By Brandon Lemons
I am currently leading a Sunday-morning class called “Habits of Grace,” which highlights habits and disciplines we can work into our lives to help us enjoy God and grow in Christlikeness. For the past two weeks, we have been discussing how to get Scripture into our lives. This has led to a couple reflections I’d like to share.
First, I have been reminded of the importance of getting Scripture into our lives.
All of us are bombarded daily by countless messages from a variety of sources – TV, internet, books and magazines, social media, advertisements, conversations, memories, our internal desires and doubts, and more! These all have the potential to shape our attitude, words, and actions, along with our values and priorities.
Although the apostle Paul lived in a different era with fewer media options, he still knew the power of external sources to shape a person’s life. This is why he wrote in Romans 12:2, “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.”
The best way to renew our minds is to internalize God’s Word as revealed in the Bible. The Bible is our God-given source of trustworthy, transformative truth (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
So if we are serious about enjoying God and growing in Christlikeness, we must get Scripture into our lives and let Scripture be the primary influence that shapes us.
Second, I have been reminded of the many beneficial methods of getting Scripture into our lives.
In the "Habits of Grace" class, it has been clear that there isn’t one “right” way to get Scripture into our lives. There are a variety of methods, and it is important to figure out what will work best for us. Here are a handful of the ideas that have arisen from our discussions.
Schedule time to read Scripture, especially in the morning – even by getting up earlier than is otherwise necessary.
Read from at least two parts of Scripture at a time – such as a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament each day. This tactic can be helpful because if one part seems dry one day, the other part is likely to be more engaging.
After you read a section of Scripture, identify a verse or a few verses that stick out to you. Invest a few minutes into meditating on that section by writing out the relevant verse(s), along with writing your thoughts, questions, and take-away points from that section of Scripture. Pray and ask God to help you understand and apply the verse(s). These tactics help us process and internalize what we are reading.
If you are finding the Bible to be difficult to understand, use a “study Bible,” which includes notes on each verse/passage that explain what is taking place.
Memorizing at a least a few key Bible verses is valuable, because having them memorized helps us reflect on them during the day, especially during key moments when they are particularly relevant. There are many methods of memorization, and a simple one is to write the verse on a note card and recite it once each day.
Smartphone apps like YouVersion can help by providing resources such as Bible reading plans and an audio Bible.
Speaking of audio Bibles, if your mind drifts or you tend to fall asleep while reading, it can be helpful to listen to an audio Bible recording while visually following along in a Bible. This method can help you stay focused.
The most important thing is to find a way to consistently get Scripture into your life and allow it to shape your attitude, words, and actions, along with your values and priorities.
For me, the "Habits of Grace" class has been refreshing as we have focused on the foundational habit patterns that can help us enjoy God and can truly transform our life. Author Donald Whitney wrote, “No spiritual discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word.” I completely agree. Busyness and distraction easily get in the way, but if we are serious about “training ourselves to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7) and enjoying God, investing in habit patterns like getting Scripture into our life is vital.