I often did not enjoy reading the Bible. The scripture seemed dry and the verses were just bouncing off my soul without going deep inside. And then I realized something:
I delight in the Word when I feel His presence.
So here are some tips to help you feel God’s presence while reading the Bible:
1. Set a block of time for reading
I know you are busy. You are not alone here. I have to wake up earlier in the morning to read my Bible. Having Bible reading on my calendar ensures that I get in the Word daily.
The reason I say set a block of time for it is because it takes some time of reading before you start feeling God’s presence. If you are constantly being distracted while reading your Bible you will not be likely to feel His presence.
I would recommend devoting at least 20-30 minutes for Bible reading every day. That’s around the time I need to feel God’s presence.
I would also recommend setting the time in the morning so that once you get connected to God you can maintain that state for the rest of the day. Why? Because we just need His power to help us go through the day.
2. Spend time with the Lord before reading
Before you read the Bible pray and calm down. I also like to put some relaxing instrumental music on the background to help me feel peace.
I ask God to fill me with His Spirit so that His light may shine through me today. Spending some time with the Lord before starting to read it is really important. Why?
Our primary purpose while reading the Bible should not be knowing more about God but knowing God.
If you study theology at university then never mind – you need to know the Bible. But if you are like most of us, reading your Bible daily as a part of your walk with Jesus, then the primary purpose of reading the Bible is not about becoming wiser but about building a relationship with Christ.
Ask Him to speak to you. Listen if He says something to you or directs you to a specific book of the Bible.
3. Have a Bible plan that brings you peace
I used a Bible plan where I had to meet daily page goals. And those goals just robbed me of all delight in the Word. I was stressed out and I had to rush though the pages. I felt no joy.
With that Bible plan my reading of the Word was more about meeting my reading goals rather than spending time in His presence and letting Him speak to me.
We read the Bible daily not to meet our reading goals but to meet Jesus.
So choose a plan that does not put too much pressure on you. If you do want to have daily page goals then dedicate more than enough time for reading so that you don’t have to rush through the pages and feel stressed out.
4. Color code the Bible in a meaningful for you way
I always love to highlight stuff when I read. So I would highlight the Bible with one-color marker. But it wasn’t really that effective. So I decided to experiment with color coding and it really made the whole Bible reading come alive to me.
So how does it work? I picked themes in the Bible that are really important and interesting to me. For example I am really interested in how a Christian should live. So I created a category called “Christian Living” and decided to highlight all the verses that were connected to how a Christian should live in green color – the color that I associate with growth.
So pick the themes that speak to you personally. Something that you are interested in and want to find out more about.
Color coding theme ideas :
Christian living – how you as a Christian should live.
Experiencing God – hearing God’s voice, feeling His presence, walking in the Spirit.
God’s character – something that helps you understand who God is as a person.
God’s promises – what God promises to you.
End times – what will happen in the end times.
Salvation – how to be saved.
Important – something you cannot classify in the above categories but you find important enough to highlight.
The are plenty of other themes in the Bible. So just pick the ones that speak to you most and stick to them. Remember that in some books of the Bible there will be more of one theme and in the other books there will be more of another theme. So just find different approaches on how you are going to highlight different sections of the Bible.
Don’t worry if you are not sure how to do it. It comes with experience. Experiment with it and see how it works for you.
5. Annotate the Bible
What really makes me feel His presence is when I start to think about a verse and annotate it. This just really makes the Bible relevant to my life and acting on the Bible really helps me to get tuned into God’s presence and be able to hear from Him.
For example I highlighted this verse on Christian living:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV, Romans 12.2).
My annotation would be:
I should not conform to the culture and instead let God transform me into a new person. Then I will be able to know what His will for my life is.
Just writing some kind of annotation (even if it is just a paraphrase of the verse) will help you to start thinking about the verse and it may help you to connect with God better.
Do you have any tips on how to enjoy reading the Bible? Share them in the comment section below – they might be really helpful to others!