Reading Time: 4 min 53 sec
I closed the door and sank into my favorite chair, my mind spinning. “Okay,” I thought. “I’ll have devotions, get ready, then the bank, grocery store, and return the library books.” I grabbed my Bible and turned to the next chapter and started to read.
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you….”
“I forgot I need to meal plan. Augh. Another thing to add to the list.” I can feel my stress level start to rise as my list of to-dos’ get longer. “I can do this. I just need to focus.” I pull my attention back to the Bible. This time I make it through a half a verse before I’m thinking about what meals would work with our schedule for the upcoming week.
I pull my attention back to the page for a third time, feelings of guilt overwhelming me. I want to invest in my relationship with Jesus, but today (okay, most days) feel like a train wreck. I want to be focused, but it feels like there are so many other things screaming for my attention. If it’s not the to-do list, then it’s the kids clamoring for attention.
Why is it that I just can’t seem to focus? I know I should enjoy reading the Bible: but it just feels painful at times. What am I doing wrong? After several attempts, I give up and tell myself that I will try another day. After all, how meaningful could this time with Jesus be when I am so distracted?
Have you ever experienced a hard time concentrating when you read scripture? If so, here are five quick tips to help you focus when you read the Bible.
Bible For Beginners: Rhythm
Bible For Beginners: Heart
Bible For Beginners: Tools
Bible For Beginners: Experience
Bible For Beginners: Community
1. Bible For Beginners: Set Your Rhythm
The first tip is to find a rhythm to meet with Jesus. There is a distinct difference mentally between fitting Bible reading into the cracks of your day and planning your day around time with Jesus.
Every day I have two or three big rocks that I plan my day around. These are my top priorities that directly reflect my values. For me, daily spending time with Jesus is a big rock.
Finding a daily rhythm is crucial to accomplishing these values. What this means is that instead of being time-based (devotions at 8:30 am), I focus on the first thing on my list. When it’s complete, I move on to the next big rock. When the baby cries, the dog doesn’t stop barking, or I overslept, I don’t automatically miss my window for spending time with Jesus.
What are your two-three big rocks? If nothing else happens in your day, but you accomplish these things, your actions will reflect your overall values for life.
2. Bible For Beginners: Prepare Your Heart
Tip number two is all about preparing your heart before you spend time in God’s word. What this is all about is eliminating any possible distractions. This step is so important to spending quality time with Jesus.
“It is a hallow feeling to be in the company of someone with whom we long to have a satisfying personal exchange, only to watch hope dissolve as the time together is drained by superficial chatter or surface distractions.”-Richard Foster
Write down a quick list of the thoughts your mind is dwelling on. This could be to-do’s, parenting issues, or upcoming activities. This activity gives us the freedom to not have to remember the myriad of thoughts rolling around in our heads.
Pray and invite God into this time. Ask him to help you to be present to him as he is ever-present to you. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read God’s word and pray.
3. Bible For Beginners: Change Your Tool
The ways we connect with God might need to change to fit the different seasons of our lives. You might enjoy journaling, and then you reach a season where it feels dry and lifeless. This is a completely normal part of your journey into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
You might want to try meeting with Jesus by listening to his word read aloud, trying a new devotional, or watching scripture unfold through a movie. You can always pick up journaling, or Bible study, etc. again in the future.
The Visual Bible is a great alternative to reading scripture. These movies give a verse by verse account of Matthew and Acts. They are powerful and provide a fresh way to connect with God’s word.
4. Bible For Beginners: Experience God
The Bible is the living, breathing word of God. When we spend time in scripture, it is an active, not passive activity. Richard Foster explains it like this, “Reading the Bible for spiritual transformation is not a one-sided endeavor: it is a dialogue of human spirit and Holy Spirit.”
We are not just reading the Bible to acquire more information about God; we read it to experience his living word. Scripture has the power to transform our hearts and lives when we surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit.
We can engage in God’s word by reading slowly and prayerfully. The goal is not to finish the chapter or the book but to allow the Holy Spirit to use God’s word to transform our souls.
5. Bible For Beginners: Life In Community
Engaging in God’s word was not supposed to be a solitary activity. We were designed by God to live life together in community. We need a strong support system to encourage us when we are frustrated, discouraged, and unmotivated.
We need others to come alongside us and cover us in prayer. A community of faith is mission-critical to our growth as followers of Jesus. Here are three ways you can live life together in a community with others.
1. Participate (not just attend) in the life of a local church
2. Participate in a small group (typically found at your local church)
3. Are you hungry to know and experience a deeper relationship with God? Do you dream of participating in an authentic community, where together you encourage one another, in your relationship with Jesus? If so, join our waitlist for the Deeper Life Community. While you wait, you will receive for FREE our Deeper Life Beginners Guide and will be the first to know when registration opens. Grab your guide today!
The five tools for reading our Bible when we just can’t focus are: finding our rhythm, preparing our hearts, changing our tools, experiencing God, and living life in community with others.
What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to reading the Bible? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!
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