Before you begin to study the Bible, you should consider the way in which you approach the Bible. The attitude with which you approach your study time will set the tone for how you connect with His Word.
For instance, if you approach a coffee date with your best friend with a sense of guilt because you feel pressured to be there, you probably won’t connect with her on a sincere level. You might keep the conversation light, half-heartedly listen, and then deliver your well-thought-out excuse of why you are pressed for time. You would probably leave the coffee shop without fully engaging with the heart of your friend, or she with you. All you will have accomplished is a checkmark on your to-do list.
The same is true when it comes to approaching the Word of God — your attitude determines the outcome. If you approach God’s Word with any other attitude other than anticipation, you have already determined the outcome of your time with Him as nothing more than a item to check off your list.
To help you create an environment that allows for connecting with the message of God for your life, you could actually imagine this time as a physical, face-to-face meeting with Jesus1.
What if you had a real-life meeting with the Son of God? How would you spend the time with Him?
Consider these 4 ways to prepare for your meeting with Him:
1- Prepare Your Heart
If you had a real, face-to-face meeting with Jesus, you would probably want to prepare your heart to be in His presence. There should be no difference when you sit down to read your Bible. After all, John 1:1-2; 14 says Jesus is the Word of God.
You should approach your time in the Word with an attitude of worship and reverence, seeking forgiveness beforehand to allow your heart the ability to receive a message from God.
Imagine you receive an envelope with your name handwritten on the front in beautiful writing. You carefully open the letter: “You have been personally invited to attend the opening premiere of the latest blockbuster film. You will be escorted down the red carpet by [insert your favorite actor’s name].” Oh, the squeals of excitement that would ensue from reading that!
Do you treat your time with God as exciting as you would your favorite actor? Or, do you only agree to sit with Him because you feel like it is an obligation? As if it’s expected of you if you want to be “good”? You have also been personally invited to spent time with Jesus Christ, Son of God. (Matthew 11:28-30; Rev 22:17) Get excited!
3- Have a Plan
Before you sit down to open your Bible you should have a plan. Turning pages to a random spot and beginning to read isn’t the best strategy. So, what are you going to read? Consider a topic study (such as love, forgiveness, the attributes of God), a reading plan, or a specific book in the Bible to start.
No matter which you choose, stick to your plan and be consistent.
4- Get Started!
There are many different methods of studying the Bible; some are discussed here. Choose whatever method works best for your personality and learning style. Start small and don’t give up; set short, attainable goals to encourage yourself to keep going.
So what are you waiting for? Get started!
1This information was inspired by Scripture Engagement – © Phil Collins, Ph.D., 2014.
Scripture Engagement is a partnership between Bible Gateway and the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.