A blog friend was once reading a book about Bible study. She lamented that, as good as the book was, it didn’t mentioned how to find the time to employ all that instruction.
I guess the authors feel that once we are assured of the importance of Bible reading and study, we’ll make it a priority and make time. And I think that’s pretty much what it comes down to. If we are waiting until time magically opens up with the solitude and inclination we need without a dozen other things crowding in…I just don’t think that’s going to happen, at least not regularly.
Years ago our assistant pastor spoke of struggling to make time for reading his Bible. He said to our senior pastor, an older, godly man, “I guess you don’t have trouble making time for Bible reading any more, do you?” The older man just laughed.
Finding the time is always going to be a struggle. There are always duties, distractions, and people clamoring for that time. The Enemy of our souls fights against our spending time in the Bible. Instead of getting discouraged about it, we can just accept that it is a common problem and prayerfully seek ways to deal with it. Perhaps reminding ourselves of reasons to read the Bible will renew our motivation.
We need to remember, too, that making time to read the Bible isn’t just about ticking off another duty. Every relationship thrives on communication. If we went for days without talking with our husbands except in the briefest necessary exchanges, we’d feel the effects pretty soon and realize we need some time alone together. Though sometimes we need to set up routines to establish good habits, taking time to read the Bible shouldn’t be a matter of rigid schedules, but rather of taking time to meet with the One Who loves us best.
So with these things in mind, here are some suggestions for carving time out to meet with the Lord:
1. Get up earlier or stay up later. I can hear you groaning. But for many of us, that’s the only way to get some time alone.
2. Keep the Bible handy. One friend with three small children close in age kept her Bible out in her kitchen. She couldn’t set aside a longer period of solitude, but she could read in smaller snatches through the day.
3. Bible apps. There are a number of apps with Bible reading plans, reminders, etc. Since we usually have our phones nearby all day, we have easy access to the Scriptures all the time.
4. Listen. Some people like to listen to recorded versions of the Bible while driving, exercising, making dinner, etc.
5. Plan for it after a natural break in the day. It’s hard for to stop in the middle of a morning or afternoon and put everything aside to read. But a break in the routine, when we’re shifting gears anyway, can help us work in some time for reading, like after a meal, after taking the kids to school, etc.
6. Meal time, especially if you eat alone.
7. Waiting time. We usually check social media or open a book if we have to wait at a doctor’s office or in car line at school, but that can be a good time for some Bible reading.
9. Establish a routine. Once we get used to setting aside a certain time for Bible reading, it’s not such a scramble to look for that time every day.
9. Don’t wait for perfection. One problem with a routine is that we can’t always figure out how to function when the routine is disrupted, like when we’re traveling or someone is sick or we have small children at home. I wrote a post some time back called Encouragement for mothers of young children about trying to find time for devotions with little ones in the house. Though I normally like getting up early and having solitude and quietness for Bible reading, that just didn’t work with little ones. Yet God enabled me to read and profit from it while they kept me company or played near me, even though usually I couldn’t concentrate under those circumstances.
10. Anything is better than nothing. You may not have time on a given day to work out your full Bible reading routine. But you can usually read something. I’ve found that when I truly only had a few moments, God often gave me just what I needed in a verse or two.
11. Talk with your husband, roommates, siblings, whoever you live with. Years ago I caught part of a radio program where the preacher was scolding women who wanted to spend early morning time to have devotions. He said the husband as the leader should have that time, since the wife had “all day” in which she could have devotions. The man obviously had not spent a whole day at home alone with kids. That mentality is wrong on many levels. Not long after that a missionary speaking at our church mentioned protecting that time for his wife, a much better example of servant leadership and love. If the only way either parent can have devotions is for one of them to watch the children, then they can do that for each other. If a particular time of day is the best time for two people in a house, they can work out different locations if they get too distracted in the same room. Whatever conflict there might be about time and place preferences, talk with each other to work out the best solution for both and be willing to compromise.
12. Pray. In the blog post I referred to earlier, I mentioned that sometimes I’d get to the end of the day and lament to the Lord that I had no idea when I could have read my Bible that day. I began instead to pray at the beginning of the day for wisdom and alertness for those moments when I could, and that made a profound difference.
13. Set something aside. If we have times to read other books, peruse Facebook, watch TV, or play games on our phones, we have time to read the Bible. I admit, if I sit down to relax for a few minutes with a book and realize I haven’t read my Bible yet that day, I don’t always have the best attitude about laying down my book and picking up my Bible. But when I confess that to the Lord and then go ahead, He graciously speaks to me through His Word. We do need time to relax as well, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of time in God’s Word. He knows our needs, and we can ask Him for both time to spend in His Word and for some down time.
What about you? What ways have you found to make time for Bible reading?
(Revised from the archives)
(Sharing with Hearth and Soul, Sunday Scripture Blessings, Selah, Scripture and a Snapshot, Inspire Me Monday, Senior Salon, Remember Me Monday, Tell His Story, Legacy Linkup, InstaEncouragement, Recharge Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee, Heart Encouragement, Grace and Truth, Blogger Voices Network)
these are all wonderful ideas Barbara………do you have a favorite Bible app?
Thanks Wendi. I use Olive Tree, but I have heard great things about YouVersion.
thank you Barbara!
Good post. And maybe it doesn’t take near the time we think. Something I wrote: https://lightenough.wordpress.com/2018/04/05/reading-the-entire-bible-in-90-days/
That’s a good point. Sometimes we think we have to read so many chapters or minutes for it to “count.” But it doesn’t actually take that long.
I started with Good Morning Girls when ready to study the Bible in earnest. They only did one chapter at a time, and that helped because before I’d head into it thinking I was going to read the whole Bible in a hurry. With shorter reading, I had time to mull over what I’d read. I’ve been through almost twice again, but I don’t worry about that, but just knowing no pressure makes it earsier to read it. True on keeping the Bible handy. That has helped me. Have a happy Sunday.
I used to read the Bible through in a year, but then slowed down to read at my own pace. There’s advantage in both big-picture reading and slower study on a smaller passage. I like to go back and forth.
Excellent. I have used You- Version, too. 🙂
Thank you, Melissa!
Lovely post. Thank you for sharing it on Anita’s Inspire Me Monday.
Thank you, Gina!
As always, great tangible ideas. I know I have to get up earlier in order to get everything into one day. I actually look forward to getting up early knowing I’ll have that quiet time with the Lord. It’s become part of my routine and I’ve deemed it a “non-negotiable” in my day. I have been known to catch up on reading while waiting for appointments. I’ll have to check out Olive Tree app.
Early morning is my best tie, too, though I’ve had to adjust through various seasons.
I think Bible reading (like running) is one of those things that, if it is important to us, we will make time for it. It becomes a habit. I find that my best time to read the Bible is at night before I fall asleep. I may not read for very long, but I try to think about the verses I read and it has become a routine. I don’t think I could get to sleep without it! Thanks for the good tips!
What a neat way to direct your thoughts before you go to sleep! I agree, we need to make Bible reading a priority and make time for it.
Excellent advice! After years of trying different things, I’ve settled into one that works for me and have made that “healthy habit” my priority.
That’s a great idea–there’s no one right way to do it. Different methods work best for different people. I’ve varied methods sometimes just to avoid getting in a rut.
Thanks for this. I found it very encouraging. My quiet time is not the perfect ideal. The important thing is is that it happens.
I’m a creature of habit, so I just need to decide what my Bible-reading plan is, and I *will* do it. Yes, this does make me prone to “ticking off the boxes” — trying to work on that! Typically I read the Bible through one year, then feel so burned out by that that I read devotions, etc. the next year. Neither is ideal. I need to think and pray about what 2021 will hold for my Bible reading. Thank you for some excellent and helpful thoughts here.
Habits can be very helpful. But as you said, it’s easy to just go through the motions as a habit. I like to vary overview reading with more in-depth study. I’ve written about ways to incorporate both here: https://barbaraleeharper.com/2020/01/13/ways-to-both-read-and-study-the-bible/.
Oh, my! I can’t believe that a man would say that his wife had ‘all day’ to study the Bible! It is so difficult to find time for Bible studies when kids are little! What we schedule, we do. Thank you for the reminder!
I gave one son the chronological bible in a year to read through his senior year – and he did! After he finished, I thought – well, I ought to do that! And I loved it! It kept me on schedule and I saw things I’d never seen before – and loved! loved! loved! the routine it to find that quiet time!
These are all great suggestions for making time for reading in general, but yes, especially for reading our Bibles. I sometimes laugh (on the inside) when people complain about not having time to read anything when they’ve been talking nonstop about the latest shows they’ve been watching on Netflix. We all pick and choose what to do with our time. Some seasons are indeed busier than others, but we all have a few minutes here and there to do with as we please. Thanks for sharing this.
All good suggestions, Barbara. All we need is to incorporate one of them and we will have a bit more time in the Word.
These are all good ideas. I think everyone struggles for time at points. Deciding on a time and doing my best to stick to it has definitely helped me. I think if we wait for the opportunity to come up naturally it will probably never happen – we have to be intentional about finding the time.
Great tips for those wanting more time in the Word.
wonderful, practical advice for the best way to spend moments of our day in the best way possible, with Jesus! that hour in my day is the dearest one to me and sets my heart in such a way to seek him the rest of the day. i love this post and pray it encourages many to get into his word!
Great Bible reading tips. #1 is what works for me. With five kiddos at home, getting up early and doing this first thing has made a huge difference. It helped me go from wanting to read the Bible regularly to actually doing it.
Thank you for this practical Bible reading advice!
excellent advice. Thanks for linking up at Legacy Link Up
These are great tips! Thank you for sharing them. I think you’re absolutely right that we have to make it a priority, make time for it. In this parenting stage with a lot of young kids, I make it the first quiet time I have of the day. Sometimes that’s before the kids are awake, but on days when they wake me, it’s during nap or when they’re playing independently. I try to do it before I read something else or get on social media. I’m always blessed by the time I spend in scripture! I’m visiting today from the instaencouragements linkup. Have a great day Barbara!
Great list, Barbara! And oh, my! #11! Yes, the radio guy obviously hasn’t had time all day with kids. I got interrupted twice just trying to read your post and leave a comment! Lol
Great list of tips! And it is having the perspective that reading the Bible is our priority, because you are right, we have to be flexible, our routines change all the time 🙂 I love having YouVersion on my phone, because you can use it to compare different translations!
This is such an important reminder! I love these ideas! I’m living this out with kids right now….in this very moment! I’m feeling encouraged!
Such practical wisdom. Thank you for sharing.
I definitely struggle with this issue, and I love these ideas, Barbara. They all sound goo, and I must admit, I hadn’t thought about apps – I’m going to look into that.
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