Setting the Menu
By Peter Amsterdam, adapted
Christians who are interested in spiritual growth recognize that spending time taking in and absorbing God’s Word is of utmost importance. It is within the Bible that we learn about God’s love for humanity, Jesus’ message, and how to live in harmony with God and our fellow human beings.
Setting aside daily time to read the Bible provides the opportunity to connect with God each day. It opens us up to receiving His instruction, guidance, and help through life’s problems and difficulties. It reminds us of the moral code upon which we try to fashion our lives and provides us with guidance when we are faced with decisions. It’s a key element for those who seek to be like Jesus, because it is in the Bible that we hear His teaching, see the example of His love, and are introduced to the relationship with His Father that His sacrifice has opened up for us.
Each day we are flooded with a barrage of input from a wide variety of delivery systems that try to influence us in one direction or another. Taking time daily to read what God has said provides a way to navigate through the maelstrom of input that we are faced with. It enhances our spiritual ability to discern truth and falsehood. It makes it easier to keep our hearts centered on those things which are important, to living lives of true happiness, inner peace, and alignment with God and His will. It helps us to survive and overcome all that life brings our way. (See Matthew 7:24–25) Abiding in God’s Word brings us in regular contact with His Spirit. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63 ESV)
Carving out the time to read daily is no easy task—it requires self-discipline. Like the workouts and training that maintain our physical conditioning and improve our performance, taking regular time to read God’s Word will strengthen your spirit and make you a stronger Christian—one who is grounded in God’s truth and love. The connection you’ll develop with God will help you be Spirit-led in your daily interactions with others, in your decision making, and in your ability to stay strong in the face of temptations.
There is no specific formula for how much you need to read daily or what portions of the Bible you should read. The key is setting aside the time to do it and then sticking to it even on busy days. Finding and following a Bible reading plan of some kind can help you persevere with your reading and forge ahead when you find yourself in the more difficult portions of Scripture. It may also be helpful to use a contemporary translation that you’re comfortable with.
Ideally, you should try to read when your day is the most free from distractions, perhaps early in the morning before your day begins or late at night when all is winding down. The quietness and absence of activity around you facilitates meditating on what you’re reading. And if you can’t carve out some quiet time, you can still read on the run, in whatever time opens up for you—or listen to the Bible in audio form as you go. It’s a fight to keep your commitment to read and study God’s Word, but doing so will make a difference in your life.
When you read the Bible or listen to others expound on it, think about what you’re reading. If a passage stands out to you, read it again. Think about it; ask yourself why it stood out and what God might be trying to tell you through it. He desires to speak to each of us directly, and by meditating on what we read, we create the opportunity for His Word to speak to our hearts. Take the time to commune deeply with God through His Word. It will change your life.
By Charles Spurgeon, adapted
There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We would be better Christians if we were alone more, waiting upon God, and gathering spiritual strength for His service through meditation on His Word. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nourishment out of them.
Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but it is by digestion that the food becomes assimilated. Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it.
Let this be our resolve: “I will meditate on Your precepts.” (Psalm 119:15)
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