Are you excited about reading your Bible? Is it something you look forward to, or has it become more of a chore?
If you’re reading this blog, then it’s very likely you’re someone who is at least interested in the Bible. However, it can be easy for us to turn reading the Bible into a repetitive task when we’re not approaching it correctly.
To be clear, I don’t put the blame for our disinterest in the Word on the Bible itself – on the contrary, it has enough fascinating and exciting content to keep any reader hooked for a long time. Rather, it’s when we start thinking “I need to do this so I can be a good Christian” that we take the focus off of God and instead make it about ourselves.
Whether you’re in that camp, or simply are looking for how to take your daily Bible reading to the next level, check out these 4 creative ways to get more out of your Bible than you ever have before.
1) Take action
The number one reason most people don’t get much out of their Bible is that they do not attach to what they read any actionable decisions. Reading the Bible for informational or intellectual purposes isn’t inherently wrong, but you won’t truly understand what God is trying to say until you try applying it to your life.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
James 1:22 (NLT)
An easy way to do this is to spend about 5 minutes before you read your Bible writing out your biggest feelings and sins that are going on in your life currently. Then, search your Bible for keywords relating to what you wrote down. Without too much effort, you should be able to have a list of scriptures that tell you exactly what you need to do to change. At this point, it will just be up to you to obey them.
2) Think outside the box
Gone are the days when you needed a physical Bible to hear the Word. Today, there are countless ways to access the Scriptures, many of which may seem unconventional to those of us who grew up seeing things done a certain way.
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:11-12 (NLT)
I like this scripture because it reminds us that God is often found in the places we least expect. Check out these examples of creative ways to take in the Bible that don’t involve flipping through pages:
- Bible apps – The top Bible apps on the market come jammed packed with features that aid your Bible study. Tecarta’s top selling Bible app gives you access to a huge library of Bibles translations, supplemental study Bibles and devotionals, and extensive note taking capabilities.
- E-Readers – Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook are perfect for readers on the go. We’re in an age where this may just seem like common sense, but I’d encourage those of you who are holding out to give it a chance, especially if you’re on the go a lot.
- The Story – The Story is an abridged, chronological Bible that reads like a novel. While not necessarily for in depth study, The Story is a great way to gain a greater understanding of the Bible’s context in history and how the pieces all fit together.
- Visual Bibles – these are particularly helpful for those with reading or learning disabilities. Visual Bibles come in many forms, including film format, fully illustrated, children’s Bible, and even anime/manga.
- Audio Bible – Listening to the Word is also a great option for those with learning challenges, but it’s also a solid option for when you’re on the go. Bible Gateway has some audio available for free on their site, the aforementioned Bible apps typically have an audio option, and various sites have the entire Bible on CD or digital format (don’t forget the version narrated by James Earl Jones!)
3) Challenge yourself
No one gets better by setting themselves low bars to clear. If you’re really serious about taking your Bible study up a notch, try giving yourself a challenge. One that you know will push you outside your comfort zone.
7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
1 Timothy 4:7-8
In general, set for yourself a goal that you know will not be easy for you. It may be reading every morning for 30 minutes when right now you’re only reading sporadically. It could also be deciding to read an entire book of the Bible straight. Whatever it is, don’t settle for anything that doesn’t push you to grow!
Here are some additional resources that you can check out if you’re interested in a more structured approach:
4) Find a friend
I find that I need friends to keep me motivated to do just about anything in life that requires sustained effort and creativity. Going to the gym is the classic example – easy to start doing it, but sooner or later I’ll hit a wall and need some guidance or encouragement.
Reading the Bible is similar. Whether you’re new to it or consider yourself a veteran, at some point you’ll need help from a friend in order for your Bible study to go to the next level.
Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others.
Proverbs 15:22 (NCV)
Try picking two friends that you know will get excited about holding you accountable to whatever goals you’re setting for yourself. You may be trying to read the Bible every day and need help with the consistency, or may need help seeing what areas of your heart need to be addressed most. Either way, a friend or two can help you grow instead of stay stagnant.