The Word of God is full of history, wisdom, poetry, warnings, and truth. When approached with a heart open to the Holy Spirit’s whispers and a mind focused on understanding, the Bible can be one of a Christian’s greatest resources and treasured objects. But it also takes time. It can be confusing. It can feel like a chore and an obligation sometimes, particularly in seasons of spiritual difficulty or when life gets busy.
For some people, they never had an opportunity to build in the habit to have daily quiet time to invest in studying the Bible, and struggle to start. There are many ways the world can serve as a distraction as well.
God wants us to be in His Word, spending time with Him, and getting to know Him through that time and study; one of the Psalms reads, “More to be desired are [God’s precepts in the Word] are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). Studying the Bible should be a sweet experience, so finding ways to make it a better experience can help someone enjoy their time in the Bible more.
Here are 10 ways to better enjoy reading the Bible.
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1. Create a Space for Reading Your Bible
Some people find it easier to read under certain conditions. Some of them prefer to be in dark corners with overhead light, or others in a window with full natural light. Creating a personalized space with your favorite chair and good light that you want to spend time in can make reading the Bible a treat.
There are also scientific studies that suggest studying in the same place and environment can help with retention. Making a space dedicated to spending time alone with God and His Word is also inviting the Lord into your home in a real way.
2. Make It a Challenge
For the person who thrives in competition – or just likes to go the extra mile – finding ways to make reading the Bible a challenge can make it more engaging. Maybe see how many verses in a chapter you can memorize. Try reading a book in a month. Challenge yourself to read one of the dense, or more challenging texts like Isaiah or Ezekiel.
There are also free Bible reading challenges you can find online that can push your boundaries, get you to stretch yourself, and maybe even get a few friends to participate so you can have discussion.
3. Follow a Bible Reading Plan Themed around a Concern or Topic of Interest
When people go through phases of life, sometimes they need to focus on passages of the Bible that can speak to whatever they are experiencing.
Struggling with doubt? Find passages and stories that focus on confidence in God’s plan. Want to learn more about Israel’s time in exile? Spend your time in Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Need a little more joy in your life? Seek out passages that speak about joy.
It can be difficult to know where to find relevant passages. Fortunately, there are lots of free resources online that can act as a guide themed around many topics and experiences. Here are links to a few common themes:
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4. Invest in a Bible Commentary or Two
It can be difficult to enjoy reading any book if you do not understand the text; this statement is sometimes even more true for reading the Bible. A Bible commentary can be a great investment for the Bible reader who wants to know more about the context, the original language, or just finds certain passages confusing and would like a simple explanation.
There are many different commentaries, so it can be fun to take the time to find the right one for a household. Some commentaries focus on different things, so getting more than one can make the Bible come even more alive.
5. Have Background Music Playing
Whether white noise helps a person focus, or they find music spiritually engaging, playing music can enhance time in the Word. Some people may turn to light, ambient music with no words, while others may want an uplifting worship tune. Some people cannot focus in silence, so music helps their brain engage and focus on the task at hand. It can also make quiet time a more sensory experience.
6. Do It with a Friend or Family Member
Being able to share thoughts, feelings, and ideas with another person may make reading the Bible a more fun experience. Have a coffee date once a week with a friend to exchange notes and observations. Make it a family experience, with everyone in the family reading the same verses or passages and then discuss it over dinner.
The Bible can act as a wonderful tool for bonding between people, and the company can provide an avenue for discovering more about God’s Word. The Holy Spirit illuminates different things to different people, so the opportunity to share how the Lord is working in each individual’s life through their study can be fulfilling.
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7. Sip Your Favorite Beverage While You Read
Many people enjoy the process of making a cup of tea, coffee, or another tasty drink. It helps them unwind or focus, or engage with a situation in a positive way. Making your favorite beverage a part of your Bible study routine adds an extra level of personal fulfillment to the event and creates positive associations with the study.
8. Memorize Your Favorite Verses
Memorization can be difficult, but rewarding. Lots of people want to have better recall for Bible verses, so using quiet study time as an opportunity to focus on learning certain passages by heart can be an effective way to start the memorization process. Whether you learn better by repeating aloud, reading the same thing several times, or writing something down, engaging with the Bible in a tactile way with the intent to embed it in your heart and mind is always a worthwhile pursuit.
9. Journal Your Study Time
Writing down your ideas after reading something can be an important way of processing your feelings. It also serves as a record of progress, personal growth, and seasons of life that can be valuable to look back on in the future.
The best part is there is no right way to journal and take notes. It can be bullet points, stream of consciousness, or any other style. As long as it is true to the individual, keeps them focused on God and His Word, and is fulfilling for the person, then it will be helpful.
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10. Pray about It
One of the amazing truths about the Bible is that each Christian has direct access to the author! If a verse is convicting or a passage is confusing, take time to pray about it. Go to the Lord before your Bible study and ask for the Spirit to guide your understanding and illuminate God’s truth. The Holy Spirit keeps the Bible alive and engaging for people no matter how long they have been Christians or how many times they have read a passage. Prayer gives the believer a direct line to learn more about it directly from God.
Everyone is different and has their own approach to making an activity engaging and enjoyable. Not every tip is going to work for every person, but each one is worth giving a try. Experimenting with when you read the Bible can have an impact as well. The Bible is a sweet and wonderful resource for Christians, so making sure that reading it is not a chore is important to spiritual growth. Find more ways to make Bible study a pleasure, and not an obligation.
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Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer and editor. She maintains a faith and lifestyle blog graceandgrowing.com, where she muses about the Lord, life, culture, and ministry.