____________________ We know that salvation is a gift from God that we do not earn. But it is a gift that must be received. And it can only be received with empty hands, but there is a transaction by which what he gives actually becomes yours. And that's the point....
I used to love studying my Bible. I would wake up in the morning, grab my first cup of coffee, and settle into uninterrupted time reading my Bible. I loved it. Whether I was preparing for a full day of work at the office, a Saturday with my husband or friends, or a Sunday serving at church, my time studying my Bible was fuel that energized me for whatever faced me that day.
And then I had kids.
Nearly four years into our marriage, we welcomed our twin boys into the world. After a couple of years of painful infertility, we were elated to begin our life with them. Like many new parents, we were unaware just how radically our life would change. And change, it did.
In the midst of night-feedings and long, cry-filled days, my husband and I searched for a new normal, one that vainly attempted to include sleep, time in the Word, and the occasional shower. Ever the adaptable one, he succeeded in finding time to take in Scripture. I, however, did not.
Eventually I got into a groove, but it took far too much time and convincing to help me see that God’s Word was vitally important in my life, and I resolved to never make the same mistake again. If you, like me, struggle to see the necessity of studying your Bible for discipleship, or you just don’t know how you will fit it in, I hope that what I’ve learned along the way will help.
But first, a caveat.
What Do I Mean by “Study Your Bible”?
I can almost hear the responses now:
- “But I can’t study my Bible right now! It’s too overwhelming.”
- “My kids wake up early.”
- “My kids don’t sleep through the night.”
- “My kids don’t take naps.”
- “My job is all-consuming.”
- “I work odd hours that make consistency difficult.”
I get all of those objections, and I’m right there with you.
But studying the Bible doesn’t need to be super involved. You aren’t trying to be a biblical scholar. (Unless, of course, you are, in which case that’s an entirely different article.)
When I’m talking about studying the Bible, I am talking about regular intake of God’s Word. This can be a formalized study, where you do personal study on your own time and meet with others to discuss. This can be using a Bible reading plan. But the point for all of us is seeing the value of regular intake of Scripture. So, here we go.
Why Do We Need the Bible?
You aren’t going to make time for Bible study if you don’t see a deep need in your soul for the Word of God. We make time for what we need, or what we want. Both of those are attached to our desires. You need food to survive, so you make time to eat. You want to play tennis, so you make time for recreation. So you need a desire for the Word of God (want) or an awareness of your lack of desire (need) to motivate you to take in the scriptures.
Throughout Scripture, we see the link between God’s people knowing they need him, and how they take action to drink deeply of his goodness (Psalm 119; Jeremiah 15:16). God has chosen to reveal himself to us through Christ, as seen in his Word (John 1), so the way we know him most fully is through the Bible.
Even Jesus knew and modeled this. When he was drawn into the wilderness to be tempted, he used Scripture to speak against Satan, saying:
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Jesus shows that our physical hunger is a parable of a deeper spiritual reality that we would do well to grasp. We need food, yes, but even more we need the spiritual food that can only be found in God’s Word.
We need God to get us to this point, an awareness of our need and dependence, and a deep desire to know him, before we can even begin to move forward with studying our Bibles.
Where Do I Start?
What I often tell new parents is to start small. I once heard a wise, older woman say, “You’d be surprised what 15 minutes of Bible study will do for your soul.” I have found this to be true.
Maybe you don’t have the desire yet, but you feel your need. This is good. Sometimes desire comes after obedience, sometimes before. Either way, God is honored by faithfulness that truly seeks to do the right thing.
Try fifteen minutes a day of reading your Bible:
- Maybe it’s your lunch break at work, or right after your kids go to bed.
- Maybe it’s nap time, or a few minutes before your kids wake up.
- Maybe you steal a few minutes in the carpool line at school pick-up, or listen to the Bible while you wash dishes.
You could start with the Gospels or an epistle. You could begin in Genesis and work your way through the Old Testament. Starting small can be the key to starting at all.
But maybe you want a little more structure. What do you do then? You could join your church or community Bible study for a more structured time. Or maybe you have a friend who wants accountability like you do; you could read a book of the Bible together and discuss it week by week. Couples could spend time reading Scripture together, and then praying that passage for your children. There are countless small things you can do to increase your Bible intake and grow your desire for God’s Word.
In all of these things, the promise that God’s Word will do its intended work is sure (Habakkuk 2:3; Philippians 1:6). The circumstances of our lives may shift, but our need for his Word remains the same.
God will use his Word in your life—you need only to crack it open.