It has been over a year since I wrote my last blog post (forgive me!!!) but I am working on getting back into it. I recently recorded a podcast episode on this same topic (you can listen here if you prefer) and the feedback was encouraging. I know that so many of you desire to know the word of God, but simply don’t know where to start or you feel as if time gets away from you. I want to help by sharing some practical tips and perspective shifts for your time in God’s word.
Listen to The Living Easy Podcast:
Sex, Relationships and Deep Faith – always taught with a biblical and Gospel-centered perspective.
Why I Read the Bible:
Let’s begin with the ultimate thing: the point of studying the Bible is to know God and to have the ability to discern the truth from a lie. The heart and foundation should always be to know Him in a deeper way. The most common lies that we believe are that reading the Bible, going to church and building upon our relationship with God as a whole is about us. It is about Him, friends. Not what we can gain from it, but how we can grow in our affection for the God who created us. Yes, fruit will absolutely come, and as Christians we are known by that fruit (Matt. 7:16). But that fruit does not come by works, it comes when we abide in Him. (John 15:4).
I specifically remember a time before I became a Christian when I was seeking God out – slowly but surely. When I went to church and sat down, excited to learn and grow, I felt legitimately annoyed that the pastor was talking about God in the Old Testament and focusing on His character, rather than preaching a sermon about something I could relate to in my life. I wanted to talk about relationships or friendships or even sin. I didn’t want to hear about – what I considered to be – irrelevant information that didn’t make an impact on me.
As I was saved and grew in my relationship with Jesus, conviction set in. I don’t know why that moment resonated with me, but it has been a very important experience that I look back on often to remind myself that it isn’t about ME. None of it. Not attending church, not reading scripture, not listening to sermons – it is about knowing the character and goodness of God so that I can give an account for what I believe, deepen my relationship and share the good news of the Gospel with the people I come in contact with. I wasn’t created so that church could satisfy me. It isn’t about us. It just isn’t. And I quickly learned that there is always going to be something about a church that you may not love, and my answer to that is to get involved and serve in that area, so that you can make it better!
How to Read the Bible:
There are 3 ways that I typically like to read the Bible. This isn’t black-and-white and can change often. I want to remind you that the Bible study process doesn’t need to be black-and-white for you, either! Do what works for you. As long as you are reading and studying your Bible, whether it’s at 4am or 4pm or while preparing dinner, you are doing more than nothing – and that is something. 🙂
3 Ways to Read the Bible:
1. Read one book and repeat it over and over.
With this approach, you will begin by choosing one book of the Bible. It is common for us to say that we know what is in that book once we’ve read it once, but to truly learn it is to spend deep study time in it. Some of my favorite books in the New Testament are James, Philippians, Matthew and 1 John.
When I take this approach, I do it once, then read it again, meditate on it and delight in it. By the 4th time, you’ll begin to really know it. I like to let the Bible read me – not that I want to read myself into the Bible – it’s about God. But I do want it to change me and lead me. I want the Holy Spirit to speak to me each time I read it and learn it. During this time, I also find a few verses to memorize from the book. In The Wife Project course, I teach for 8.5 hours on deepening your faith and relationship more than ever before and also share my tips on easy verse memorization.
2. Another way that I like to study is to read one chapter of the New Testament, one chapter of the Old Testament, one Psalm and one Proverb per day. This is probably the most common way that I read. I do believe it is important to ensure that we have the full context of what we are reading, so if I read one chapter of a book, I am sure to finish the book the entire way through for sake of context and my own understanding. I never want to take anyone else’s word for what they’ve read in scripture. I want to know for myself. And as a community, I want you to know for yourselves!
The Importance of Truly Knowing God’s Word:
James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
2 Tim. 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
The law within us, the one that is written on our hearts, is the Word of God—also defined as Jesus Christ. By Him, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us from salvation, we interpret God’s law. Through our Christ-centered lives, the Great Commission spread the gospel truth (Matt. 28:16-20) illuminates the world. Through His Word, He goes before all things, and holds all things together.
Jesse and I match up every decision with God’s word. We pair up every teaching, from any pastor, and match it to His word. I desire for the Living Easy community to be Bereans – not to just believe something for the sake of believing or because we trust the pastor, but to know the word well enough – or to at least reference it – in order to know the truth for ourselves.
One of the sweetest things Jesse ever told me is that the Bible is a love letter written from God to us, to me, specifically. It is a letter of His goodness and grace but it’s ALSO a letter of caution – a call to fear the Lord. He warns us of Hell and of destruction because He loves us enough to do so.
Here’s an honest question for you: If I were to see a rattlesnake next to your foot and I didn’t tell you, would that be loving of me? Or would it be more loving of me to warn you and to give you the opportunity to turn away from that snake and go in the other direction? It’s the same with the truth of the Gospel. We love others enough to warn them of the destruction that sin brings. If we claim to know Jesus, but do not love His word, it is likely that our love for Jesus has gone amiss (or is headed in that direction.) Do you have a biblical fear of God? I believe if we TRULY understood the absolute power and majesty that emanates from the God of the universe, we would fear Him and love Him far more.
The Bible is literally a guideline for our lives! And yet we put it at the bottom of our book pile, or don’t even know where it is, and claim to know Him with ‘all of our heart, soul and mind.’
Your calling, your ministry, your marriage, your motherhood, fatherhood, your career, your purpose, your evangelizing – begins with Him and His WORD.
Friends, do not neglect His letter to you. It begins and ends with Him.
3. Read Chronologically
Here are 3 reasons that I like to read chronologically and why I think it is a wonderful way to read the Bible!
1. The Bible is made up of 66 different books that are grouped mainly by genre. Some books are narrative, others poetry, others personal letters, others prophecy, etc. So just reading the it from cover to cover will not be the same as reading the Bible chronologically, or in the order the events actually happened or were written. Purchasing and reading through a Bible that is specifically chronological, or in other words, a Bible where the books have been arranged in the order that the events took place will help you immensely in your journey of understanding the Word.
2. We have a clearer and broader picture of the main character of the story, God Himself. God’s character is revealed progressively throughout the story of the Bible. Just as we do not fully know someone upon meeting them for the first time, we also do not fully understand the Lord when we only read bits and pieces of His story. Studying or reading the Bible chronologically will help bring clarity to His character, and provide a more full comprehension of who God is.
3. 3. We avoid major gaps in our understanding of God’s plan for mankind. It does seem easier to pick and choose certain well-known stories or easy-to-understand passages to read while studying the Word, but taking time to work through the Bible in the order the events actually happened is wise and helpful in that it connects all those stories. Grasping a narrative or one specific biblical principle is good, but understanding how all the accounts of the Word are tied to one another and what they mean as one cohesive record is even better, as it paints the picture of what God’s plan and purpose for mankind really is.
My Honest Thoughts on Biblical Quiet Time and Devotionals:
I want to share my thoughts on devotionals, podcasts, and scriptural Instagram posts. In my personal opinion, devotionals are often a “quick fix” along with podcasts and IG posts that we see from Christian teachers or speakers (like myself). While these things are great (and not wrong or bad, by any means) they are often used as a replacement for your Bible study. I never, ever want The Living Easy Podcast to be a replacement for your own personal Bible study! Everything that we read outside of the Bible should be supplemental to our actual Bible study. The reason is that you are learning small portions of a larger text and taking other people’s word for what they have read, rather than having that understanding because you have read it yourself.
Please hear me when I say that you should not rely upon someone else’s understanding of Jesus and His word to feed you. YOU have the beautiful freedom to build your own relationship with Jesus! Why do we want to hear what God taught her or him today, rather than hearing what God specifically has for us?
But Lindsey, I’m so busy! And I’m a mom!
As a busy mom, you must be willing to embrace the chaos of motherhood and know that the chaos will continue around you as you study the Word. When I open my Bible and journal, I see my boys opening their own devotionals. They watch what we do more than they listen to what we say. You don’t need a pretty coffee mug and cozy blanket or perfect set-up to read the word. This belief or perspective will only steal from your growth. You are called to live faithfully in the midst of your life.
For this reason, the glorification of the idea of quiet time is something I don’t fully agree with. Five minutes a day with “quiet” may not produce as much growth as 45 min blocks twice a day as you listen to the Bible in the car (put a headphone in!) Our time in the Bible should be added into our schedules in a realistic way. I often read my Bible to the boys while they’re eating breakfast before school or I listen in my car so that I’m still hearing the Word while being present with the boys (and they hear the word, too.)
Friends, we need a transcendent view of God and scripture to get through the tough seasons of life – including mothering young children.
Remember this: you will grow in love for the God of the scriptures the more you do it – just like fitness or eating healthy. We need the refreshing truth of the Gospel to refill us again and again and again.
How to Study the Bible and What Questions to Ask:
I love John Piper’s breakdown of this, so I want to share it with all of you because it has been really impactful for me in the way that I journal and dig deeper into scripture.
1. Read for the author’s meaning, not your own
2. Ask questions to unlock the riches of the text
-Ask about words
-Ask about phrases
-Ask about relationships between propositions
-Ask about context
-Study connections with other parts in the Bible
-Ask about application
-Ask about affections
3. At every page, pray and ask for God’s help
This all sounds great, but I just can’t get un-stuck:
For what it’s worth, I have been there. I have had to dust off the cover of my own Bible more times than I am proud of. You aren’t alone in this and I am not coming at you from a pedestal. We are fully in this together. Our flesh does not want to read scripture because it convinces us that there are far better things.
But what do we replace that time with? Scrolling TikTok and Instagram? Food? Alcohol? Even exercise can become idolatrous when placed above God. We have to shift our view and our priorities. What really makes you a better mom? What really makes you a better wife? What really makes you a better friend, Christian, evangelist? God’s word is the only thing that truly impacts and changes the heart. Let us begin there.
If you feel stuck, I want to call you up to evaluate your priorities. I think all that we really need to do is look at the amount of screen time we used on our phones yesterday to see how much time we really do have on our hands. Block out your time.
Schedule it into your life and be realistic with that schedule. You make time for what is important to you.
Bibles I Read:
I love the ESV Study Bible and it is one that I have used since I was saved. In the ESV translation, each word and phrase in the ESV has been carefully weighed against the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, to ensure the fullest accuracy and clarity and to avoid under-translating or overlooking any nuance of the original text. It is a word-for-word translation and more closely related to the original version of the King James Bible. It includes commentary that really helps me to further understand what I’m reading.
I also read the King James Version, New King James Version and New Living Translation when studying to have a greater understanding of the verse and the context.
If you are a new believer, a New Living Translation Study Bible is a great way to go because it reads like a book. This is the NLT illustrated version, for those of you who are visual learners, and a Life Application Bible which helps you to gain insight as to how the Bible and calling pertains to your holiness and pursuit of God.
Next is the She Reads Truth Study Bible. I know I shared my thoughts on devotionals, so knowing that, I will say that alongside actual and intentional reading of scripture, devotionals and journaling can be beneficial! The She Reads Truth Bible is WONDERFUL for this and such a great resource (this is not sponsored, I really love this Bible), especially if you’re wanting a deeper knowledge of scripture AND a more practical, helpful way of reading and understanding the Bible.
Each book in this Bible has its own custom reading plan, broken down into easy-to-read sections, and also includes over 200 devotionals. They included 66 key verses (one key verse for every book of the Bible) Introductions to the books of the Bible also have colored maps, charts and timelines and wide margins for note-taking which I’m a big fan of! I love seeing what I’ve written and then having the opportunity to come back to that. (P.S. These are not sponsored in any way. These are my honest recommendations.)
I pray that you grow to love reading your Bible and that you will get to know Jesus in a way you never have before. I love you guys and hope that this was helpful for you!