You’ve probably had the following experience, like me, more than once.
You do your daily Bible reading, and…nothing.
It seems all you’ve accomplished is to cross off another entry in your Bible Reading Plan. Your mind was drifting to what you had to do that day. The Lord didn’t speak to you through His Word. If He did, you weren’t listening. You get to the end of the chapter, and you can’t remember what you read.
I don’t have a silver bullet.
Given our frailty as humans, days like what I describe above will occur now and again. But, we can be wise and have them occur less often.
Lots of wise and godly men have made suggestions. For example, here are two I’ve heard before:
- Be sure to pray first.
This is helpful as God will answer your prayer for help and you’ve directed your mind God-ward before you attempt to read.
- Bring a separate notepad & pen with you.When you think about something you must do that day, write it down. The act of writing it down seems to validate in your mind that you’ve given the item attention, and you can follow-up with it later. Also, as you’ve written it down you won’t think of it again. Trying not to think about something while reading the Bible will only serve to encourage you to think about it more.
In addition, intentionally asking questions of your Bible reading text is extremely beneficial.
I mentioned earlier this year how encouraged I have been since beginning One-To-One Bible Reading. In the process of doing this Bible reading, in most case I’ve opted to use the Swedish Method as outlined in the One-to-One Bible Reading book.
The Swedish Method, which I’ll explain shortly, is very simple. It essentially only requires you to ask three broad questions of the text. Yet surprisingly, through the process of looking at a text with questions in mind, I’ve found the Word to come alive, to be deeply engrained in my heart, leaving me extremely edified for my day. At the same time, the distractions of the world seem less likely to intrude.
Are There Any Light Bulbs?
Is there anything that shines out in the passage and draws attention; it can be something important, or something that particularly strikes you as the reader?
Are There Any Question Marks?
Is there anything that is hard to understand; something that you as the reader would like to be able to ask the author about?
Are There Any Arrows?
Is there anything that applies personally to your life?
I know there are other “systems” out there for Bible reading and asking questions of a text, and I’d love to hear them from you in the comments. But what I love about these three questions is their simplicity. They don’t lord over your reading. It allows your time in God’s Word to remain ‘organic’, not repetitive day after day. Yet, they’re pointed enough that it forces you to consider the text properly. If you’re so inclined, and you have the time, you can take a specific point to further study.
The “Swedish Method” graphic and text adapted from David Helm’s One-to-One Bible Reading.