You may focus a great deal on how you study the Bible, hopefully learning some great tips from this site. But one of the most important moments in your routine actually happens before you even get started reading. If you jump into Scripture, you’ll certainly get something good out of it. But if you spend a few minutes getting ready, your return will be even greater.
Here are 4 steps for a better start with your study of God’s Word:
Get Some Margin
Plunging right into the reading part of study often means dragging along the cares of your life with you. Your stress, your frustrations, your fears all hitch a ride. And they often can be a huge distraction, as your brain isn’t really ready to crunch through the text.
If possible, set aside some decompression time between your crazy-busy life and the moment you sit down to read. Even just five minutes of silence or prayer (see below) could be the difference between focusing on Daniel in the lions’ den or that thing your boss did today that made you want to scream.
One easy way to create margin or a buffer is simply to hit your knees. Spend some time thanking God for His Word and asking Him to make it clear to you. You never know when He might completely change up your daily reading so that you read exactly what you needed. But before that, you’ve got to ask Him.
Here’s a quick formula you could try:
- Praise Him for one aspect of who He is: amazing, powerful, all-knowing, loving, kind, giving, etc.
- Thank Him for His blessings: your health, your life, salvation, etc.
- Ask Him to calm your brain and lead you in your reading.
You knew this was coming, but the truth is that if you want to dive into Scripture, you’ve got to disconnect from your phone, tablet, TV, or whatever else distracts you. The more stuff sitting right there that tempts you to check just “one more thing,” the less you’ll get out of your reading. True, some people like to study on their tablets and phones (if that’s you, you may want to look into apps or settings that mute distractions). But for others, there’s no way that could happen without Facebook getting in the way.
Make turning off and putting away these devices part of your “getting margin” time. It’s like you’re putting away the cares of the world.
Prep the Area
Before you study, make sure that you’ve got everything you need. Stopping to grab your pen from the other room or your notebook from your bag will only throw you off your groove. But if you’ve got what you need at hand, you’ll have fewer reasons to lose your concentration.
Some Christians like to put a sticky note in their Bible that includes a list of everything they’ll need to get going. That way, they can go through the list as part of the routine. Others prefer to keep all their study materials in a single place, and they make sure they never move them from that spot. Whatever method works for you, just make sure that you have what you need going in.
Whatever methods you choose, just be sure that you set apart your Bible study time in some way. That helps you see it as something more than just another thing on your list.