Jesus Has Taken the Wheel…Bible Detour
One of my prayers during my most recent 21 days of praying and fasting was for God to continue to speak to me about my time in His Word. It’s changed a few times this year to the point where I was beginning to doubt if I was reading and studying the right books. But my biggest advice about reading and studying God’s Word is to let the Holy Spirit lead you when it comes to which book and passages to study and what that will look like for you.
Listening to the Nudge
I’ve mentioned before how I knew that God had been calling me deeper into His Word for years now. And this year, I felt like I finally got it right when I started reading chronologically again starting in Judges. But then I felt a nudge for more. Which is when I jumped on to reading the Gospels each month. But after doing that for a month and some change, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel like I was really learning anything or retaining anything. And that’s with the fact that I have read the Gospels half a dozen times.
One Psalm a day
When I went to God in prayer, I felt the nudge to start reading a Psalm a day. I began to do that, and I can totally see why God wanted me there. The focus on praise and remembering the good works that God has already done for me was something I needed in my day to day life. To be honest, I didn’t really know how to praise God myself. I could sing the lyrics to worship songs. But I didn’t really know any of the characteristics of God or His attributes for myself to praise Him honestly. So reading one Psalm a day really allows me to see that the psalmist was most of the time starting with praising God for who He is or remembering God for what He has done. During my reading, I now make a God list where I write down all the characteristics and attributes of God. Doing this allows me to recall them during prayer.
Knowing that this is how wisdom literature is, I decided that in this rotation would be the book of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, and Lamentations. But believe it or not, something still felt like it was missing.
The Bigger Picture
When you are doing 21 days of praying and fasting, you tend to run out of things to pray about. I couldn’t think beyond my same ten requests. But I believe that God doesn’t mind me repeating myself especially when it comes to my hunger and thirst for Him.
So after going to Him again about my Bible, I felt like He started to give me a little bit of the bigger picture.
The bigger picture of me reading a Psalm each day was praising God and having gratitude.
The reason I wanted to read the Gospels was to remind myself of the Good News each day. So while I have read each Gospel (especially John) repeatedly, I decided to add the book of Acts and Revelation to that rotation. I can really focus on Jesus and not only His first coming, but His second coming.
I thought that my reading was complete there but then on September first, right at midnight, I felt this strong urge to pray to God. I started praying in the Spirit since I wasn’t sure what I should have been praying about. I turned on some worship music, and I just sat in God’s presence. It seemed like September was going to be a big month. Then I felt like God was telling me to add Isaiah to my reading. And while reading one chapter a day, I’ve been able to see the warnings that God was giving His people, and quite honestly, a lot of it could compare to today. When I finish Isaiah, I think I’m going to end up reading one chapter a day from the Prophets.
This time it wasn’t me going to God but Him coming to me. I’m thankful that my time in His Word also allows me to be sensitive to His voice.
I realized that my study time needed to change, as well. I was taking in the Old Testament teachings by studying Judges, but I really need to know and understand the New Testament teachings as well. After all, that is what helps me deepen my relationship with God and live a life that hopefully imitates Christ. I will also do this chronologically, and that starts with James. This way, I am still only studying passages and not really a whole chapter like I do when I read.
Just to recap what that looks like, every day, I will read three chapters from the Bible:
- one from the wisdom literature (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, or Lamentations),
- one from the Prophets (Isaiah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micha, Naum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, or Malachi),
- and one from the Gospels, Acts, or Revelation.
This gives me praise, gratitude, warnings, and wisdom from the old testament. And also, time with Jesus and the Holy Spirit recounting His first coming and preparing for His second coming.
My study time will be reading one passage chronological from both:
- the remaining books of the Old Testament, continuing in Judges (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth, 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, 1st Kings, 2nd Kings, 1st Chronicles, 2nd Chronicles, Esther, and Job).
- the rest of the New Testament, starting with James (Romans, 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st Thessalonians, 2nd Thessalonians, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1st Peter, 2nd Peter, 1st John, 2nd John, 3rd John, and Jude).
As I have learned with what I have done so far in Judges, this is prolonged studying because of all of the different meanings, context clarifications, and cross-references that I look up. I’m still working on what this will look like, so I don’t get bored or complacent with what I am studying. But this is also where I will intentionally take my time. I’m learning about who God is, what great things He has done in the past for people who are unworthy just like me. And this is where I dive deep into application. How can I change my ways or life to better live out a passage?
I know it can seem like I am all over the place this year when it comes to my Bible time. But I will repeat it, the most important thing to do is follow the Holy Spirit when it comes to this. He knows your heart and what it needs to live like Christ. I am a huge nerd, and not only can I handle juggling five different readings, but I thrive being busy. If left with too much idle time, I become the laziest person. I don’t want that, and God doesn’t either.
It’s also important not to be afraid to go to God about your time with Him. If something doesn’t feel right or it feels forced, take your concerns to Him. He wants you to seek Him, meditate on His Word, hunger, and thirst for Him. If you are struggling with that, tell Him! Your Bible time may not look like mine, your mothers, your pastors, your best friends, or the carefully curated Instagram influencers account. And that is okay. I had to break out of the habit of my time with God being forced to look like other peoples. I had to get over feeling nerdy because I could literally spend hours in His Word, yet I wasn’t seeing other people doing the same. Guess what? Man is not your judge! You are doing this to build your relationship with YOUR Abba, Father. Allow Him to tell you what that should look like, not the world.
I hope that you can get something from this post today. Thanks for hanging with me as I let Jesus take the wheel of my reading and study time!