I frequently post on the importance of Bible study, going deeper into the text, and reading old books. But today, I want to give you some tips to help you read the Bible devotionally. Typically when we think of devotions, we think of a plan on the Bible app or reading a Devotional book. While those things are good, I want to focus on reading the Bible devotionally. When you read the Bible devotionally, you aren’t mining for profound truths or reading long portions of Scripture; you take it slow and allow the text to speak to you.
Joshua 1:8 in the New Living Translation says, “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
I like reading the New Living Translation and the Christian Standard Bible devotionally because they are easier to read and have a nice flow. When you read devotionally, you are going about it slowly, don’t rush through a chapter; read a few verses at a time and write down your thoughts. Remember, you aren’t studying, so I’m not talking about theological thoughts, but how the Scripture relates to your life, how you can apply the text to what you’re going through at the moment. For example, Psalm 119 tells us to hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we won’t sin. When we sit down and just read the Bible, even reading the same few verses a few times, it gets the Word into our hearts, changes our thinking, and helps us become more like Christ.
If I could make a comparison, I would say studying the Bible is like preparing a meal; you do all the work; prepare ingredients, cook the meal, and eat. That’s doing word studies, looking at commentaries, taking notes, and walking away full. Likewise, reading devotionally is like going to a restaurant; you order, talk amongst yourselves, eat and leave. When we read devotionally, we aren’t trying to figure things out; we’re simply letting Scripture feed, encourage, and give us hope. Devotional reading can be ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. Take your Bible and a notebook, or use a journaling Bible to read a few verses and write down your thoughts. Then, begin and end with prayer. There’s nothing more to it than that; there’s no step-by-step process; you’re just letting the Scripture encourage you.
Start with the shorter Psalms, develop a habit of going to a quiet place, praying, reading a few verses, reflecting, and journaling. As much as we need to study the Word, we also need to read and let it feed us. No agenda, just going to the Word to let it speak to us.