The most anticipated time of the day has arrived. The early morning sunlight bathes your bedroom in a warm, welcoming glow. The sound of the bubbling coffee machine makes you feel all warm and fuzzing inside as it prepares your daily cup. You move slowly throughout the house, stretching and pacing as you mentally prepare yourself for the day ahead. Finally, once the creamer hits your coffee, you snag your mug, curl up on your couch and pull out the Bible study essentials. The time to connect with God has arrived.
We love this time of day. In fact, it's become a welcome, sacred rhythm. It's a moment of calm before we get swept up in torrential events of the day, whatever those may be. One of our favorite theologians, C.S. Lewis, pens it perfectly when he writes, “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”
Of course, our natural way is to start the day out of reaction. We sleep through our alarm. We scroll on our phone for a few minutes and let the news of the world wash over us with all of its fear and overwhelm. This informs our mood for the remainder of the morning. Suddenly, we realize we need to start work in 15 minutes so we jump out of bed, pull our clothes on, and check in to work. There's no room for peace with this schedule, and we often ask ourselves why we feel so burned out by 9 am!
How can we shove back our wishes and hopes for the day that "rush at us like wild animals?" How can we greet the day with a mindset of peace, just as Jesus had? The answer, friends, is through quality time in Scripture. We understand just how difficult this can be to fit into your schedule, and if you prefer to do this in the evening, then by all means do it. We've simply found that mornings work best for us. There's also the issue of the Bible being an ancient text that can be difficult to interpret, let alone be inspired by—especially if you're new to it! It can be awfully intimidating. The key here is to equip yourself with the right tools for the job.
For today's post, we're sharing our all-time favorite Bible study tools so you can get the most out of this special time. Let's get to it!
1. Podcasts Are Your Friend
Yep, we're big fans of Bible podcasts! These prove to be invaluable resources as you dive into the Word. Of course, phones can be a HUGE distraction, especially when you're trying to connect with God. We suggest having your phone away while you read Scripture and pray, and afterward, if you need some extra context, then you can pull it out. The Bible can be cryptic and hard to read. That's why we love podcasts like The Bible Project podcast. They break down each book of the Bible in detail, which is perfect for those hard-to-read Old Testament books, are we right?! They also have an app, which is a helpful hub for even more wisdom. If you're looking for more podcast options, check out our recent blog post, where we discuss our top 10 Christian podcasts.
2. Take Note & Remember
Having a notepad handy seems like a no-brainer, but it really is a transformative tool. Not only does this help you jot down your observations, prayers, and general musings, but it allows you to go back and reflect on your previous devotional times with God. It's always enlightening to flip back to your quiet times over the years and see how God has helped you during those seasons, and how much you've grown, too! It also is helpful to use sticky notes. Write verses down that resonates with you, or even ones you want to memories, and stick them around the house. Place them on your bathroom mirror, your office desk, or even your steering wheel in your car.
3. Invest in a Good Commentary
Interpreting the Bible is no easy feat! No matter where you are in your apprenticeship to Jesus, there will always be passages that we could learn more about, and that's why it's key to invest in a solid Bible commentary to get the inside scoop. One of our favorites is the Enduring Word Bible Commentary. They provide videos, audio commentary, and text to provide even more insight into your passage of choice. You can also buy Bibles that have built-in commentary too. It may not be as exhaustive, but there are some helpful facts included, nonetheless. A good starting point is the ESV Study Bible. Another quick tip for you—we love YouTube! Some of our favorite Bible commentary videos have come from this popular video site. Our very own Jackie (aka our social media maven extraordinaire) features Bible commentary videos on her YouTube channel.
Above all, it's okay to feel intimidated by the Bible, but don't let that feeling stop you from doing the work and learning more. There are so many amazing tools for you to use these days. One final note: once you get acclimated to one Bible commentary, feel free to expand your horizon and read different ones. It can be fun to compare and contrast and see how different translators interpret passages.
4. Mark It Up to Get It Down
The Bible is such an important piece of literature, that we can often be too intimidated to take notes in it, but we welcome it! There are lots of Bibles that have space for taking notes, and if not, create your own space. We love using highlighters to identify certain teachings, themes, and learnings. Over the years, we've filled our Bibles with all the colors, and it's pretty satisfying to see what you've read over time. Using highlighters to mark specific verses is helpful, but it also is just a fun way to make your Bible more and more unique to you. A highlighted Bible is a well-loved Bible! For more information on this, we suggest checking out this blog post from Living Free Indeed on Bible study highlighting systems. There are some great tips and tricks here to get you started.
You can tell we're passionate about this! Having a solid Bible study rhythm, with the necessary tools in place, is transformative for your faith walk—trust us! Never underestimate the power of well-made podcasts, trustworthy commentaries, a journal, and a few highlighters. Get ready to be like a sponge and just soak up all that Bible know-how. Just know there's no precise formula for this. These are just our suggestions. Feel free to try new things and use what works best for your schedule. What matters most is that you're connecting with Jesus and growing in the Word every single day.
Up-Level Your Quiet Time
Go even further with our BibleBox subscription! Why not treat yourself to more tools for you to get the most of your Jesus time? With our monthly BibleBox subscription, you'll get a beloved Christian t-shirt, prayer journal, greeting card, sticker, bookmark, and $10 LiF gift card. All of this is delivered straight to your doorstep! That's pretty sweet. This box is such a fun way to switch up your daily routine. Imagine you starting off the day with a new prayer journal, open and ready for you to fill it up with all the good stuff.