College is of course stressful and time-consuming, it may not always seem convenient to get into the Word, however this might be exactly what you need to make it through the semester. Let me tell you a little story…
At the beginning of this year, I really started to take reading my Bible seriously. I’m sure we’re all aware that there is a difference between just reading a passage from the Bible, and actually READING it. I suddenly found myself getting a lot more out of my daily devotions, and I was searching for more ways to get the most out of reading the Bible. I had a complete change of heart on this matter, and I found that it began to affect my not only my heart, but my mind too. As it turns out, a lot of the skills you learn while reading the Bible can help you become a better reader overall!
I first noticed that something had changed when I had to read a segment of The Poetics by Aristotle for a class. ( I actually didn’t realize that I only had to read a segment and I started reading the whole thing, oops.) I don’t know if you’ve ever had to read any Aristotle before, but let me tell you, it is boring. Talk about a long-winded old man! However, I realized that my mind was alert and I was actually taking in the text I was reading! This is something I know would have been very difficult for me to read only a couple of months ago, but I was actually have a pretty easy time with it. Ever since then, I’ve noticed my increased reading skills with other textbooks, articles, and class materials. I’ve even had more enjoyment my reading personal books and blogs.
So what changed? I knew that I had been making an effort get more out of reading my Bible, but I had no idea I would be getting more out of everything I read! This semester I have found that I am an overall better student, and preparing for my classes takes less effort. This is one advantage to reading the Bible that I never expected, but I guess that just shows how God is looking out for us!
Here are some of the things that really helped me when I decided to study the Bible more in-depth:
1) Reading a study Bible
The Bible that I read every day has a sample of commentary of nearly every verse, which I almost always read for the assigned text in my daily devotions. Understanding the meaning behind what the author wrote can be just as important as the actual text. It gives you further grounding knowledge that helps keep the information in your brain. The study-commentary also helps you out when you’re really confused by a passage, which happens to everybody now and then!
2) Take your time
Reading the Bible more about quality that quantity, meaning, your goal shouldn’t be to read as many verses as you can. It’s certainly not a race either. When you find something you don’t understand (and you absolutely will) slow down and really make an effort to connect with the passage before you move on. Try to find a way that this passage connects with your life- there is always something to learn from the Bible!
3) Pray before you begin reading
Actually, this one should be the first one you do. If reading the Bible is something you’re doing to get closer to God, it’s important to invite him into your personal study time. Ask that your heart would be opened to His Word, and that your mind would be cleared of all the days worries. This is especially important to maintaining concentration while you are reading.
I hope that this was helpful to you, and that you will share the same benefits that I am experiencing, and much more! I’d also love to hear about any other tips you have for reading the Bible. Remember, even though you will graduate from college, as Christians we will always be students. 🙂