Dear daughter of mine,
There is one thing you can do that will make a more significant impact in your life as a woman than anything else in the world:
Read and learn to love God’s Word. There’s no greater treasure that’s been given to you than your Bible. It is God’s letter to you. When you read it you will begin to understand His indescribable love for you. It is God’s life manual for you. When you read His words, He will open the eyes of your heart to the perfect plan He has lovingly designed for your life.
If you spend time in church and around Christians you’ll hear much talk about reading and studying your Bible. It’s a large book so it’s easy to get overwhelmed and confused about where to begin. Please don’t let the thousands of bible studies, reading methods, devotional books, online bibles, bible apps on your phone, audio bibles and every other imaginable bible resource keep you doing this simple, simple thing:
Pick up your Bible, open the pages and read it. Every. Single. Day.
Why? God’s Word is the single most important thing that will sustain you through every minute, day, year and season of your life. His Word will give you light and comfort when you walk through dark valleys, sustain you in the hardest times, teach you what to do in every possible life circumstance, give you wisdom for the most complex situations imaginable, show you how to follow Jesus, and (most importantly) your bible will help you learn to know and love God.
As time goes on I know that you will have access to many wonderful resources that will help study your bible, and I encourage you to use them. But for now, I simply want to share with you five primary ways I’ve grown familiar with God’s word over the years. These are things that have helped me learn to love and know God’s word, and I know they will help you to do the same.
- Follow a one-year reading plan for your Bible. You can purchase a “One Year Bible” which makes it very simple to read through your bible in a year’s time, or you can follow a printed plan and use the bible you already own. Either way, this is an excellent way to become familiar with God’s word, and it will help you develop the habit and discipline of reading it every day. Decide on a time that works well for you, and stick with it. Read your bible every day, and don’t feel guilty when you miss a day. Just start back up again, right where you left off.
- Read through the Psalms and Proverbs monthly. This is my personal favorite! There are 150 chapters in the book of Psalms and 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs, so it is very simple to read through the entire book of Psalms and Proverbs every month. Here’s how it’s done: On the first day of the month, read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91 and 121. On the second day Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92 and 122 – and so on. When a month has thirty-one days, read the longest Psalm: chapter 119, on the 31st. And as for the book of Proverbs: read Proverbs 1 on the first day, 2 on the second day, and so on.
- Write in your bible. As you read the Word, underline, highlight and/or circle words, verses and passages that stand out to you. If a question or revelation about something you’re reading comes to mind, make note of it in the margin of your bible. Take your bible with you to church and do the same thing while you’re following along your pastor’s teaching. Also be sure to write the date beside the main passage your pastor is preaching from, so that if you ever want to access the podcast of that sermon you can find it easily. As you continue to read through your Bible over the years, you will treasure the notes you left for yourself!
- Pray before you read your bible. Here’s a simple prayer from John Piper that will help you prepare your heart as you read God’s word. You can write in the front of your bible to help you remember it:
Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive.
Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word.
Unite my heart to fear your name.
Satisfy me with your steadfast love.
- Write down verses that are special to you. As you read through your bible on a regular basis you will come across verses that make an impression on your heart. When this happens, don’t let that verse fall to the wayside never to be remembered again. Do one of two things: Keep a journal where you write these special verses down, or keep a little box with index cards handy, and write each of these verses on a card (with the date), and put it in the box. Over the years, this special, personal collection of verses will become one of your greatest treasures, and you can pull it out and read through the verses any time you need encouragement.
Remember there are people in other areas of the world who don’t have the privilege of having a Bible. Never take reading it for granted. It is a precious gift in your hands. Don’t complain about not feeling, knowing or hearing God if you’re not willing to read His word. It may seem boring, ancient, and dry at first, but as you make time to read it, you will grow to understand that it is so much more than just words on a page. God’s word is alive and active and when you spend time in the pages, and meditate on the words inside, I promise it will change your life.
I love you,
~ Justina Dee