I wasn’t raised in a Christian home. When I began a relationship with Jesus no one explained what to actually do with the Bible. So, I came to the conclusion it was the pastor's job to read the Bible and tell us about it every week. I HAD a Bible, KNEW it was important, but didn’t know HOW to practically incorporate it into my life. In case anyone has come to the same conclusion, here's what I do with my Bible:
I read first thing in the morning. I have a book mark that doubles as a reading plan. It takes me through a section of the Old Testament, a selection from Psalms, and a passage from the New Testament everyday. The particular plan I use works through the whole Bible in two years’ time. This pace is not too fast and not too slow. There are enough verses to really chew on, but there aren’t too many verses that I get overwhelmed and behind schedule.
When I miss a day or two it’s not too much to catch back up.
Before reading I start with a simple prayer, “Jesus, open up your Word to me. I choose to open up my heart to your Word.” As I read through I look for portions that grab ahold of my attention. This may be a question about the text. It may be a promise I notice in the passage, or a single word that seems to address a situation I’m facing in life. Whatever the word may be, I find a way to simply note what catches my attention.
I’m looking for ‘inspiration’ over ‘information’.
Because I've prayed for God to open his Word to me and chosen to open my heart to it, I assume He is using this simple process to show me what He wants to point out. I respond with a simple prayer thanking Him for His Word and for speaking to me. Some days this is profound and deeply impacting: most days it is simply a discipline that places my heart and mind where it belongs. All of this takes about fifteen minutes of time.
Since our girls have been able to read on their own we have taught them to read the Bible on a daily basis with us. We ask them to read the New Testament portion of the reading plan when they wake up; not as part of their chores, but as part of their own relationship with Jesus. After we have breakfast I ask, “Who read their Bible today?” as a simple way to be accountable in this area. Whether everyone read or no one did that morning, we then read the day’s New Testament passage out loud.
After we've read I turn to my 10-year old daughter, Hannah, and ask, “What stood out to you from today’s reading?” Then I ask my 12-year old daughter, Emily, the same question. Sometimes what they share is profound! Other times they ask a question. Some days they say, “I don’t know.” I make a few comments or ask, “Why did that seem important?” to draw out more from them. I love to hear their thoughts and I love that they experience the Bible as a practical part of their lives.
Next, I ask the same thing of my wife, Kimberly. I love that I get the chance to hear directly from her about something important to the both of us. Many times God has used what He's revealing to my wife to stretch me or encourage me.
It's one important part of knitting us together as a couple.
Finally, I share my thoughts. I keep it simple and short. I know how to preach a message, but I know the breakfast table is not a time for that. With this ten-minute investment of time after breakfast we have developed a predictable pattern moving the Bible from the fringes to the very center of the life of our family.
I realize what I’ve described isn’t profound. It’s also not expensive. Neither does it require much time. But. It. Works. The Bible is not just something the pastor is supposed to read, it’s a gift from God to all people.
Learn to use your gift everyday.
You can find a copy of the reading plan I use with the button below. If you want to talk more about the Bible you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.