“A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” – Theodore Roosevelt
If I were to name the one season of my life where daily Bible reading became not just a daily activity, but an essential moment of each day that my heart absolutely craved – it would be the mission trip I took to Mainland China.
We knew we were being carefully monitored, and weren’t allowed to openly read our Bibles or leave them sitting out in our rooms, nor could we talk about the Bible with our other team members where someone might overhear. So each day one of us would choose an encouraging verse for the day and write it on a 3×5 index card to hand out to everyone at breakfast. I began to live for the moment I would get my daily verse and would devour it, reflecting on its meaning throughout the day and beyond. This was when Bible reading really came to life for me…
…And I was only reading two or three verses a day.
Stressful Study Times
In stark contrast, after returning to the States I fell back into my old habit of struggling to keep up with a heavy Bible reading plan for the year, where 8-10 chapters are assigned each day. When I ran low on time I caught myself speed-reading through the passages, desperate to simply “get through” the passage so I could check it off my list.
And if I didn’t make it through the daily passage, I felt discouraged and guilty. Which, by the way, was just one more distraction from what the passage was actually saying.
Short and Sweet
That’s why I decided to take a different approach this year. Instead of struggling through a stressful Bible reading plan, I’ve decided to keep my daily Bible reading short and sweet. Reading a smaller passage each day gives me time to truly meditate on what it is saying and what it really means, and sometimes I’m even able to commit part of it to memory. It also gives time to compare different translations of the Bible, or use additional study tools (commentaries, Bible dictionaries, etc.) to learn about the cultural context of each passage so I can get a fuller picture of what the Bible is trying to say to me, instead of settling for what I’m trying to read into the Bible.
I really think this is the key to a fruitful Bible reading experience. It’s not a race – we shouldn’t compare ourselves to other Christians in a frenzy to “out-read” them. Instead, it’s about a relationship with the Lord, and the daily conversations we are able to have with Him through prayer and the reading of His Word.
Now I genuinely look forward to Bible reading – and I’m able to cherish each and every word of it.
How about you? Do you have any helpful tips for making Bible Study easier?
Today’s post is part of the A-to-Z Challenge, where participants commit to posting one article for each day during the month of April – one for every letter of the alphabet.
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