I grew up in the Christian church in a devout conservative family. I was advised from an early age: “Read the Bible.” But many times when I read the Bible, quite honestly, it got boring. So I would force myself to read it. Still, I often found it to be a chore.
I recently met with a mentee, who shared this issue with me. She said, “I have heard the stories from the Bible since I was a child. When I read them in the Bible or hear them at church I don’t feel like it is helping me.”
If you can identify with her predicament, first pray that the Lord may lead you to a deeper understanding of how to engage with the Word of God. Second, aim to not just read the Word, but study it. Naturally you have to read it so you can study it, but make the goal to go beyond merely reading the words, but read as an act of study. How do you study the Word of God, you might ask. Let me offer this approach.
1. Read a chapter once.
2. If you see something you have a question about, research it. Answer the question: What does it mean?
3. If you feel like there is a verse that has a lesson for you, stop, set your timer for five minutes, and write about it. Doing this forces you to answer the question: What does this mean for me?
This simple exercise will slow your reading progress. That’s okay. I know many want to finish reading the Bible in one year. That means you have to read about four chapters per day. So can you read four chapters per day and stop and do the above? Yes, if you have an hour or more dedicated to studying the Word of God.
If you have less, just read part of a chapter, even a few verses, but stop and ask these two questions above and answer them. Studying involves stopping, reflecting, writing, and praying.
When I started doing what I described above, it was a turning point in my life. I know it will be in yours as well.