I read this today and thought others might find it helpful. Its from Alex Absolom and focusses on helpful tips to read the Bible to hear God speaking to you. I hope you find it helpful as well.
If you are stuck, or always finding Bible reading dry, or you’ve just not read Bible for ages, here are some practical ideas to restart regular Bible reading.
They fall within the big point of Bible reading, which is answering the “SO WHAT?” question.
If discipleship is hearing Jesus and obeying Him, and if the primary way Jesus is revealed is through the Bible, then we need to learn to hear and obey His voice in Scripture. Thus, when I read something, the key question is, “So what am I going to do in response?”. My goal is not to gather more knowledge (although that is helpful) – my goal is to become more like Jesus, which means I respond to His word to me that I am reading or hearing.
As I read the Bible, I try to be always attentive to the “SO WHAT?” question, so that I can be shaped by Jesus. These ideas are trying to help people find practical ways to refresh that process when it has grown a little stale (which, of course, is a universal experience!).
1. Stop and listen – Take time to listen (that is what it means to come as a lover of God). The point is to stop, even if time is short and it is simply reading a verse from the Psalms and bowing your head in genuine stillness for 1 minute.
2. Have a realistic plan – eg it is better to do a few minutes every day than to do 1 ½ hrs on day 1 and then give up!
3. Come in worship – I love playing loud live worship music, such as Jesus Culture/ Bethel Church, Hillsongs United, Matt Redman and then reading the Bible. Work out what works for you.
4. Use a Bible reading plan (try something on youversion.com).
5. Use a devotional book or Bible reading notes.
6. Different lengths – Some days take one verse and meditate on it, while on other days read a long chunk of the Bible. Have variety!
7. Use a different translation – That will cause you to see familiar passages differently.
8. Read with kids – They see things so well, that we tend to hide from. Use both ‘full’ Bibles and children’s Bibles eg The Jesus Storybook Bible
9. Picture it – Visualize the scene in your mind and see what Jesus says to you.
10. Eat your PEAS! – Is there a… Promise to claim? Example to follow? Attitude to change? Sin to confess?
11. a verse/ write it on a card/ put it on your phone, and then look at it throughout day. Allow it to shape your day.
12. Listen to the Bible in an audio version – Find times when that will work for you, such as in your car, when you are cooking or when you are exercising. There are free versions available at youversion.com, or you can buy it on CDs/MP3s.
13. Read it out loud – You will experience the Bible differently.
14. Read at unexpected times – eg Put a Bible in your bathroom, in car for when you are waiting for the kids, download a Bible app for your phone, etc
15. Physical location – Create a regular place at home where you go to worship, read the Bible and pray.
16. Read a parallel book/novel based upon the Bible – This should make you want to go back and check out the original version of the story.
Finally, if you are in a dry place with Bible reading, it is worth simply asking God why. What’s going on? Sometimes He withdraws to invite us to pursue Him. Other times there is sin in our life that is causing the blockage. It might be that we are simply lacking in self-discipline and need to work around that. Don’t be afraid to do this, because Jesus will challenge us deeply while also showing us the way forward.