Most of us who minister regularly know our way around the Bible. We read different passages each week to get ready for our messages. The danger with that is sometimes that’s the only time or reason we do read the Bible. Although God’s Word is never dull or dry, it can seem to become that way. Here’s a few ways to avoid that.
Have a Bible reading plan apart from ministry. Don’t only read about what lesson you are going to teach, resolve to read through the Bible every year. Or do a book, topic, or character study and delve deeper into the Scriptures.
Here’s a few online sites or Bible apps that might help:
Schedule a time each day to read the Bible. Make sure you’re not reading only to find material for messages. Schedule this time to read the Bible for your own benefit. You also might want to block out two to three hours once a week to study the Scriptures.
Try different versions of the Bible. There are many great contemporary versions of the Bible. Sometimes when we only read or study one version, we tend to become so familiar with the passage that we skim it. Reading another version that is worded differently may open our understanding of the passage in a new way. A word of caution: Some paraphrases such as The Message water down the meaning of the text.
Apply what you read. At the end of every Bible reading or study, we need to take a few minutes to pray and ask God how to apply it to our lives. There won’t always be a life-shattering application, but over time, it will have a cumulative effect.
Read the Bible, not books about the Bible. We ministers love to read books about the Bible. But if we’re not careful, we’ll read more about what other people think the Bible says than we read the Word of God. Reading the other books is not wrong if we use them as a supplement. Only the Bible is the Word of God.
Participate in a small group or have an accountability partner. We are a community of believers. It’s important to get together and discuss what we have read in the Bible. It also helps us to become accountable for what we have read and to keep on track with out Bible reading.
Spend some time memorizing passages of the Bible. There are many examples of preachers in history who could quote the Bible by heart. Jonathan Edwards, the first Great awakening preacher was one.
Unfortunately today, that is a rarity. I’ve seen a number of children’s pastors who will encourage their students to memorize a verse every week, but they don’t even know it. They read it off the screen. This shouldn’t be. Besides helping you teach and preach, memorizing Scripture will help you in your walk with God by hiding God’s Word in your heart.
You may not be great with memorization, but start where you are. If you have a verse or passage you are teaching each week, determine to memorize that verse. You’ll be amazed how much you’ll take in when you memorize in bite size pieces.
Here’s some methods online to help with memorization: