The Bible says man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3 NASB, Matthew 4:4 NASB). If we want to survive spiritually, we need to consume the Word of God—the Bible.
But how does one read the same book repeatedly without getting bored?
There was a point in my life where I had ingested so much of the Bible that I found it dull, boring, and over familiar. As life got more hectic, it became easier to sacrifice my time reading; I had grown accustomed to the Bible and took it for granted, much like the Israelites took the manna that God provided for them in the desert for granted (Numbers 11:6).
But eventually, that viewpoint changed. I can’t pinpoint a single aha moment, but I can tell you that I grew unsatisfied with my lack of enthusiasm toward the Bible, knowing that reading the Bible is my special time to connect with my Father, and that God’s Word gives life (Proverbs 3:1-4). I knew my life depended on reading and knowing His Word.
You might ask, “What do you mean your life depended on it?” Well, I wanted to know God’s will for my life—I needed His guidance. I also knew from past experience that God’s guidance always led me right, even when I didn’t like the immediate outcome of some situations. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice (John 10:27), and His voice is in the Bible—I knew that in order to benefit from God’s guidance, I would need to develop an appetite for His Word.
Here are three methods which I found effective in getting the most out of reading my Bible and spending time with God.
1. Make time to read your Bible without distraction
First, I made sure I actually read the Bible to begin with. The older we get, the more responsibilities we have in our lives. There are periods in my life when I have so much to do, it seems there aren’t enough hours in a day; I literally must put notifications on my phone to remind me to eat. I reminded myself that even though Jesus is God, and He was super busy when He was here on earth, He still made time to commune with the Father in a quiet place (Mark 1:35-37).
I started making sure I read my Bible first thing in the morning. If for some reason that wasn’t possible, I would read my Bible during the commute to my destination (you can also listen to the Bible if you drive). Sometimes, I’d double up lunch with my quiet time, either hiding in my office to eat, or finding a quiet garden. I started making sure I had time where I wasn’t distracted so I could focus on the Word.
2. Ask God for understanding before reading
It wasn’t enough to just read the Bible (especially since it had become stale to me). So, I started my reading time by praying for God to give me a hunger and thirst for His word (Psalm 63). Almost every time before I read the Bible, I asked God to open my eyes that I might see wonderful things in His law (Psalm 119:18).
From that point on, the Bible came alive for me. I would read a verse one day, and three weeks later, it would speak to me in a new way. I started to see how the Word was applicable to situations I found myself in. It was as though Jeremiah 33:3—where God asks us to “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”—became a reality in my life.
Prayer is very important for communing with God. Even if we don’t get an immediate answer, or if He doesn’t answer the way we expect Him to, we can be assured that God always answers in His way and at His time. I encourage you to keep praying before reading His Word, and one day, you will see the effects of your prayer.
3. Meditate on a specific verse or passage
As most busy people will attest, our minds keep spinning even when we will them to stop. Meditation does not come easy to me. So, in order to better retain the revelation and understanding that comes from reading the Word, I started visiting and re-visiting Scripture.
One way I started doing this was simply by reading it twice. It wasn’t always immediately after—sometimes it would be the next day or later that week. I started ruminating on it, asking myself questions on what I had just read to help me really think about the meaning of a verse (Psalm 1:2).
A friend of mine adopts the “verse of the week” method. He puts a verse as his screen saver and repeats it several times a day till he has it memorized. Another method is something I picked up from my experience as a writer. I have a little notebook I carry around with me in my bag. Much like I write out a new article idea that hits me while walking down the street, I write out verses and what I learned from them so I can go back to it over and over, until it sinks in.
As I applied these methods, the boredom I felt toward the Bible faded out of the equation. I started to look forward to reading my Bible and enjoying the plentiful food God so richly provides us in His word—it became more exciting and felt newer.
If you feel the same way I did and wish to revitalize your time in the Word, I hope these three methods help you in some way. I can only confess that they were, and still are, invaluable to my process of staying spiritually fed through God’s Word.
First published as a devotional article: 3 Tips to Revitalize Your Devotional Time, YMI Today (Our Daily Bread Ministries), Jan. 2020.