Today’s post is a guest post from my friend, Donna Jones. Donna is a favorite Hearts at Home conference speaker and author of three books including Taming Your Family Zoo, Raising Kids with Good Manners and her latest, SEEK: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God.
Donna’s passionate about helping women find and follow God in their real everyday lives. At home you’ll find her enjoying a good cup of coffee and struggling to keep her garage clean enough to park in. Connect with Donna at www.donnajones.org.
Have you ever decided to read the Bible but quit because it didn’t make sense or seem applicable to your life? Have you ever wanted to ask your “God questions” but hesitated because you didn’t want to appear ignorant? Have your kids ever stumped you with a question about God?
Welcome to the club.
Years ago I was asked to lead a Bible study for women new to the Bible or who wanted to revisit the basics. Frankly, I wondered if anyone would show up.
By the end of the first year, 75 women joined the study. Year two brought 150 women; year three 300 women came to ask their questions, and more important—get answers—about faith.
Each week I looked into the faces of hundreds of women just like me—wives, moms, sisters and daughters—who just wanted to learn about God in a judgment free, easy to understand setting. Essentially, they were asking “where do I start?” For many women, this is the tricky part.
Maybe you’ve wondered where to start, too.
If so, here are five easy steps to read God’s Word, the Bible, and have it make sense:
1. Pick a book of the Bible and work your way through it.
If you are anything like me, if you don’t have a Bible reading plan, you’ll waste precious minutes thumbing through the Bible, never quite landing. Instead, pick one book of the Bible and read a little each day, one chapter, perhaps. If you are new to the Bible, start with the book of John, which is the story of Jesus and was written to help us believe. Then move on to the other gospels – Matthew, Mark or Luke. Next read Philippians, Ephesians and Colossians ,which provide practical encouragement for living the Christian life. Work your way through one book at a time, and you’ll never find yourself fumbling for where to read again.
2. Commit to reading a few minutes each day.
Getting God’s Word into your life doesn’t have to take long. Start small—five or ten minutes is better than none. Sometimes less is more, especially when reading less means you’ll actually remember more.
3. Pray this before you begin….
What’s the “this”, I’m referring to? It’s a simple prayer I pray before I read the Bible each day, and it’s revolutionized my time with God: “Lord, if you were here with me right now (and You are, because You are everywhere), what would You say to me today?” When I pray this prayer, I open my heart to allow God’s word to be personal to me; to my life, my circumstances, my relationships, my questions, my concerns, my heartaches, my needs.
4. Read until a verse resonates with you, then stop.
Reading the Bible is more than an intellectual exercise to learn about God. The Bible is God’s personal love letter to you, meant to change your life. When you read the Bible, allow God’s word to penetrate your thoughts and perspectives. How? When a verse resonates with you—when a verse relates to something you are going through, something you’ve been grappling with or something you need—God is speaking to you. Pause. Let it sink in. To help remember and think about what God is saying to you, write the verse down, word for word. This practice has cemented God’s word into my thoughts in countless ways. Sometimes I keep the verse with me throughout the day. Sometimes I ask God to help me remember it, when I need it. Sometimes I memorize it. Be intentional about getting God’s word into your thoughts and you’ll soon see your relationship with God thrive!
5. Ask Questions
Because reading the Bible is about growing in my love relationship with God, I want to understand fully what God wants to say to me each day. To help me, I take the passage of scripture I’ve read and ask these simple questions:
1. God, what do You want me to know about You? About Myself? About my Circumstances?
2. God, what do You want me to feel?
3. God, what do You want me to do?
Not every Bible verse will have something for you to know, feel and do, but many will. The Bible is filled with examples to learn from, promises to claim and commands to follow. These were written to give you the hope and the help you need to follow God in your real, everyday life.
God loves you and wants an intimate, personal friendship with you. Now that you know how to start growing in your relationship with God, open a Bible and dive in!
What about you? What strategies have you found to be helpful in reading the Bible? Where are you in your journey of faith?
I’m giving away a copy of Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God
today! Just share a comment by noon CST on June 6, and you’ll be entered into the drawing for the book. You can enjoy it yourself of share it with a friend who is wanting to draw closer to God. You can leave a comment by clicking here.