May 16, 2010

Bible Time!

Filed under: Pressing Toward the Mark — Katryna Starks @ 10:26 am

We all need to read the Bible on a regular basis, but sometimes things get in the way. We put it off or we consider it an “extra” thing that we will do after we get all of the important things under control. The problem with that is, we’ll never get the other things “handled”. Once we knock down one time obstacle, three more pop up to fill it. It becomes a vicious circle. So, how do we get out?

” I know I need to read the Bible, but I just don’t have time.”

Pencil It In!
We have our day-planners with us wherever we go, reminding us of important meetings, when to pick up the kids from practice, and who we need to call when we get home. If you’re having trouble finding time to study the Bible, plan a time for it and put that in your organizer, too! (If you don’t have an organizer, get one! It’s the best $20 you’ll ever spend!) The best thing to do is to create a fixed time to study, such as 7:15-7:45 every morning or evening. It is important to include a time to start and a time to stop. Stick to these times. When the starting time comes, stop whatever you are doing and open your Bible. At the end of your time, close your Bible — even if you feel you didn’t get anything out of it. Once you make Bible reading a priority and keep to your schedule, you will learn to focus in and make every reading time a productive one.

“I’ve tried to read the Bible, but I just don’t understand anything.”

Make a Method
Reading the Bible, as with reading anything else, is easier if you have an idea of what you’re looking for before you start to read. When you go into a bookstore, you read the backs of several books until you find one that tells you what you want to know, then you read that book. The introductions to the books of the Bible work in much the same way. Before you cozy into the section to read, scan the introductions. Create a few questions that you would like to have answered. Then, as you read, take notes. The notes can answer your earlier questions or that can be jotted down quote that speak to your spirit at that particular time. Try to write down the relationship to the quote and the situation in your life that makes it jump out at you. For instance, if you read a section on loving your neighbor, don’t just jot down the section, make notes about the conflict you had with a friend or co-worker and how that section helps you with your situation.

“It’s hard to concentrate on the Bible. My mind keeps wandering to other things.”

Create a Haven
Find a spot in your home or at work where you can read the Bible in peace. That spot can be as simple as pulling a TV tray up to your favorite chair or as elaborate as a home office or study. Block everything out of your mind except the Bible. The dishes can wait, your phone calls can wait, the dog can wait … you get the picture. Unless there happens to be a life-or-death emergency every time you start to read the Bible, the distractions that keep you from reading aren’t as much of a priority as you make them. This method works especially well when you combine it with “pencil it in”. If you have a specific time every day that you devote to Bible study, it is easier for other members of your household to adjust to your schedule.

“There’s so much to read. I don’t know where to start.”

Grow Into It
A good thing to do when you are trying to establish Bible reading habits is to read the shorter books first. The Epistles (found at the end of the New Testament) are relatively short as well as some of the books of the minor prophets (like Nahum). Instead of reading an entire book, you can also read sections at a time, or focus on one parable per study session. If you’re still having trouble, you can find several Bible study guides in the library or at a Christian bookstore.

When you sit in your haven at the appointed time to read or study your Bible, you will read with vigor and experience miracles and revelations — well, not exactly. Sometimes you’ll gain new insights, sometimes you’ll get distracted halfway through. Learning to walk with God is a lot like learning to walk on Earth — you have to crawl first. The point of reading the Bible is not that you do it perfectly every time, but that you stay committed to it no matter what. By reading your Bible, you will gain new insights and you will grow, but only if you stick with it.