This is the third post in the series, “Spiritual Discipline for real women with real lives”.
Many people struggle with the discipline of reading the Bible every day, even through we know that God’s word is the key to spiritual growth. It can be really hard! Our lives are busy and full, and having the self-discipline to lock ourselves away for an hour of personal devotion time each day just isn’t realistic. Here are 16 ways you can fit more Bible into your day, even if you’re really busy.
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1. Read it
There are lots of things that I do every day – take a shower, brush my teeth, eat at least a couple of meals – the list goes on. But, reading my Bible can get squeezed out in the busyness.
This has changed in different seasons of life. When my kids were in school, I used to arrive at the school pick up 15 minutes early so that I could park in a similar position each afternoon. I had a Bible and a journal in the pocket of my car door, and I used to read a passage and write down a quick thought while I was waiting for the school bell.
In my current season, I have my morning coffee with my Bible reading App. This year I’m reading through the New Testament using The Bible Project reading plan. When I get up in the morning, I make myself a coffee and head to my chair by the window and read my Bible. Then I challenge myself for the rest of the day to remember the truth of what I read each time I have another coffee.
How can you spend time each day reading the Bible?
2. Write it
This one is fairly new to me. In Bible college, I had a lecturer who was writing out the Bible. The whole Bible. He talked about how slowing down to writing pace, rather than reading pace, brought so much more out of the text. I decided to give it a go.
I began by writing out the book of Romans. He was right! I had read these words so many times before; the words were familiar, but I discovered patterns in words and ideas I had never noticed before I actually had to physically form each and every word.
Then I discovered that Scripture Writing is actually a thing. I started a Pinterest board and put together a few scripture verse lists following different themes. Scripture writing is now a regular spiritual practice for me.
You can download my Abide with Me plan here.
3. Listen to it
There are a number of ways you can listen to the Bible. I use the You Version Bible App.There are a number of translations that offer an audio option, including the NIV and NLT. This means I can listen to someone reading the Bible to me while I’m doing something else with my hands and eyes.
This is revolutionary! I have little blue tooth earbuds, so I can walk around the apartment phone free and listen to the Bible without disturbing anyone else. Folding laundry, preparing dinner, cleaning the shower, dusting the house, boring and uninspiring of themselves, become opportunities for learning and inspiration.
Have you ever wondered how to pronounce all those interesting biblical names and places? Listen to how the professionals say it!
4. Draw it/colour it
It’s hard to explain, but there is something significant that happens when we pick up some colouring pencils and let our creative side engage with Scripture. There are more and more resources available to help us do this in a meaningful way, especially for those of us who are a bit challenged.
I’m not terrible when it comes to creative expression, but I can be a bit of a perfectionist, and that isn’t helpful. I’m learning to relax and enjoy the beauty of colouring outside the lines, a little.
I have a journaling Bible. I use one like this.There are some pages I have meticulously created artwork or calligraphy on the page to illustrate a verse, and there are others where I have scribbled notes in different coloured pens and doodled in the margins, freehand. When I am allowing my creativity to meet the richness of Scripture, my heart is engaged and encouraged by the process.
If you’re a colourer, you can get colouring in books of scripture verses like this one. What a lovely way to engage with the truth of God’s word!
5. Watch it
These short videos produced by The Bible Project are a wonderful tool for understanding the big picture of scripture. I highly recommend their summaries of the individual books of the Bible. They are also suitable to watch with your kids – a wonderful tool for family devotions.
6. Memorise it
This one is challenging or me! But, so important! When I was a little girl, I went to a youth club every Friday night, where memorising scripture was a regular part of the program. I still remember many of the verses I learned back then. The words we say to ourselves have the power to change us. Words of affirmation, spoken confidently, can help people make significant changes in their lives. (See this Huffington Post article.)
Speaking out words of scripture is even more powerful than words of affirmation! Quoting Proverbs 3:5-6 out loud when I have a difficult decision to make, or 1 Peter 5:7 when I’m feeling anxious, changes me! I need these verses in my memory, ready to speak words of wisdom and comfort, truth and courage, at just the right time.
Without a plan, it doesn't happen! I can't memorise scripture by accident. There are wonderful tools we can use to help us memorise scripture like this one. I need this!
7. Journal it
I’ve used different journals over the years to help me take what I’ve read further, searching for applications for my life and writing out prayers. For a couple of years, I followed the Life Journal and the reading plan that goes with it. It was time-consuming, but a rich season of spiritual growth.
At the moment I use these 10 Minute Journals produced by Honey & Gold. They have space for writing scripture, gratitude, prayer points, and lots of space for writing out what is on my heart. I don’t do it every day, but two or three times a week I love taking a bit longer over my daily reading and fleshing out what God is saying to me.
8. Discuss it
IO had a brilliant idea recently, and I want to get it off the ground sometime soon. When I moved into our apartment building last year, I joined the book club to get to know some new people. It’s been great! I read books I wouldn’t usually read and discuss them with people who are completely different to me. We have robust discussions about politics and history, mental illness, grief, and the human condition.
Many books of the Bible would be great to discuss in a book club, a place where we could explore themes and characters, historical context and personal application. I would love to have a group of girlfriends who meet around some good coffee and a cheese platter every month or two to have a robust conversation. Anyone interested?
9. Phone wallpaper
I would hate to count how often I look at my phone each day. It might be a bit scary. So, why not make it meaningful? I create phone wallpaper images with words of scripture that I see and read multiple times each day.
10. Computer desktop image
Do you work on a computer? Use the image as a meaningful reminder. At the moment I have an image of grapes on a vine on my desktop, and it is a constant reminder of my source of life.
If you have to type a password several times a day, make it meaningful. Praying for someone for salvation? Use their name as your password, and pray for them every time you type it in. Struggling with worry? Use a phrase from Matthew 6:25 as your password and remind yourself of God’s promise every time you type it.
12. Daily Planner
In my planner, there is a section at the bottom of each day for notes. I often write out a verse and refer to it often during the day. I also write verses across the top of the whiteboard in my office. It's a simple daily reminder.
13. Post-it notes
Where do you go regularly? How could you bring scripture to that place? Write a verse on a post-it note and stick it on your mirror, on your fridge door, on the back of the toilet door or above the kitchen sink.
14. Display it
My daughter gave me a felt board for my birthday, and I love changing the saying each month. This is the perfect way to display scripture in your home.
15. Recall it
Find triggers in your regular routine that you can use to intentionally recall scripture. As I said earlier, I read my Bible with my first coffee of the morning, and I recall what I read when I stop for coffee during the day, usually at least twice more.
I also have some other regular triggers I use to recall scripture. When I’m standing on an escalator, I take a deep slow breath and remind myself to be still and know that He is God. When I’m stopped at traffic lights I look up at the sky and remember God’s faithfulness and provision. These little mental games have become habits that constantly remind me to trust God, and it makes a difference to my day.
16. Share it
I have found this to be true – the more I engage with the Bible, the more opportunities I have to share it. It is amazing the number of times that I will be chatting with someone, and the wisdom they need for their situation comes from the passage of the Bible I read that morning.
I don’t mean Bible bashing or shaming, but becoming a mature and wise mentor, someone who can listen well and give godly words of counsel that bring life and courage to people’s pain.
There are my 16 ways to fit more Bible into your day. I pray that your life will be transformed by the living word of God!
How about you? How do you fit more Bible into your day? I’d love to hear your ideas!