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For years, I sat with my Bible in my lap and flipped the pages back and forth. I was certain that this was how I would fall in love with the Word of God. I faked confidence that my heart would be changed while I flipped.
Really though, I was flipping because I didn’t know where else to start.
I first began in Genesis, and then got bored because I’d already heard the stories in the beginning of the Bible.
Then, I went to John, because I’d been told that John is a great place to start if you want to understand the gospel in a deeper way.
Next, the Psalms, because the Psalms are emotional and full of meaning.
I had a fierce hunger, but every time I sat down, flipped through the pages, and started reading, the hunger went away. I felt overwhelmed. Then, I felt frustrated. Then, I felt ashamed.
Why wasn’t reading the Bible easy? I love Jesus. I believe the gospel. I want to be constantly growing and grasping more truth.
But the flipping caused a fizzling of my desire to know God’s Word.
My Bible sat unread for months and months. I felt guilty because I should have been reading and growing. I felt a bit hypocritical because, well, good Christians don’t let the Bible sit collecting dust for months and months.
It wasn’t until years later that I would understand that reading the Bible is not always about feeling comfortable and knowing where to start. Sure, there are times when God opens our hearts and our minds to receive radical truth while we read the Bible. But some of the time, reading the Word is about dipping our toes in the edge of the pool to ready ourselves to jump all in.
While I was flipping through the thin pages of The Word – praying flat prayers that my Bible would fall open to the right passage – I was missing the point. I wanted to dive all in without getting my toes wet. I wanted full understanding and deep meaning and profound lessons.
But sometimes when you desperately want profound lessons, you have to first start with small, meaningful truths. You have to dip your toes and get a firm understanding. Only then are you able to dive in deep.
For me, this looked like the end of reading the Bible because I had to do so for my conscience, and the start of reading the Bible because I had to do so for my soul.
In small doses, I determined to get into the Word of God daily.
I opened the Scriptures and learned about Nehemiah and his strong dependence on God.
I grabbed fistfuls of the diligence of Ester and her obedience to God’s call on her life.
I saturated my mind with the truths sewn throughout Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians.
I reminded myself of my need for God while reading about the wandering Israelites and their rebellion.
I poured the beauty of the Sermon of the Mount on my wounded soul.
And in the midst of it all – as I was dipping my toes into Scripture – I fell in love with the Bible.
Maybe this sounds great to you. I pray that you hunger and thirst after God’s Word. But maybe you open the Bible and you flip back and forth, and then you feel ashamed for flipping, so you hide that Bible on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.
Here is my heart for you – my plea for you as you grab your Bible the next time. Today even?
1. Start with a short book of the Bible.
Some of my favorite books of the Bible are short. By no means does a short book have to be a quick read, but sometimes when you’re dipping your toes in, quick is encouraging.
There is deep truth woven throughout all of the Scriptures – even the short, digestible books.
Open to Ester. Read Ruth or Nehemiah or one of the shorter New Testament letters.
As you read, don’t worry about how much you’re reading. Rather, focus on the meaningful truths woven through all of God’s Word.
2. Don’t compare to others.
It is all too easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing. When that happens, we miss out on what God is doing in us. Someone else’s journey is just that – someone else’s. It doesn’t have to be yours.
Give yourself grace to figure out what Bible reading looks like for you, and try your hardest to quit the comparison game.
3. Seek the gospel in each passage.
The most profound and beautiful thing that can happen during Bible reading is gaining a deeper understanding of the gospel. Whether it is one word, one phrase, or one sentence – a deeper understanding of God’s grace and love is the only worthy goal.
Walk away from every Bible reading knowing that you grabbed ahold of more truth and more gospel. This is the reason for reading, because through deeper understanding of the gospel, you will be changed.
4. Learn to study God’s Word.
Much of my Bible-flipping was because I didn’t know how to study God’s Word. But the reality is that there are numerous, helpful methods for studying the Bible in deep and meaningful ways.
Be encouraged that you can learn to study the Bible for yourself! And when you’re able to do that – guide yourself through purposeful study – you will be equipped for the rest of your life.
Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days is an excellent resource for getting started. This online course guides you through 7 different methods of studying God’s Word, taught via video with a comprehensive workbook and included printable pages for each method. You will never feel lost. Rather, you’ll leave the course inspired to dig into passages of Scripture and learn about God’s Truth on your own – every single day.
As I’ve grown in my love for the Bible, it’s become a passion to help others do the same. There is nothing like making connections between two unique Bible stories, understanding the context of a verse, or knowing the audience of a certain book in Scripture. It changes everything about Bible Study.
It makes reading the Bible exciting, life-changing, and truly transformational.
Do you want to dip your toes into the sweet truths of Scripture in preparation to dive all in? Well, my friend, I invite you to join Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days – an online course that will equip you with tools and understanding to dig in as you read the Bible.
If you don’t know where to start, start here. Dip your toes into great truth, and then when you’re ready, dive all in. The Lord and His promises are waiting for you.