The Spiritual Disciplines (part I)

This is the first part of what will be a two-part series about prayer and Bible reading. This post will focus on Bible reading.

Bible reading is one of those things we as Christians know we should do, but many of us struggle to find time. Here is what I think:

Work is important to us. We value our job because we see the reward in it. We get up every day and go to work because we know we rely on it. We know we can’t expect money if we don’t work.

Bible reading should be like that. It should be important to us. We should value it because we see the reward in it. We should get up every day and read it because we know we rely on it. We shouldn’t expect fruit in our lives if we don’t do it.

Too many times we think of Bible reading as an option. Sure, we think it can help us, but maybe not as much as breakfast. So we go with breakfast. We believe it has power in our lives, but not as much as a shower. So we shower. We know it is more precious than great riches, but not as precious as sleep. So we sleep. Why? I think it’s because we think of it as more of an option than the things listed above. We think Bible reading is an activity for days when we have extra time. We don’t understand the power.

The Other Side of The Problem
That’s only half the problem though. When we do sit down to read our Bible, we’re either rushed, or we get distracted, or we simply don’t take the meaning to heart. So our problem is really three problems in one. We don’t do it, when we do we usually can’t stay focused, and we don’t let it impact us. Here are some tips to take care of all three problems. But they will only work if you do them.

Tip #1
Start a Bible reading plan and set a time each day to do it. They have lots of these in the You Version Bible app. Just go to plans and then tap “browse plans”. You can read the Bible in a year, two years, or three months! They also have a bunch of one-book plans and topical plans.

Tip #2
Have a “Focus Ritual.” Before I read the Word, I turn on all the lights in the room, I exercise, I pray, and then I read my Bible. Doing that helps me focus and stay awake. Think of a few things you can do to prepare your mind to be able to focus on the meaning. Then move on to the next tip.

Tip #3
Ask God to use it in your life before you read. Just say something like “God, please use your Word to impact my life. Don’t let these words slip through my mind without the meaning being caught. Thank you.”

Changing Your Mindset
So often we aren’t impacted by the Word because we don’t see it as an impacting book. Instead of thinking of your time in the Word as a Christian must-do, think of it as fifteen minutes of inspiration, wisdom, and conviction.

Quality Over Quantity
Don’t let anything get in the way of concentration. If you are reading twenty chapters a day and not taking a word to heart, you should probably start reading one each day.

Read this next paragraph slowly, and take its meaning to heart. Let it influence you.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12 (esv)

What do you do to focus on the Scripture? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Wow! I like that idea. I have a similar way of marking off books. I go to the table of contents and put a little mark next to the book. I should start writing the date there too.

    I enjoy listening to your stories on your podcast. Thanks for recording them for all of us.


  2. I like to read fairly fast to get a sweeping overview, like a “flyover” so I have the big idea of the book fixed in my mind. The small parts make more sense and I am less likely to get on a interpretive “rabbit-trail.” I like to buy a new Bible and read strait through it marking as I go and reading quickly. I move the ribbon every day that I read and sooner or later I read through and mark my whole Bible.

    I like to date each book when I have finished reading it. This and the highlighting give me a spacial sense of accomplishment. My collection of Bibles in different versions and paraphrases become a collection of journals.

    Keep writing, Levi. What a powerful encouragement you are to all of us. See you at Barakel in a few weeks.

    Uncle Ken!


  3. I absolutely love your blog Levi!!! I like the topics you cover in it. I really like the Spiritual Disciplines article you’re doing! Keep up the great work! (Btw, I’m Jordan that you met at your churches’ wild game dinner. I have already subscribed).