Do you ever find that reading the Bible can be a bit difficult, a little dry, and rather confusing? And it’s not for lack of trying either. The King James has been swapped for a more contemporary Bible version, a commentary has been summoned along with a nice journal, with hopes of capturing every revelation or verse that speaks to us.
But yet, the diary remains empty, and quiet time soon becomes a chore. “Why even read the Bible?” we begin to wonder.
Let’s not despair! Quiet time can actually be a lively, life-changing affair as we encounter God in new and refreshing ways. Try asking these questions as you drill down into the Bible.
1. What am I expecting this time to be?
It’s easy to view reading the Bible as another chore, another thing to tick off our “to-do” list, and so we do it out of obligation, and often with expectations that we’ll learn something specific. But what if we view this time simply as a way to grow our relationship with God?
Thinking about Bible-reading as quality time with God can release us from the burden of trying to read enough, learn enough, or have a world-turning revelation. It helps us see it as an opportunity to engage not just with the gift of the Word, but more importantly, the giver Himself—to ask questions, share doubts, and pray as we work through the Bible.
So let’s chase after a deeper bond with God by approaching His Word without an agenda, trusting that as we draw near to God, He is faithful to do the same (James 4:8).
2. What does this teach me about God?
If we grew up attending Sunday School, we’d be familiar with the song, “Jesus Loves Me“, and were likely fed a steady diet of highlight reel Bible stories. As we get older and reread these stories, it’s easy to gloss over David’s battle with Goliath and Jonah’s time in the belly of a giant fish, reducing them in our minds to old, familiar tales.
But what if we look at these stories and the rest of the Bible afresh, and ask ourselves what they tell us about who God is? How does God’s faithfulness and providing nature come through in Joseph’s turbulent life? Consider the wisdom and mercy that informed the laws of the Old Testament. How can we, like the Psalmist, see God’s grace and compassion, even in suffering (Psalm 116: 3-6)?
Looking for displays of God’s character helps us to see how even the dry, confusing, or familiar parts of the Bible point us to God’s never-changing, good, and loving nature. It gives us a handle to hold, especially as we work through tough or confusing passages.
3. What does God want to say to me?
Too often, we wish God would come thundering down from Heaven with an answer to our life’s problems. But spending time in the Bible is a way of hearing from God—just not in the way we might expect. We’ll not find the specific name of the company we should (or would) work for, or the person we should marry, or a step-by-step guide on how to address the turmoil in our family.
But the Bible is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It’s filled with words of wisdom, such as love one another (John 13:34-35), forgive one another with compassion (Ephesians 4:32), and most importantly, seek God above all else (Matthew 6:33). And it points us to prayer and the Holy Spirit for guidance in living that out.
As we read, let’s reflect on how God might be prompting us to apply biblical wisdom to a specific situation in our life.
The Bible is an important book that transforms our lives as it convicts and corrects us. But more than that, spending time reading the Bible will deepen our relationship with our Creator as we catch glimpses of Him throughout the Bible, pointing us to our God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).