I recently started a woman’s Bible study. We’re reading through the book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart.
Many years ago, once I returned back to the church I questioned how I was suppose to act as a Christian woman. I didn’t have role models in place to glean from, then. So I took to reading.
I picked up the book written by Elizabeth George, A Woman After God’s Own Heart. It radically changed my life. And little tips from the book helped me start making new habits that helped me grow as a Christian woman.
My group and I are presently in chapter two. It’s about reading our Bibles daily.
I have to say way back when I first read this book, this part was super hard. I wanted to read my Bible, but it was too complicated for me. And it was a great book, but I just didn’t see how it applied to my everyday life.
So I set out to find a way that one, I could understand and two, was relevant to my life.
Here is what I found that worked for me.
There are many, many ways to read the Bible.
I’m certainly not suggesting this is the only way, or that it will even resonate with everyone. But what do you have to lose?
1) Pick a topic you would like to learn about.
The Bible is packed with lessons. You can’t learn them all at once. Pick one.
Some beginning suggestions.
The face of God: What does God look like?
Women: How was I designed to be?
Fear: What does God say about Fear?
More focused suggestions.
Christian Living: How should I be living?
Mental illness: How does God feel about my son?
Honor your mother and father: How can I honor my mother, if I don’t like her very much?
2) You don’t have to read every. single. word.
Skim, with caution. Will you read anything about, Fear in the genealogy of Jesus? Probably not. But do be careful. Once you narrow your search and become more focused on a topic, you will find lessons sprinkled out all over, in places you never saw before. It’s so exciting to find hidden treasures!
3) WRITE IN YOUR BIBLE!
You’re going to miss stuff. You’ll want to remember stuff. You’ll want to go back and find stuff. You’ll want to reread stuff. You gotta, gotta, gotta mark up your Bible.
God won’t get mad. He’s thrilled! He wants to encounter you there. Let him. We’re stupid. We can’t see him through all the other words. He’s talking to you, so make his words stand out and speak.
4) Whenever you come across something that has to do with your topic you’ve selected, underlined it. And move on.
You don’t have to stop and meditate on it (unless it really hit you, and you want to). Don’t assume everything has some great, Aha! moment. It won’t. But accumulatively, it will.
5) Start anywhere.
I like to start from the beginning, but I guess you don’t have to. Just make sure you don’t miss anything. If you start in the New Testament, make sure you finish in the Old. We may not be under the old law anymore, but there is still a lot of lessons to be learned, or supported in there. And don’t jump around. You start the book of John, finish the book of John before you move onto something else. Again, you’ll miss stuff.
6) If you don’t have time, read until you can underlined something, then put it away until tomorrow.
A common excuse for not reading the Bible is, I don’t have time. You don’t need a lot of time. But I can tell you, there’s been plenty of times where I thought the same thing so I decided I would only read until I found the next section that talks about my topic, and then when I look up I’ve realized I’ve not only done that but find myself several chapters passed it and 30 minutes late. Don’t even care. I’m on fire!
If you don’t have a lot of time, be disciplined, not neglectful.
7) If you have questions, write them down.
Then call or email your pastor. They love this kind of stuff! They want to know you are reading. Another common excuse for not reading the Bible is, it’s too hard to understand. Pastors’ want to be there to answer any and all of your questions. Sometimes it means they gotta go searching for the answer too. That’s good. It keeps them on their toes.
8) Don’t do more than one topic at a time.
It may take you a year to get through one topic, but that’s ok. You need to stay focused. If you start different Bibles with different topics, you’ll get lost again. It won’t be as meaningful as one topic would. You don’t have to mediate on everyday readings, because once you start reading about the same thing everyday it starts sink in and changes stuff inside of you. Narrowing your focus is important.
So, when you’re done, guess what?
YOU’VE READ THE BIBLE! THE WHOLE BIBLE! That’s huge! Not many can say that. Ask yourself,
“What did I get out of that?”
“Did I encounter God?”
“What is he trying to tell me?”
And if you don’t know, flip to anywhere in the book and look at what you’ve underlined.
Now wasn’t that just the coolest thing, EVER!?
What do you do from here?
9) We’ll pick up another Bible, silly.
But remember to lable your topic in the front of each book. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.
You’ve got a lot that God wants to talk to you about. He’s just waiting for you to listen.
Let me know what works for you as you’ve read your Bible, and if you try what I’ve suggested, let me know how that went too. I’d love to see how you grow!