see if there’s a message for me.
2. I wouldn’t consider leaving home without it.
3. When standing in a slow line at the bank, I use my time to read it.
4. Waiting for the ferry (or other relevant thing–like an appointment–in your case) is not unpleasant because it’s always with me.
5. Before going to bed, I again comfort myself with the information it holds.
I recently finished Kay Arthur’s Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days. I admit the reason I was drawn to inductive study was because, well, the colors were pretty 🙂 I had gone through other devotionals and books before; sometimes I wanted the reading “assignments” and questions that another author had thoughtfully put forth for me.
As it turns out, I am really enjoying this method of study a whole lot! I have done many word studies before, using a concordance to dig deeper, but this method exposed the even *deeper* digging I could do on my own.
Or course, because the text is a living and supernatural text, I’m always gleaning and learning something new every time I read, no matter how many times I’ve read a passage before. But–wow–using those colors really brings new things to light in a whole new way.
It’s taking me longer to study this way, and I don’t read as many passages on a daily basis because of it. But to break out my colors and dig deep? Takes me about 30-40 minutes in the morning.
As an aside, I’m loving the Pilot Frixion pens: they don’t bleed through my thin Bible paper and they’re erasable.
I have a lot to do. I have seven children who want breakfast and a husband I need to speak with before he leaves for work. I like my shower in the morning, and because I’m pregnant I need to EAT within the hour of waking or my blood sugar crashes. When my eyes open my mind is apt to start planning my day (more packing for the move? cleaning? baking scones? staging for the realtor? potty training my toddler?…..)
But what I look forward to more than anything else is opening my Bible and hearing from the Lord. I feel robbed if I overslept or am too nauseated to look at print, because I know the rest of the day will race towards nightfall and if I try to read anything during that time, it will be crumbs and not a meal.
Jeremiah 2. That’s where I was today and I spent the time to copy the 20 questions God inquired of Israel, a nation that forsook the Lord to chase after culture, self-righteousness, and idolatry. He points out that their sins were not even in secret, and that even abortion is not anything new (v.34). That nation presumed upon the mercy of the Lord when troubles arose, but steadfastly refused correction.
Who says the Bible isn’t relevant for today?
Is it relevant for YOUR “today”?
Take this in love, sisters. Remember your first love.
Seek ye out the book of the LORD, and read… (Isa 34:16)