This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. ~ Joshua 1:8
Do you read the Bible daily? Do you meditate on God’s Word? How much time do you spend studying the Word of God? Five minutes? Ten minutes? An hour?
No, it’s not a contest or a race. And there is no magical “right” number of minutes to spend reading the Bible.
But there is a big difference between simply reading the Bible, and spending real time studying its words.
This is something I’ve been working on lately; not just reading a few verses to say I did it or skimming through a quick daily devotional. But taking my reading to the next level by reading more often and taking the time to meditate on the words I’ve read.
It’s not so much about counting the minutes that go by as you read. But it’s more about the quality of your reading.
You can literally read one verse a day and get so much out of that one verse. If God is speaking to you in that one verse, and you’d like to take the day to meditate on just those words, go for it.
The key is making sure the time you spend reading God’s Word is feeding your spirit.
INVITING GOD TO HELP YOU STUDY
It’s not enough to read the Bible from cover to cover. Anyone can read words on a page. But are you asking God to allow the Words to fill you? Are you asking Him to open your eyes so you can see, and to open your ears so you can hear?
Are you praying for God to show you with spiritual eyes the things He wishes to teach you? The scriptures contain spiritual messages that God wishes to convey to us through His Holy Word. But we cannot access the power behind His Word without truly digging and seeking to understand what we are reading.
I get it. You’re tired. You had a long day. What’s wrong with just reading a few verses before bed and calling it a night?
Well, what’s wrong is you are doing yourself a huge disservice by not devoting true time to the Word. Invest in God and He will invest in you.
We learn who God is by reading the Bible. We learn how God works in people’s lives by reading the Bible. We learn how we should pray and how we should fast. The Bible has words of healing and protection.
The Bible is not just a book. The Bible is God’s direct message to His sheep.
There is a difference between simply reading the Word and actually studying it for understanding, wisdom, and revelation.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Skeptics read the Bible and focus only on a few choice verses that seem offensive, and then decide the Bible can’t be trusted; it’s homophobic, bigoted, or misogynistic.
But did those skeptics spend time in prayer asking God for wisdom and understanding before reading the words on the page?
God wants to use the Bible to start a conversation with us. To bring us closer to Him and everlasting joy. He wants to feed our spirits so that He can teach us truths that we cannot find alone.
So, it’s time to be honest with ourselves. Ask yourself this question: Am I truly studying the Bible? If the answer is yes, GREAT!
But if the answer is no, it’s time to get to work. Show God that you are hungry for Him and He will begin to pour into you wisdom and understanding. He will start to open your eyes and ears to things you’ve always been closed off to.
How do you get started?
Again, it’s not a race. And it’s not even about increasing how “much” of the Bible you read each day. It’s about what you do before, while, and after you’ve finished reading. It’s about letting the words sink into your heart and meditating on them often.
FINALLY, THE 4 STEPS TO FOLLOW
If you follow these four steps, I guarantee you will start to see a difference in your relationship with God and your understanding of the Bible:
Before you begin reading, go into prayer. Invite His presence into the room. Ask God to help you understand the verses that you read. Ask God to open your eyes and ears and remove any blinders that are blocking the truth. Pray that the words feed your spirit, and you gain spiritual wisdom. Ask Him to help you see how you can apply the words to your life.
While you read, talk to God. As you read through the verses, ask questions, offer up commentary, take notes, make it a conversation with God. Break down each verse line-by-line if you need to, talking through it with God, asking for clarity and understanding along the way.
Spend a few moments summarizing what you’ve read. Write it down if it helps. What did you learn? How did you feel as you were reading? What stood out to you?
After you’ve finished reading, follow-up your reading with a closing prayer. Thank God for making Himself available. Pray again that He shows you ways that you can apply the message to your daily walk.
Whether you read one devotional a day, or 10 chapters a day, make them count. Don’t just speed read through the words to get done. You are allowed to take your time to read, reread, dissect, and meditate on what you have read.
How do you study the Bible? What strategies do you apply to get the most out of the Word?