Scrapping the Excuses: 3 Strategies for Daily Bible Study
For some, studying the Bible for more than a few minutes can be difficult. It’s time to find strategies that will work to get us studying God’s Word daily.
Daily Bible study is one of the ways a true Christian can have a meaningful and deep relationship with God. A relationship with our Creator does not magically happen just by claiming a belief in God and Christ (Matthew 7:21). Bible study is one of the most important ways true Christians work out their “own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Christianity, like any other relationship, takes work. Studying the Bible is how we listen to God and understand His will and purpose for us.
The purpose of this blog is not to prove the need for daily Bible study. The Bible is very clear on the importance of studying the Bible (Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 4:12). To learn more about the need for Bible study, read our informative article “Why Study the Bible?”
The purpose of this blog is to help us actually do it!
Before we cover some basic strategies for successful Bible study, let’s look at some common justifications and excuses people use to neglect Bible study, and take an honest look at what those justifications are actually saying about our attitudes toward Bible study.
Honest translation of excuses
Excuse #1: “It’s all those boring genealogies, confusing prophecies, building specs, repetitious phrases, description of sacrifices and Old Testament rituals …”
Translation: Portions of what I’m reading don’t excite me or are hard for me to understand, so instead of patiently reading through or getting help to understand, I’ll just not study at all.
Excuse #2: “There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Between work, exercise, kids, commitments—I’m so busy!”
Translation: Bible study is not a priority in my hectic everyday life, and I’m not willing to change that.
Strategies to ensure daily Bible study
- Find the time, and then make the time.
Whatever time we choose during the day, or whatever routine we can set up, that time has to be set aside specifically for Bible study. Both Psalm 63:1 and Isaiah 26:9 mention seeking God early in the morning. Though how you schedule the time to study is a personal decision, rising early can be a successful strategy to schedule study into your life. Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:2 mention meditation on God’s law “day and night.”
Other ideas for making time to study include:Waking up 30 minutes to an hour early and dedicating that time to Bible study. (Ideally this means we will plan to go to bed earlier to avoid lack of sleep.)
- Using our lunch hour at work.
- Using the 30 minutes to an hour before we go to sleep to study.
- Setting up a regular time after work that is dedicated to quiet study time.
- Setting up multiple times during our day to study.
No matter what time we choose, we need to make sure we are making Bible study part of our daily routine.
- Have back-up plans and actually use them.
Though there is no substitute for concentrated, scheduled Bible study time, there are times that life “gets in the way.” When those moments arise, we can have alternative and supplemental strategies in place that can help “fill the gap.”
Here are a few ideas:
- Give up listening to music for an audio Bible reading or a sermon during our commutes.
- Have engaging conversation with our spouse or friend about biblical topics.
- Set goals to memorize scriptures, Bible facts and lists. Continual repetition of these in our heads or aloud not only helps us memorize them, but also helps us study. Memorization combined with meditation can be a powerful strategy.
Obviously these “second-string” strategies can always complement our study, but only in rare instances of schedules being completely thrown off should they be considered to replace our direct study of God’s Word.
- Find your functional style of study and explore.
Take motivation and inspiration from the longest psalm, which expresses love for God’s Word and law (Psalm 119). Experiment with different styles of study and reading programs and find what makes it “addicting.”
Here are some ideas:
- Bible study “projects.” These can include topical studies, reading through the Bible for daily living principles, memory scriptures, etc.
- Read straight through the Bible.
- Read different books and sections of the Bible in an organized way.
Whatever motivates us to get the Bible open every day is what we want. Bible study should be interesting and enjoyable!
Scrap the excuses
Let’s translate our excuses for avoiding daily Bible study and start making the sacrifices necessary to benefit from it. Devising and faithfully following a Bible study strategy will help us progress in our goal to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
This is the first of a two part series on Scrapping the Excuses. For part 2 in this series, see the article “Scrapping the Excuses: 3 Strategies for Daily Prayer.”
For more guidance on how to successfully study the Bible, read “How to Study the Bible.”