Last year we asked you to share your thoughts and challenges with us in our annual Lifeway Women survey. In the coming months, our team is going to work together to help you overcome some of the Bible study roadblocks you shared with us.
So much to do, so little time!
If you’re like me, you feel like you’re constantly on the run. From the moment my alarm goes off in the morning, I feel like my to-do list is already overflowing into tomorrow. How will I ever make time for everything? Did I remember to feed the dog last night? Oh, and I forgot to reply to that email about serving at church on Sunday! It’s so easy to get caught up in the crazy rhythm of life. Some days, you may feel like you’re treading water just trying to stay afloat. With everything on our plates these days, how do we make Bible study a priority? Who has time to sit in silence for a glorious full hour in the mornings? (If you’re one of those people who naturally wakes up before the sun for Bible study, please share your secrets in the comments!)
Amid all the crazy, one thing that is close to my heart is encouraging others to make time every. single. day. to walk with the Lord through His Word. Making time for Christ is such an important part of our relationship with Him. Sadly, it’s also so easy to make excuses. At times I’ve told myself (and others), “I just don’t have the time,” or “Maybe in a few months when I have more time.” However, one thing I know is that every hour has 60 minutes, every day has 24 hours, and every year has 365 days (OK—I see you leap year), and no matter how hard I try, I’m not going to be able to create more time.
Even on our busiest days, we find time for the things that are important to us. Here’s the reality: knowing God through His Word is important. Now, I’m not by any means trying to shame you into feeling guilty about how you spend your time. (If anything, I’m writing to myself here). In my twenty-five years of walking with the Lord, I can look back and see the difference in the years when I was growing, learning, and allowing God to work in my life. These years bear a stark contrast to the years when I was “just too busy” and so consumed with my life that I missed out on the fullness and the blessings the Lord had for me through Scripture. God’s Word is alive and active. It penetrates even the dividing soul and spirit; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (See Heb. 4:12). I pray that each day we would allow God’s Word to mold and shape our lives and our thoughts into His image.
Unfortunately, desiring something doesn’t necessarily make it easy. If you’re looking for ways to overcome the roadblock of time in your Bible study life, here is what I’ve learned:
Start by evaluating how you are spending your time. Take a piece of paper and map out your day. How much time do you spend on each activity? Take a look at patterns and trends in how you spend your time. Does the way you spend your time match up with your priorities?
Next, think about your priorities. If we find time for the things that are important to us, ask the Lord to help you make growing in your relationship with Him a priority. Remember Newton’s first law of motion? An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. You can expand that truth to say that an object in motion stays in motion at a constant speed and direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.1
In that same way, our spiritual life either moves forward, or we stay in the same place. If we are moving forward in our walk with the Lord but not allowing His Word to be the “unbalanced force” challenging us and moving us closer to Him, we’re missing out in a big way.
Start small. It’s okay to make tiny changes as you shift your priorities to make bigger changes. Start making a change in small increments. Try ten to fifteen minutes in the morning, an hour with a group once a week. Trade an hour of social time or mealtime to read Scripture and do Bible study. This time can go a long way to get you started. Give yourself grace and allow yourself to have time to grow. Ten to fifteen minutes here and there adds up at the end of the week!
Still looking for creative ways to carve out time and make Bible study a priority?
- Find a designated time and place for Scripture study. For me, that means setting a reminder on my phone’s calendar so I have a reserved and scheduled time for Scripture each day.
- Keep all your Bible study tools in one place. I love a clean house, but I’ve learned I’m much more likely to make time for Bible study when all my study tools are together and in a highly visible place.
- Use a guide. When I was younger I loved that old trick of letting my Bible fall open and reading whatever pages it opened to. However, I have learned that this is not the best way to remain consistent in Scripture. Try using a devotional, a magazine, a Bible reading plan, or a Bible study to help get you started. (Perhaps join me as we read through Scripture this year with our 2021 chronological “Know His Word” reading plan!)
- Go at your own pace. One of the hardest things I remember doing was trying to complete a very extensive Bible study while I was in college and working part time. I’d show up to group meetings feeling overwhelmed and behind, and eventually I just stopped going. Give yourself grace. I didn’t have to finish everything all in one day. (I wish twenty-one-year-old me had known that.) Allow God to work in you and don’t focus on getting “done” or keeping up with others in your group.
- Do Bible study with a friend or a small group. Not only will this help hold you accountable, but it will allow you to hear how God’s Word is working in the lives of those around you. Even if you fall behind, don’t quit, you can still share insight from the study and learn from others.
- Take it with you. Most of us carry this amazing little device around with us everywhere we go—your cell phone presents a great opportunity to dig into Scripture anywhere, anytime! Download a Bible app or the Lifeway Women app and do a devotional or reading plan while you’re on the go. Don’t be ashamed about taking your Bible study with you. One of the most powerful Gospel conversations I ever had was when I took my Bible study with me to a waiting room and a stranger asked me questions. Pulling out your Bible or opening an app is just as easy as opening Instagram®.
I hope you will join me in making Bible study a priority in your life this year and each year moving forward. I’d love to hear from you! How do you make time for Bible study? What encouragement do you have for someone who is not sure where to start?
Juliana Wilson is the Social Media and Influencer Marketing Specialist for Lifeway Women. She is passionate about encouraging women and girls to dig into God’s Word and pursue an active relationship with Christ every day. Juliana loves Instagram-worthy ice cream, coffee dates, and traveling with her husband, Ben. (You can look for them on the upcoming season of American Ninja Warrior!) You can follow their adventures on Instagram® with #WhereInTheWorldAreTheWilsons
1. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Newton’s laws of motion,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, July 20, 1998, accessed February 9, 2020, https://www.britannica.com/science/Newtons-laws-of-motion.