Although I love to study the Bible, I have to admit that I’m a bit like Dug, the speaking dog in the 2009 animated movie Up. He often stopped in the middle of conversations, jerking his head to one side or the other and announcing “Squirrel!”
In other words, I am easily distracted. I can be in the midst of a fascinating study, but if I hear my wife rattling around in the kitchen, I immediately begin to wonder what wonderful treat she is preparing. Obviously, that can be problematic for someone who wants to dig deep into Scripture. So what’s the solution? For me, it’s a regular time and place to interact with God through His Word.
I intentionally get out of bed well before my wife does simply because I can focus better in a house and neighborhood that has not yet thrown off the still of the night. I first make my way to our Keurig to brew a cup of coffee, and then I head to my study. I’ve come to think of this time away from the rest of life’s distractions as having coffee with God.
Make a Commitment!
I mean no disrespect by that sentiment. On the contrary, I treasure the time alone poring over the pages of my Bible, searching through a volume from my biblical encyclopedia, looking into one of my atlases, and chasing down facts that can shed a little more light on whatever passage I’m studying. I look forward to this time in the morning, cup in hand, that I can listen to the voice of God.
You may not be as easily distracted as I am, but I can assure you that you will not benefit as much from your personal Bible study as you can until you have set aside a time and place for it. There is no one solution that is right for everyone, though. You’ll have to discover what works best for you. What’s important is making a commitment to study, and that begins with setting aside a regular time and a regular place, and then sticking to the routine.
Believe it or Not, I’m Not a Morning Person!
When I was a young man, the very idea of waking up before the sun rose was as repugnant to me as eating spinach or collard greens! No, pizza and snooze alarms for me!
Sadly, I deceived myself for years, asserting that I was by nature a night person. I claimed that I would get more out of my Bible study in the evenings because that’s when I was most alert. The trouble is, other interests pushed my Bible study aside far too frequently. A friend would spontaneously suggest we get together, or something wonderful would be on TV, or I’d be wrapped up in something that began earlier in the day.
The point is, it was too easy for me to skip my Bible study because some other pressing need came up. “Tomorrow will be different,” I continually told myself, but far too many tomorrows were just the same. My study languished until I admitted that for me, morning would be best, not because I’m a morning person, but because for me, personally, putting God first means first thing in the morning. You might be different, and that’s great. Just remember, pick a time and a place, stay committed, and never allow anything to come between you and God.
One More Thing
If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance that you give thanks before your meals. That’s wonderful, but have you ever considered giving thanks – and even asking a blessing – before your own personal study? After all, steak and potatoes nourish only the body. God’s Word does much more!
When I stop to think about the sacrifices made by so many men and women, who through the centuries gave their lives to translate the Bible, or to preserve it from hostile authorities, I realize all over again how blessed I am to have my own Bible, and to have the freedom to study it. Try beginning your study by giving God thanks for the opportunity, and then ask Him to bless your efforts to get to know Him better!