When I first became a Christian in fourth grade the leaders of my youth group, Mike and Pam Bandy, would provide us with a sheet of paper after every meeting. On the paper was a verse for us to read every day of the week. If we would read the verse of the day three times a day for a whole month Mike and Pam would present you with a hard covered Bible with your name beautifully calligraphied on the inside. Made it 6 months you got a concordance to go with the Bible. This was a prized possession as we did a number of sword drills and looking up scriptures during the meetings. Make it a year you got the entire Chronicles of Narnia to read. Two years you got a leather Bible. I collected those quiet time papers on a weekly basis and worked my way through all the awards. I even had a quiet time partner at one point. A good friend still today that we would call each other daily and read together. By the time I started college Reading the Bible daily was engrained into my nightly routine.
But that’s when it stopped for a while. My roommate would get upset when she saw me reading the Bible, so I started going to the commons room to read. I would often time get interrupted there or teased. I finally gave into peer pressure and didn’t go back to reading the Bible till after I was married and going thru a hard time at work. The YouVersion Bible app wasn’t a thing yet, we still had flip phones and it was hard to read again without a plan. I would read through books of the new testament. My mother-in-law gave me a new Bible around that time as well. I was no longer reading the Bible to collect a prize or do well in a youth group. I was searching for answers, looking for hope and soon found I could not make it through a day without it.
Mark E Moore says in his book Core 52 in chapter 50 that “Reading and applying the Bible are the most important skills for spiritual growth. Research has shown that those who engage the Bible four times a week or more have stronger marriages, healthier habits, and better self esteem.”
If you struggle with fear and anxiety as I do knowing and reading the Bible can be key in helping you fight back against fearful, anxious and depressive thoughts. For example It says in 365 verses in the bible DO NOT BE AFRAID. And most of the these verses are followed by exactly why you don’t need to be afraid.
2 Kings 6:16 Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid and anxious little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the the kingdom”
Ezekiel 3:9″ I have made your forehead like emery (diamond) harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or be dismayed before them though they are a rebellious house.”
and one of my favorites:
Jeremiah 1:8 “Do not be afriad of them, (or their hostile faces) For I am with you (always) to protect you and deliver you, says the Lord”
Jesus often told his disciples Do not be afraid when he approached them. Angels often started their sentances with Do not be afraid. It is obvious that God reconizes that fear is something we struggle with and he wants us to know with him there is no need for fear.
Reading these verses daily help you to imprint them on your heart and when anxious thoughts you have come you can tell yourself that God is in control, he has equipped and provided for you and you have nothing to fear.
The word of God has the ability to transform you and change you. The more you read and study the more it transforms your thoughts which change your actions. Moore gives a good outline of the steps you should take when preparing to study the Bible.
- Choose a quiet place and a consistent time to read. I tend to read in the late morning after my kids have gone off to school. As a child I read before bedtime. I like mornings better because it straightens out my day. I take my time. But if your life is busy and you just have 5 minutes. God can use that too.
2. Read it. Moore perfers a physical Bible but I perfer the Youversion App. I like that I can change and compare scripture in different versions. I like that it’s easy to look up a specific verse or topic. And I like the plans Youversion offeres. You can do a short plan or read the whole Bible in a year and the plans are structured already for you.
3. Have a pen or a way to highlight what sticks out to you while your reading. Have a place to take notes. Either in the Bible or a notebook. Youversion has a place for note taking in the app as well.
Ask yourself while your reading, what stood out to you and how you can apply it to how you live today.
Prayer is also a vital part of studying the Bible. Ask God to help you focus and understand his word. The Bible is one of the primary ways He speaks to us. The Holy Spirit can equip you in understanding what you are reading and help you apply it to your life.
Moore says that “God has promised blessings and success to those who dillegently seek him in his word.”
Joshua 1:8 ” Keep this book of the Law always on your lips, meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and sucessful.”
God will bless and provide wisdom for you if you spend time with Him and his word daily. I’m excited to see you grow in God’s word. Do you have a way you and God spend time daily? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Getting started reading the Bible? YouVersion and the Abide App are great places to start learning how to mediate on God’s word. You can read more about the Abide App in my blog here. Biggest Tool in my tool box…Abide App.