The Bible is the living Word of God. It’s His love letter to humanity, containing instructions for living a blessed life. As Christians, reading the Bible is one of the most important things we can do. Through it, we grow closer to God, gain wisdom for life, and receive comfort in times of need.
However, simply opening up the Bible and reading is often not enough. To truly understand God’s Word, we need to prepare our hearts and minds to receive it. Here are some key things to do before diving into God’s Word each day:
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance
- Have a teachable spirit
- Clear your mind and get rid of distractions
- Have a plan and be consistent
- Meditate on verses
- Study with humility
- Apply what you read
Pray and Invite the Holy Spirit
Before reading the Bible, it’s essential to begin with prayer. Prayer helps focus our minds on God and invites the Holy Spirit to be our guide.
The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God and helps illuminate its truths to believers today (2 Timothy 3:16, John 14:26). When we pray before reading, we acknowledge our dependence on the Spirit to give us wisdom and understanding. This opens our hearts to receive from God.
Here is a simple prayer to pray before reading the Bible:
“Holy Spirit, thank you for inspiring the Word of God. As I read today, I invite you to be my teacher. Open the eyes of my heart to understand your truth. Give me wisdom and insight to apply what I read. Speak to me through these words. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Beginning with prayer sets our frame of mind in the right place to hear from God.
Have a Teachable Spirit
In addition to praying, it’s vital to approach the Bible with humility and a willingness to learn.
Many times we come to the Word with preconceived ideas or looking to justify our own opinions. This closes our minds off to what God wants to teach us through it.
Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV) says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”
Part of honoring God’s Word is coming to it with awe and wonder, anticipating His glory revealed in each verse. We should desire for the Bible to challenge us, change us, and teach us rather than only affirm what we already believe.
As James 1:19 (NKJV) advises, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Bringing a humble, listening spirit to God prepares us to absorb His wisdom.
Clear Your Mind and Remove Distractions
In today’s fast-paced world, focusing can be difficult. Our minds often feel cluttered with thoughts about work, family responsibilities, relationships, entertainment, and our never-ending to-do lists.
Trying to take in the Bible without first clearing our mental space is impossible. The concerns of the world will creep in and distract us from hearing God’s voice.
Before reading, take a few minutes to quiet your mind. This may involve intentionally laying down cares and worries at Jesus’ feet, taking deep breaths, playing worship music, or simply sitting in stillness.
As Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV) says, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Removing distractions prepares an open path to encounter God through the Word.
Have a Plan and Read Consistently
It’s easy to have good intentions to read the Bible but struggle to follow through consistently. Lack of routine and planning often leads to sporadic engagement with God’s Word.
Having a set time to read each day and utilizing a reading plan brings discipline and structure. This habit also cultivates the practice of regularly meeting with God in His Word.
In Joshua 1:8 (NKJV), God instructs Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” A daily Bible reading plan helps accomplish this.
Being consistent lays a foundation of God’s truth while keeping us spiritually nourished over the long term. Set a realistic goal for when and how much you will read each day. Partnering with a friend or group also brings accountability.
Meditate on What You Read
Simply skimming through a Bible passage is not enough. We need to intentionally stop and meditate on what we read.
Meditation involves focused reflection, asking questions, re-reading meaningful verses, or memorizing key truths that stand out. This cements God’s Word deep in our hearts, leading to revelation and transformation.
Psalm 119:15 (NKJV) declares this value of meditation: “I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.” Taking time to ponder and chew on Bible passages allows their significance to sink in.
It’s better to read a small amount thoughtfully than breeze through large sections without stopping to absorb their truth. Allow God’s Word to stir you emotionally and spark new insights through meditation.
Study with Humility
In addition to meditation, studying the context and background of Scripture passages brings greater understanding. Using study Bibles, commentaries, online resources, or church leaders can provide valuable insight.
However, it’s important to study God’s Word with humility rather than solely relying on intellectual analysis. Knowledge puffs up, but God’s truth edifies when received with reverence (1 Corinthians 8:1).
In Isaiah 66:2 (NKJV), God declares, “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” A poverty of spirit recognizes the Bible as sacred and approaches studying it with care and obedience.
Let God’s Word master you rather than the other way around. Even with study, maintain childlike awe that Scripture’s Author is the all-knowing, holy God.
Apply What You Read
The Bible’s goal is to transform our lives, not just inform us. Knowledge that doesn’t move us to action can result in deceiving ourselves that we are spiritually mature when our lives don’t reflect it.
James 1:22 (NKJV) exhorts, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Regularly ask yourself: How does this passage call me to think, act, or speak differently?
Seeking practical application keeps us from being only “hearers” of the Word rather than “doers.” Transformation occurs when by faith we follow through on applying biblical truth.
Approaching the Bible with eagerness yet thoughtfulness allows it to come alive and renew our minds. Through prayerfully reading, reflecting on, studying, and acting upon God’s Word, we open ourselves up to His voice and guidance.
Though the Bible is an ancient text, God can use its words to powerfully impact our lives today if we humbly commit to regularly receiving from Him through it. Setting the stage to encounter God before reading His Word makes all the difference.
When we do this, like the psalmist, we’ll proclaim: “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105 NKJV) God’s living truth will brighten our way.