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5 Tips to Help You Strengthen Your Bible Time

By: Bethany Beal

“I just love my personal devotion time. I get in my closet, fall on my knees, and praise the Lord. I treasure that time with Him. Me and God all alone. It’s the best part of my day. I couldn’t survive without it.”

As this sweet, older woman shared her heart about her personal devotions, I stood there wondering why I felt like she was speaking a foreign language.

I was sixteen years old. I had been a Christian for many years, memorized tons of Scripture, and read my Bible on a daily basis. Despite these “Christian credentials,” my personal devotions felt nothing like this sweet lady’s description of her own time.

Since then, I’ve gone through seasons of having awesome personal devotional times and seasons when my time with the Lord felt like wandering in the desert.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always wanted to have an incredibly impactful devotional time.

I love God. I’m so grateful for Jesus. I’m thankful for God’s Word. But despite having these desires, meaningful personal devotions have often been a struggle for me. Can you relate?

Maybe you (like me) desire to dig into God’s Word, meditate on Scripture, and pray powerful prayers. But (again, like me) you’re just not sure how to make it happen.

Five Tools You Need in Your Belt

I’ve learned that with a few simple tools in my belt I can make my personal devotion time one of meaning, connection, and revival. These tools have been transformational! They aren’t perfect, and they may not work for everyone, but they’ve helped me tremendously. Here are five tools to get the most out of your time with the Lord.

1. You Have to Open Your Bible 

It’s hard to have a deep and meaningful devotional time if you don’t include God’s Word in the process.

Hebrews 4:12 describes God’s Word this way: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Wow! The Bible is a powerful book. If you want to hear from God, run to His Word! Blogs about God’s Word aren’t a good replacement. (Not even this one!) Neither is a quick glimpse of a pretty passage on Pinterest. Grab your Bible. Open it, and dig in!

2. Prepare your heart

I noticed that my personal devotion time is often started in a frenzy. I wake up, open my Bible, try to keep my mind focused, read a chapter or two, close the Bible, and forget everything I just read. Sound familiar?

I noticed a big difference in my ability to focus when I started preparing my heart and calming myself at the start of my devotional time. I like to prepare my heart by listening to a hymn or singing a praise song. I find that doing this helps me to get my mind focused on God and quiets my frenzied heart.

3. Pick a book of the Bible, and finish it

I’ve found that flipping open to a certain passage and just reading whatever my eyes land on doesn’t set me up for success in growing in knowledge and wisdom. I highly recommend picking a specific book of the Bible and taking your time to read through that book.

James, John, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Peter are all great places to start. I typically put a bookmark in the book I’m reading and move it back as I read through the chapters. It’s a simple tool that keeps me from reading randomly.

4. Grab a study guide

Bible study guides can be very, very helpful in provoking thought and forcing you to dig deeper. I’ve been hugely blessed by Bible study guides that have taken my meager understanding of Scripture to a deeper level.

I highly recommend John MacArthur’s Bible study book guides. The guides take you through entire books of the Bible, include his commentary, and ask probing questions to help you understand the Bible passages in a deeper way.

5. Bring your journal and a pen

Having a journal by my side during my personal devotional time has been a game-changer for me. I love to pause my Bible reading and write down verses that stand out, record prayers that come to mind, write out praises, and just journal my heart and thoughts as they relate to what I’m reading.

Making it Personal 

Which of the five tips did you find most helpful, and why? Do you have any other tips for having a deep and meaningful devotional time?

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16 Responses to 5 Tips to Help You Strengthen Your Bible Time

  1. Sandra says:

    First of all: thank you for this wonderful blogpost!

    I tried to read the Bible just like you discribe is up here: just read it and when I closed it, I totally forgot what I read. So last week I started reading the Bible from scratch. I bought a few thin writing books, and try to understand what is written. I write down passages I like or I believe God wants me to know, but also the history – like why did this and this happen? Because my parents don’t believe, I haven’t had the studies and lessons to get to know the Bible like kids from christian families have. Sometimes it is frustrating, but I also think I can step into it open minded. I have to say I would love to totally understand the Bible, but I haven’t found any good Bible study books in Dutch. And the John MacArthur study books you discribe, I can’t find them in a Dutch (web)shop. I keep looking :o) Anyhow, thank you for the suggestion!

  2. Kiera says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I just got up this morning and saw this right before I opened my Bible for my Bible time. Your tips were wonderful. I’ve done most of them off and on, but I’m sure it would help if I did them all and did them consistently.
    I was needing a post like this.
    Thank you again!
    Your sister in Christ,

  3. Hannah G. says:

    I’ve found that memorizing is critical. I don’t have a successful Bible study unless I’m memorizing. I’ve heard all kinds of excuses why you can’t memorize “I don’t have time” “I have a bad memory”; the list goes on! Make time. Your memory will get better with memorizing. Really. Even if it’s just one verse a week (when I say this, I mean that you’re consistently working on your verse every day, not doing it once a week), what’s important is that you’re really mediating on the word of God. And, reciting your verses to unbelievers is a great way for them to hear the Word of God!

  4. Dawn says:

    Before you begin reading, pray Psalm 119:18. “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous thing out of thy law.” It really helps!

  5. Megan says:

    Thank you SO much for this!! I’ve just been really struggling with being motivated and consistent in my Bible reading; and this really helped! Thank you so much!

  6. Hailey says:

    Thank you for the study guide suggestions. I need something like that to help me focus. The first tip, open your Bible, was probably my favorite!! Man, I try to get my Bible time consistent but it’s hard!

  7. Sherri Troyer says:

    First of all I wanna say I love yalls blog..and 2nd of all I so needed to hear this!! My devotions are a rollercoaster of “I learned so much” to “what did I just read”…thank you 🙂

  8. Elisabeth says:

    Thanks Love these Tips!!So helpful!!I would add make a regular prayer list and time too!Which I’m trying to do.

  9. Heather Emma Marie England says:

    Number 2 definitely stood out to me! I feel like when I go in my closet to have that one on in time it can be rush and I don’t actually focus on what I’m reading.
    I will definitely take this advice and slow down and take a minute to focus my thoughts on Him 🙂

  10. Gemma says:

    This is awesome advice! I have a problem though that I wondered if someone could help me with: I don’t have a closet, I have a cupboard that has shelves and still doesn’t have doors (thanks Dad) and I live in a house with 7 other people, sharing a bedroom with like 0 time alone, except for when I go for a shower, and there’s sometimes someone banging on the door to get out haha. Help! Where can I read my Bible?

    • Anna says:

      Maybe there’s another place near to you…library or something, or in the summer or whenever it’s nice weather outside, you could go find a place outside

  11. Aimee says:

    I really like what you said about blogs and Pinterest scriptures not being a replacement for reading the Bible. Reading ABOUT God is not the same as reading God’s Word. I like to read blogs as a replacement for secular literature. I LOVE to read, so much so that it has actually been a stumbling block for me, and so I’m trying to read more of the Bible and God-centered literature. This blog has been very helpful for me in this way, and I appreciate both of you for writing it and choosing to honor God through it. 🙂

  12. Anna says:

    I really love number 2 too, also there’s something else I do to prepare my heart and I highly recommend it, because in most of the cases it works for me. I’m hungarian and in a hungarian song there’s a line: Whist in my heart the sorrows, joys and desires. And before I start my quiet time I just pray like this, Lord, please give this and this and this sorrow away from my heart, also these joys and desires, and I’m very certain, I literally make a list in my head like what kind of sorrows, joys and desires I have right now which can make my thoughts wander away from the Lord’s word and what He wants me to say…And it really helps me to actually get rid of those certain things for the time that I spend with Him.

  13. Deborah Huh says:

    Which of the five tips did you find most helpful, and why? You have to open your bible because that is the hardest part to do when you want to read the bible and delve into God’s word. I sometimes struggle with this when I don’t feel like reading the Bible. Do you have any other tips for having a deep and meaningful devotional time?
    Some tips could be to read one chapter of a book for each book everyday. I love doing this and it has made reading the Bible much more fun!

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