How to Read your Bible (well, how I read mine!)
Something that's different about 2018 compared to my last few years is how I'm reading my Bible. Being a pastor's kid, I've always been involved in church. I knew from an early age that reading your Bible was important. Years of Sunday School, Awana, and Bible Drill definitely helped me become familiar with the Scriptures, but it's taken me a little while to really figure out reading my Bible in a way that makes sense to me. And you know what, that's totally okay.
Your relationship with Jesus is a personal relationship, meaning that it's hard to copy and paste a Bible Reading method without personalizing it.
In the past I would rely on devotional plans with more emotional depth than scripture depth. They were great and I love devotionals, but I found myself scared to read my Bible on my own. I became really dependent on those devotionals or books for my Bible reading. I was fearful that if I just read scripture out of the Bible, I wouldn't be learning because I wasn't smart enough to know what was really going on.
That sounds crazy, right? Maybe you've had similar thoughts and feelings. I'm thankful that I changed those thoughts and feelings over time. Now, I wake up ready to READ, learn, and journal. That desire has been lacking in my life for years. I'm incredibly thankful that the desire to read my Bible is present, but it's become a total necessity in my life.
I want to share with you how I've figured out what works for me and the steps I took to get here.
During those times when I wasn't reading my Bible and couldn't finish a devotional plan to save my life, I would pray this very simple prayer, "God, please give me the desire to read your Word." I wouldn't say it every day, but when I would think about it. When I felt hopeless and like I was being left out because all of these other people have a dynamic Bible reading relationship, I'd ask God to help me want to read the Bible.
So, if you are in a place like I was where there was no consistent reading and DESIRE to read the Bible, start with prayer. Ask God to help you WANT to read the Bible.
Start with the Familiar
It was the beginning of 2018 and I could feel that a desire to read was kindled in my Spirit. That sounds crazy, but it was God answering my prayer. I knew that I loved the book of Romans. It has been years since I read it, but I knew some of the most meaningful passages of Scripture were found in the book of Romans.
I ALMOST tried to look up a devotional or book that guided you through Romans, but I didn't. There was a 3 week breakdown of reading Romans with "going deeper" passages and I chose that instead. I wish I could say that I flipped to Romans everyday and read the book within the allotted time period. I didn't. It was very hit and miss, but the point was that I READ THE WHOLE BOOK. My first goal was just to read the book of Romans. It didn't matter how long it took me, I was going to read the whole book, not just the first 3 chapters. I was BREAKING the cycle of starting something, but not finishing it.
The more I read, the more other desires came back. I started jotting things down in my journal. I used to be a big journaler, but quit a long time ago. The desire to write down some thoughts came back, so I did it. Pretty soon I was filling up a couple of pages each morning with musings, prayers, and thoughts about my life and whatever chapter I was reading in Romans.
Make it Colorful / Find what works for you
After I finished the book of Romans, I went right along to 1 Corinthians. Every week I was becoming more and more consistent in my Bible reading. Reading 1 Corinthians was AWESOME. I asked God to show me things, and HE DID. I took what I was learning and started putting it into practice and God has CONTINUED to show me new stuff!
As I was reading, I was underlining scriptures and putting those notes in a journal. I wanted to do it differently though. I wanted to start marking up passages in my Bible and making notes in my Bible. I was looking for a really simple Bible Journaling method. I wish I could doodle and write pretty like the Bible Journaling I see on Insta and Pinterest, but I knew that I just needed to stick with basics -- highlighting and note taking.
I follow Jordan Lee on Facebook and Instagram (she's a great follow!) and stumbled upon her Brighten your Bible resource. I went out and bought a pack of highlighters the next day, y'all! Doing this method has been so helpful for me. It helps me make connections and really see deeply what's going on in the passages.
You may not love this method like I do, and that's okay! You can figure out what works best for you. I love color and I love notes. This works for me and it's been super beneficial in going deeper in my Bible reading.
I am very thankful that I've made my Bible journaling a regular thing. I feel like I have more purpose and I'm more aware of what's going on in my life. I feel much more calm and centered. God's Word really is living and powerful. YOU CAN read it and learn things. You do not have to be a Bible scholar to be able to understand what the Bible says. If I can do it, you can do it too!
If you find you're in a place like I was where there was no desire to read and fear of not understanding, start praying. Ask questions. Start where you are familiar and then find what works for you. You can do it! I'll help you! All you have to do is ask.