I sometimes ask people, “What things are you supposed to do as a Christian?” And “read the Bible” is always on the short list. So, how’s that working out for you? Do you feel a tad guilty because you don’t read the Bible more regularly? Perhaps your resolve to read your Bible every day lasts until, oh, Thursday. What if you could actually look forward to reading the Bible in ways that support your spiritual formation?
Contemporary consumer Christianity has made countless Bible reading helps available. We’ll list a few of them at the end of this article. Podcasts, devotional books and email series, apps, and more. We at Dr. Carol Ministries offer some Bible study devotional series via email. And many of these products actually do help!
But simply knowing the facts about what’s in the Bible doesn’t change you. There are atheists who have devoted their entire academic careers to studying the Bible in its original languages and still don’t have faith. The devil knows the Bible better than you do. Head knowledge of the Bible is important, but not most important.
Dr. Christopher Yuan was changed through reading a discarded Gideon Bible he picked out of a trash can while in prison. Craig Groeschel’s life was transformed after being handed a small Bible while walking across his college campus. Christians in places such as China or Afghanistan have sacrificed their lives to be able to read Scripture. There is awesome power and priceless value in God’s word. What makes the difference?
How can you actually look forward to reading the Bible in ways that support your spiritual transformation, not to mention keep you interested?
Food, not Facts
One vital difference between those who are changed through reading the Bible and those who are not is going to the Bible for food, not facts. Ministry leaders, preachers, and Bible teachers must be especially on guard here. Dumping more facts into your left brain is woefully slow and ineffective at leading to transformation.
Approach the Bible as a starving man would approach food–for nourishment. Pictures of delicious meals on Instagram or seeing a banquet table does nothing for your empty stomach. You must actually eat the food–take it into your being. Social memes of Scripture verses may lift your spirits a bit, but taking God’s word into your soul is what makes the difference.
How do you do that? Perhaps the most important way is to come to Scripture with an open heart. You’re not strong enough, smart enough, or “cool” enough to make it on your own. You need something from outside yourself, perspective from Someone who knows more than you do and knows you better than you know yourself.
Asking skeptical questions is fine. God invites our questions (Isaiah 1:18). But just as you open your body to physical food every day, you need to open your soul to the spiritual nourishment that God has put in His Word.
One way I experienced this was prior to my wedding. I had accumulated some deep distortions and wounds in my soul around intimacy, sexuality, and marriage. I’d already done a lot of heart work, but I needed more. When God brought my loving husband into my life I spent months marinating in the Song of Solomon, and thereafter I was able to experience a beautiful wedding night and loving intimate marriage. I was taking in Scripture as food.
Fuel for Prayer
I often ask someone I’m working with, “What do your prayers sound like these days?” They’ll often respond with either a list of things they’re asking God for and people they want Him to bless or perhaps a description that sounds like some King James English tea party.
Really? You’ve just spent the last 30 minutes telling me how terrified, depressed, or upset you are. Your face is streaked with tears. Your fists are clenched in anger. And your prayer is, “Thank you, Lord, for this day. Please bless my friends and family.” Where’s the authenticity? Where is your heart?
God is bigger and greater than any of us and approaching Him with reverence is appropriate. And we’re told to “make your requests known to God” (Philippians 4:6). But who told you to leave your feelings at the door when you enter God’s presence?
God’s very best friends throughout Scripture brought their angst to Him. They expressed their frustration, grief, even anger directly to Him. Perhaps the best example of this is the Psalms. David held none of his emotions back when talking to God.
Use Scripture as a starting place for connecting with God. Enter the story. Imagine being present in one of the stories of the gospels. Or read the Psalms until you find one that expresses the emotion in your heart. Bring your right brain online. Let your heart identify with what’s being expressed in Scripture.
And then talk to God from that place. Use the Biblical example as a template to begin sharing your heart with Him. Open the doors to the deeper places in your soul and let Him see you. (Of course He sees you anyway. But you are experiencing Him seeing you.)
And then stay there a little longer. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). When you are quiet you become able to hear His voice.
Bible Study Helps
There are countless options to help you bring the Bible into your daily life, understand it better, and allow it to speak to what you need most. Here are a few options.
- The YouVersion Bible app. Multiple translations and countless Bible reading plans are available. Audio versions are available as well. There’s perhaps no better resource! And it’s all free.
- First15. More than a million readers each month use this resource to connect with God in a fresh way each day. It’s engaging and high quality.
- First 5 app. From Proverbs 31, this provides a way to engage with Bible study guides written by women and begin your day with God.
- Pray Every Day podcast. Five minutes of Scripture and prayer from Mary DeMuth, hearing the words that lead to life.
Our Email Devotional Series
These 30-40 day email devotional series from Dr. Carol Ministries provide deeper help for specific areas where you need it.
- Powerful Breakthrough Prayers. Not all prayers are the same. Learn the strategies and tactics that make prayer actually work.
- Freedom from Fear and Anxiety. Bite-sized messages from God’s word to help you find emotional wholeness and peace.
- Toward Sexual Wholeness. Have you been caught in pornography or other harmful sexual behaviors? Begin developing a lifestyle of growing in sexual wholeness.
- Positive Spiritual Growth. Ways to step up your cooperation with God in deepening your transformation journey.
- The Christian’s Journey Through Grief. Comfort, hope, and support for those walking through grief after the loss of a loved one.
Start reading the Bible in a way that supports your spiritual transformation.
Your Turn: What has reading the Bible looked like for you? Have you experienced God’s word actually changing you? How so? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Going to Scripture for spiritual nourishment makes it possible to actually look forward to reading the Bible. Here are some ways to do that. Tweet that.
Do you want to live FULLY ALIVE?
There are simple steps you can take EVERY DAY that will propel you forward in experiencing the kind of life you want, and that God wants for you physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.
Get your FREE Resource Guide now: 7 Keys to Living Fully Alive – from the Inside Out.