Reading the Bible: Back to the Basics
When my husband and I first got married, I was in a seminary program. I spent hours in the library or a local coffee shop studying the Bible. Studying God’s Word was my greatest passion, the thing that made me excited to get out of bed in the morning.
Now I get out of bed in the morning to 2 hungry children, laundry that needs to be washed, a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded, and countless other tasks on my to-do list. It has been 5 years since that seminary program. I long for uninterrupted time to read and study, but my life looks a little different now. Reading my Bible for hours is not plausible, even if my kids were in school full time—and during COVID season, none of our kids are in school.
Thankfully, God still meets me in my time with Him, however short.
Here are a few tips for moms who are looking to engage with God daily, both for those reading the Bible for the first time or and for others who are looking to go a little deeper in their study:
1. Start Small.
Start by adding the YouVersion app to your phone. The Verse of the Day is a great place to get you started. You can set a notification to pop up at a certain time each day—maybe a time you know you’re going to need a little encouragement. Each verse has beautiful images. You can print them to put up on your bathroom mirror or you can set them as the lock screen on your phone—I’ve found both helpful to lift my spirits throughout the day.
2. Try a Plan.
When you’re ready for more, search for a plan by theme—anger, anxiety, depression. Whatever you’re going through, there’s a plan to encourage you through it!
If you’re wanting a longer plan, take a look at the Daily New Testament Reading Plan. This plan walks you through the New Testament in a year, with daily devotionals to explain what you’re reading and a place to take notes, for yourself or to share with others. You can do YouVersion plans with a spouse or friends, which I have found creates accountability to keep reading and also provides more depth in those relationships—It’s a Win-Win!
3. Add 2 FREE Tools to Your Toolbox.
Blue Letter Bible.
If you’re looking to go a little deeper, or are curious about specific words that are used while you’re reading, I would highly suggest looking at Blue Letter Bible online. This is a great resource that allows you to look up a verse, and click on the words to see what the original Greek or Hebrew words meant. While this isn’t practical for every time you sit down to read, it can be especially helpful when you’re trying to better understand a difficult passage and want to find where a word is used elsewhere in the Bible—oftentimes seeing the word in different contexts/passages helps us to clarify what it means.
Open Bible Geocoding.
This is going to come off as nerdy, but my other favorite tool is the map feature available through Open Bible. When you’re reading a passage and there are names of lots of cities or countries, it can feel really overwhelming. Open Bible breaks them down by Book and Chapter. If you’re reading in Luke 19 and see Jericho, Jerusalem, Bethpage, and Bethany, you can go to Open Bible, click on Luke, then Luke 19 Preview, and there you go—a map of those cities!
While knowing where cities are on a map may not be interesting to everyone, I have found that this helps me to better understand what I’m reading and makes the Bible really come alive for me—the stories from the Bible were real, historical events that happened in real places!
Reading the Bible will look different for each one of us. If you’ve wanted to read the Bible more or learn how to study it, I want to encourage you: God loves you and wants to connect with you through His Word and He will honor the time that you spend with Him, however short. Start small with reading the Verse of the Day and, over time, you will start wanting more.
Is reading the Bible a daily practice for you or is it a habit you are hoping to develop? If you’re currently reading consistently, what are some tools/tips that you would like to share with other moms looking to read more?