“I’ve tried reading the Bible but I don’t understand it and my mind wanders.”
I’ve heard that many, many times. But I’ve also been able to help a lot of people learn to read the Bible to get a lot out of it. King David describes a person of success as one who reads and ponders daily on the Word of God. Most Christians know there is value in reading the Bible, yet few of us do it consistently. I think mainly because they’ve never learned how.
This is the fourth in a series on how to have a valuable quiet time. We already talked about having a plan, setting a time and place, and how to pray like Jesus. This week is on how to read the Bible to get the most out of it. Here are some helps.
• Follow a reading plan. Many people try to read the Bible from cover to cover, like a modern nonfiction. But the Bible was not meant to be read that way. Some books in the Bible are reference books and not meant to be reading material. Instead, use a reading plan. I like to use the plan on our church app.
• Use a readable version. While we use the ESV at church, for daily reading, I encourage the NLT. Especially if you get a good study Bible with notes that help explain things. We have the NLT Life Application Bible available at church. Check at the Welcome Center.
• Do it every day. We are creatures of habit. The things we do most successfully are the things we do daily. If you really want to get to know the Bible, have a daily time and place. When you miss, get back to it the next day.
• Pray before and during. I pray something like, “Lord, you know me better than I know myself. You know what I need today. You know what I need to work on and important reminders. Please give me from your word, exactly what I need.” With that little prayer, it’s amazing how the words begin to jump off the page.
• Write some things down. I like to record what I get out of my reading. It causes me to remember a lot more. I keep a little notebook on my phone for this.
– Something I didn’t know before
– Something I’m struggling with now
– Something that encourages me
– Something I need to change
• Summarize what you read. I like to repeat back to myself and summarize in my mind what I read. But what helps me the most is sharing it with someone else. Since I read 1 Corinthians 1 this morning, I’ll try to share with a few others how we like to make ourselves out to be really smart but all of our collective wisdom is foolishness in comparison to God’s wisdom. By passing that on, I’ll remember it all the more.
If you get into this habit, you’ll find it to be one of the most valuable aspects of your life. After all, getting to know God’s Word is getting to know God! What could be more valuable than that?