Do you ever feel like reading or studying the Bible is boring? Like you just can’t seem to focus and you’re not getting anything out of it? I have definitely felt this way a lot and here are some handy things that I have found useful in the past few years to help me get over that bump and really begin to enjoy the Bible.
1. Read out loud
Reading out loud is a great way to stay focused on what you are reading. Often when we read in our heads we don’t realise what we are reading. Our brains tend to tune out and start skimming the words without actually processing them. Reading aloud helps avoid this by actively engaging all three learning styles- auditory, visual, and kinaesthetic. Our eyes see the words, mouths makes the sounds, and our ears hear them. This gives your brain three sources of input rather than only one and allows it to better process the information that it is receiving.
Reading aloud also brings more life and feeling to the words. Try to avoid reading in monotone just to read out loud. Read with expression! Find the passion in the words and feel it. Through doing so, you’re able to understand the meaning in the scripture that you are reading. You’re allowing yourself to be engaged in what the Bible is trying to say by giving it emotions.
Repeat back what you have just read. Try to stay true to what the Bible is saying and make short summaries using only words found in what you just read, rather than your own. Get creative with your summaries! Try limiting your word count to make you truly look for the main point.
3. Colour it!
Colouring in your Bible can help you read more carefully. Choose what words to colour and assign a colour to each. Some helpful things to colour are names, places, and repeated words in a passage. Looking at these things can help show you what is happening in a passage, see things that may get overlooked, such as places, and outline the main idea.
4. Know the storyline of the book
It is much easier to understand what is going on in a moment if you know the context of what it’s talking about – especially being aware of what happened before. Knowing the overarching story of a book can help makes sense of events, feelings, and ideas that may come up in what you’re studying.
The Bible Project is a great resource for this as they have video summaries for all the books of the Bible. They also have some really good video studies on themes and words in the Bible, and even how to read the bible.
5. Look up some historical background and geography
The Bible is a collection of events that happened to, and words spoken by, real people, in real places, in real history! When we understand what was happening in the world at that time, we can better understand why things happened the way they did and peoples reactions to those things. Some great questions to ask are: Who is involved (person in the story, author, recipient, etc)? When did this happen? Where did it happen? What was life like in that place at that time (religion, politics, etc)?
6. Get Creative!
Draw, paint, sing, dance -however you process best- make sense of what you are reading. If you can’t picture it in your brain, put it on paper, in song, or act it out. This is a great tool to help picture what is going on as well as get it into your brain for remembering purposes.
Get into the mind of the people in the story, the person who wrote the story, or the person hearing the story. Think what they thought. Feel what they felt. Only once you understand what it meant to them, can you accurately see what it means for you.
8. Now do it.
Ask God what you can take away from what you have studied and how you can live it out. Make a measurable plan to implement what you have learned into your daily life and walk with God. Study not just to gain knowledge but to transform your life!
Written by Caitlin Friesen,
YWAM Newcastle Bible Core Course Staff