Bible study, quiet time, devotional time…no matter what you like to call it taking the time each day to dig into God’s word is probably the most important thing you can do for your day. Making time to read, meditate, pray, and sit in the presence of God is so much more than a daily task to mark off your todo list.
Consider this: If you were to enter into a relationship with another person you would do whatever you could to truly spend time getting to know that person. It is not different when considering your relationship with God. While we don’t necessarily have God here nose to nose with us where we can audibly hear God speak as we ask questions and struggle with life what we do have is the answers in the form of the Bible. The only way we are going to know what it says is by reading and studying it.
There are so very many methods of studying the Bible and I will be the first one to tell you that there is no right or wrong way to do it (ok..well there might be a thing or two but that’s a post for another day.). The point is whether you choose to study in the morning, midday, or before bed just before it is important that you get yourself into the Word.
I have tried all different methods, Bible study plans, group studies, individual studies, and devotionals. I have done reading plans using an app, reading plans assigned to me in Seminary classes, and reading plans I found on a blog or website I like and trust. I have also tried to do my quiet time in the morning before the kids are up, during the day around my chores and schedules, and at night before I go to bed.
Today I’m going to share a bit of what I have learned about what works for me to make sure I get into the Word and spend solid quality time with the Lord each day.
Time of Day
As I have already mentioned I have tried to study my Bible at all different times of the day. The thing I have discovered about myself is that if I don’t work in my quiet time early in the morning, generally before the kids are out of bed, its just not going to happen. As soon as the first child utters the words “What’s for breakfast?” my day pretty much takes off. I will be honest, when I was in a season where I was up and down all night due to a baby needing to be fed, changed, or to understand the way time works, I did not do so well with the daily quiet time. Now that my children sleep through the night, for the most part, and I am generally finding myself away between 4 and 4:30 AM (Thanks VIPKid) getting my quiet time done early is not quiet as hard.
While getting myself into the Word happens in the morning, getting myself prepared to do so happens the night before. You see, if I get myself all geared up to really dig into the Bible and I can’t find where I put it, I don’t have my pens and highlighters gathered up, and I don’t have my notebook or a plan then it is more likely that I will just end up doing something else. I make sure that I have all my things gathered up and in one place together the night before as part of my before bed routine so that I have eliminated one of my excuses.
For me this looks like this cute little square tote. I have everything I need inside it and its small and portable so I can move it around the house with me.
Location, Location, Location
This brings me to my second point. Knowing where you are going to study. I like to gather up my things and move to a cozy corner in my living room. Since I am usually doing this study at 6 AM and my goal is for my kids to stay asleep just a little bit longer I will click on the single overhead lamp rather than turning on all the lights in the house. I wrap up in my blanket, lay out my supplies and get into it. This allows me to feel relaxed and comfortable which helps me to open my heart and my mind to what God is going to be trying to tell me.
Sometimes if I have a plan of doing some scripture journaling or something more decorative in my Bible then I will choose to do my study at the desk in our makeshift classroom. This allows me to have a solid surface for the art work that I will be trying to do. It’s rare I do this since to be honest the chair I have at my desk is not the most comfortable in the world.
What To Study?
Now that the supplies are gathered and the location is set the next question is what are you going to read and study? As I mentioned before there are a lot of different ways to study the Bible. Rick Warren’s book “Bible Study Methods” helps to give some great ideas on how to go through the Bible. There are studies on specific books of the bible, specific topics such as prayer, work, forgiveness, or even based around holidays, there are daily devotionals that provide a relatable story tied in with related Scripture passages.
I like Bible study reading plans that what I like to call “mildly structured”. Within those mildly structured guidelines I am given a reading plan and then left with the freedom to read and take in what God is saying in the Word. Often times I avoid studies that come with fill in the blank or open ended questions. I have the tendency to want to be sure I am giving whatever the “right answer” might be so when I am given more freedom to soak in the word and hear God I get more out of my study.