4 Tips for Engaging with the Bible Daily
By Brian Hardin
I have to admit up front that I’m not much of a “tips and tricks” guy—especially when it comes to spirituality. This isn’t because I’m not looking for a life hack like everyone else. We all seem to be looking for nuggets of wisdom that will further our experiences, but the Bible is far more comprehensive than simply giving us a bullet list of ways to be blessed. That being said, there are rhythms to life, and finding the sweet spot is healthy and desirable.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned from reading the Bible out loud on the Daily Audio Bible every single day for the past 14 years.
But I warn you, these tips won’t show you how you can finally read the Bible without putting the work in. Rather, these are the postures, or the space you’ll need to be in, to allow the Bible to speak as a part of your daily rhythm.
Tip #1 – Consider Your Expectations
If you’re going to engage in a healthy lifestyle, change (like working out) your mindset and expectations are key. You won’t lose 30 lbs. and become strong and lean in the first week. It’ll take a few months of faithful endurance and adjusting to see the desired results beginning to materialize.
Spiritual health and strength are no different. Regular interaction with the Bible will begin changing you from within, but as with our physical bodies, the changes begin to happen before they become visible. The Bible is not a quick fix. Whether in body or spirit, it’s the faithful, day by day commitment that creates compounding and profound results.Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Jesus Shows What Humanity is Supposed to Look Like: An Interview with Brian Hardin]
Engage the Bible as a friend with whom you want to be in a lifelong relationship, as opposed to as a chore or obligation. If you commit to—and continue daily interaction with—the Scriptures, a tipping point will come, and you’ll begin to find yourself in the pages of the Bible.
Whether from the stories contained in the Old Testament, the voice of Wisdom from the Proverbs, the Gospels, or the letters preserved from the formation of the church, the Bible will begin to speak into the issues of your life, and you’ll begin to recognize how profound the counsel of Scripture is. When this happens (and it will) you won’t want a day without it.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Reframe Your Perception of God: An Interview with Brian Hardin]
Tip #2 – The Bible Is Not God
If your reason for considering reading the Bible has anything to do with a sense of spiritual hunger to know God, then the Bible is certainly the right place. However, most Christians assume that the more Bible study they can do, the closer they’ll be to God.
I hate to burst that bubble, but that’s not how it works. One cannot enter into a life-giving relationship with God by only reading a book—though divinely inspired—about him. Imagine reading a book about your spouse and then claiming that you know everything about him or her and have transcended the need to communicate further because the book has told you all you will ever need to know.
While I completely agree that diligent Bible study furthers our understanding of God, knowledge about a person does not equate to a personal relationship with that person. For example, we could attempt to become the world’s leading scholar on Abraham Lincoln. If we were successful, we might in fact know more about Mr. Lincoln than anyone else on earth, but we would still not be able to claim a personal relationship with him. Massive information about someone does not equal a relationship with them. This is an important distinction because we can easily find ourselves worshiping the Bible in an attempt to get closer to God.
The Bible leads us to God and teaches us to live by faith. But we must take the leap of faith into a relationship with him. The Bible reveals how unwilling God is to be left out of the human story—which means that God is unwilling to be left out of your story. However, relationships are forged out of love, time, and commitment. The Bible will indeed lead you closer to God, but it will continually lead you to take a leap of faith beyond its pages and into an actual living, breathing relationship.
TIP #3 – Take A Deep Breath And Let Go. Slow Down.
It seems that nearly everyone on this planet is moving at a pace that’s unsustainable. Every day we’re challenged to be and do more, and yet this doesn’t lead us closer to contentment.
The path of Jesus—and the Bible—is that wholeness comes in surrender, and strength comes through weakness. These ideas are completely out of phase with the world we live in. But to consider the path of the Bible, we have to slow down. Which is a struggle because we believe that slowing down would make us fall further behind. The clarity and wholeness that we seek may indeed send us toward the Bible, but the Scriptures aren’t something that can be sped through, nor can they be read in a single day.
Slow down. Create a space in your life that’s specifically given to a relationship with the Bible in the same way that you set aside a space in your life each day to eat.
Whether you set aside a specific time in your day or create a sacred space in your home (or car), create a specific rhythm that fits you. Allow the Bible to speak to you each day—every single day—and watch it become a mirror into your soul. The time you believe you’d be wasting on this practice may one day become your oasis. Guard it and it will protect you.
TIP #4 – Change will happen from the inside out.
The Bible provides plenty of analogies through nature. Probably the most recognizable is a natural law: seed time and harvest. A sower plants seed in the springtime when new life is bursting forth upon the Earth. The next day, it looks as if nothing has happened. And for many days following, no visible change is apparent at all.
If seed time and harvest were judged based upon the pace of our lives, and the cultural model of instant gratification, seed time and harvest would be a colossal failure. And yet, spring leads to summer, and onward to autumn. Harvest feeds the Earth and we pay little attention. The Bible follows this principle.
If you begin today and continue planting the seeds found in Scripture into the soil of your life, harvest will come. It’s a natural and spiritual reality. If you keep planting seeds every day, you’ll one day always be harvesting. Change will happen slowly from within, but very quickly you’ll see that change is actually happening.
Spend a year in the Bible every day and you’ll see profound transformation taking place. Your circumstances may not change. But your interaction with them will be profoundly transformed.
It’s easy enough to say these things, but these aren’t theories to me. I started and quit reading the Bible more times than I can count. It wasn’t until I began to grasp these tips or postures that the Bible began to come alive for me. Now it’s the best friend I didn’t know I was missing. I have no doubt it can be the same for you, if you’ll slow down, commit, and embrace the process of transformation that the Bible will invariably lead you toward.
Bio: Brian Hardin (@realbrianhardin) is an ordained minister, an accomplished record producer with more than 150 albums to his credit, a respected photographer, and a skillful graphic designer whose work has been featured in high-profile publications including Time. But more importantly, in the past eight years, Brian has become known as an author, speaker, and the vision and voice of Daily Audio Bible that boasts more than 125,000 daily listeners. In 2009 Brian became the founding pastor of the Four Winds Mission in Spring Hill, Tennessee. He is the author of The One Year Adventure with the God of Your Story, Passages, Reframe, and Sneezing Jesus. He also served as the general editor of the NIV Passages Bible.
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November 14, 2019
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