Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

How to Wake up to the Wonder of the Bible

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If you're going through a dry spell when the Bible seems silent, here are 4 ways to wake up to the wonder of God's Word.

Some mornings reading the Bible feels like I’m running a treadmill on 5 hours sleep. While I race through my reading plan, I remember I’ve got to get to the store today because we’re out of milk. I yawn because I stayed up way too late, and the Ramadan drummer woke me up at 3 a.m. (No crying babies around here anymore, but we do have a man beating a drum outside our window all month.) I look at the clock. Five more minutes before I have to jump in the shower. I flip to Mark.

Old Testament reading. Psalm or Proverb. New Testament. I check off the boxes and run to get started on my day. Catch you later, God. Nice to see you.

I know the Word of God is supposed to fuel my faith and renew my mind. Scripture encourages me and gives me the wisdom I need for life. Yet I also go through dry spells when the Bible seems silent. I can’t focus. I start yawning.

Do your eyes ever glaze over when you open God’s Word? When I start yawning over scripture, I try these:

If you're going through a dry spell when the Bible seems silent, here's some encouragement to wake up to the wonder of God's Word.

4 Ways to Wake up to the Wonder of God’s Word

Pray

Open my eyes that I may see

When daily scripture reading grows dull, I start praying. I pray to the God of the Bible to show Himself to me through His Word. If there’s a prayer God delights to answer, it’s this one:

Lord, wake me up to the wonders of your Word. Open my eyes to see you and my ears to hear you as I read.

Read Less

It sounds counter-intuitive to read LESS when you’re not getting anything out of God’s Word, but it works for me. Instead of a whole chapter, I read just one section. For example, Matthew 2 is divided into several sections: “The Magi Visit the Messiah,” “The Escape to Egypt,” and “The Return to Nazareth,” so I read it over several days. Narrowing my focus helps me to pay more attention.

I slow down and ask God to speak as I read the passage a few times. If something I read sparks a prayer, I pause to respond. Then I focus on one verse. What is God saying to me?

Color It Up

A few months back, I started highlighting my Bible in different colors. Not only does it add fun and creativity to my quiet time, it also helps me explore the meaning of a passage. I see repeated words and concepts.  I have my own color code system:

Color Code for Bible Highlighting

Write It Down

God’s Word becomes more real to me when I take a few minutes to write down a verse. The physical act of writing it down helps me internalize and remember it. When I record it in my notebook, it becomes mine. I can look at it again later. As I write, I ask, “Lord, what are you saying to me through this verse?”

Instead of ending my quiet time with a quick, “Catch you later, God,” I want to carry His Word with me into my day, so I have to be awake while I read it. I read less, color it up, and write it down. These help keep me awake to the wonders of God’s Word.

Now it’s your turn. Do you ever have a hard time paying attention to scripture when you read it? What helps you?

I love linking with these communities: Holly Barrett’s #TestimonyTuesday, Kelly Balarie’s #RaRalinkup,  Jennifer Dukes Lee’s #TellHisStory, and Grace and Truth.  Check them out for more encouragement.

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

69 thoughts on “How to Wake up to the Wonder of the Bible

  1. Betsy- I love this. Especially the “read less” advice. That does truly help. I also appreciate your color coding- I’ll have to try that. It takes much humility to turn away from my words and thoughts and turn to His, but you really give some great strategies here. Well done!

    • Thank you, Karen. This muddled brain of mine can’t just read through two or three chapters and get ANYTHING out of it! Mine is the ADD method, but it works for me! Blessings.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for these words. I am working hard at staying in God’s word as well as choosing it to begin my day. Your post affirms that it can be difficult as well as gives us great ideas how to keep going without making it such a chore to check off our to do list. I love your color coding system. I have actually dabbled a little in Bible journaling which can be very uplifting. Blessed to be here today. Love you friend!

    • I’d love to hear more about your Bible journaling, Mary. In fact I’m planning on writing a post about Bible journaling next week. Hang in there with the Word, Mary. I admire your unwavering commitment. 🙂

  3. Love these tips, Betsy. I love God’s word and don’t know why I have such a hard time reading it sometimes or why it seems like a chore to me. It’s one area I truly struggle with balance and priority. Thanks for your great encouragement!

  4. Betsy, such good ideas here! I was just talking about this with a friend at church on Sunday, how God remains so faithful to speak to us even those mornings when it seems difficult to focus or stay awake. I find prayer is the most important one for me — and sometimes after reading a passage with just eyes glazing over it, I stop and pray for the Lord to help me focus and reveal something new about Him that morning. Reading less is also such a good idea, and one that I should probably try more often, to give God the space to speak to me through His Word. Thank you for sharing this!

    • That is a great idea, Ronja, just to stop and pray when we find our minds distracted! Thanks for that reminder. It stops us in our tracks and turns us back to God instead of continuing our journey in LaLa land! 🙂

  5. I love ALL of these tips, Betsy! I’m a color-coding girl, myself. I also learned a little trick years ago – I create symbols that stand for each of the main topics and place those out in the margin. For example, a triangle for prayer, a cloud for the holy spirit, etc. I make a legend of the symbols in the front:)

  6. Awesome post, Betsy – I want to start color coding for sure and I tend to bite off more than I can chew. Your tips are always so wonderful!!!! Kim Stewart

    • Thanks, Kim! I’m not saavy enough to make this into a printable, like you probably are, but I thought it would at least give people an idea of what I do. Hope your times in the Word will be fruitful.

  7. I love your color coding! Have you ever studied the Bible with Precepts Ministries? That’s what it reminds me of, I’ve learned much from doing that. And journaling helps me too.
    Your pictures are so good, always! You said you like mine, but mine aren’t near the quality of yours, I’m not a photographer! 🙂
    Love this – so practical!

    • No, I haven’t done a Precepts study ever, but YEARS ago I read a book on Bible study by Kay Arthur. I don’t take most of my pictures, Ruthie. I usually share a photo credit at the bottom of my posts. 🙂 I’m not a photographer either.

  8. Yes, yes to reading less, Betsy. And just sitting with and absorbing a few lines, several words, savoring a taste of His goodness.

    I long ago stopped using those Read-Through-the-Bible-In-1-Year plans because they ended up making me feel rushed or guilty or whatever.

    I move along at a much slower pace these days, taking time to smell the flowers so to speak. And I love my time with God more than ever …

    • How wonderful that you have such great times in God’s Word. I haven’t done the “Read-Thru-the-Bible” EVER! It’s just not me. But I’ve read it most days for the past 32 years, so it must be getting through my thick head somehow! 🙂

      One time I did do a TWO YEAR Finish-the-Bible reading plan, and I enjoyed it. But only did it once.

  9. These are good ideas: I particularly like the “read less” and “write it down” ones. In a Beth Moore study we did on I & II Thessalonians, we wrote out the passage each day and by the end had both books completely written out. It was really helpful.

    • Wow, that Beth Moore study sounds great, Jeannie! Anything that has you writing out the passage is powerful. I sometimes just do one verse–most often, in fact–but sometimes I do more.

  10. Betsy, this is the best post I’ve read thus far this morning; my absolute favorite! I love your color coding system. I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it. Thank you so very much for sharing this! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! 🙂

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Sweet Tai. Of course you can borrow the color code system. That’s why I posted it. Just not fancy enough or saavy enough to do printables yet. 🙂

      • You are most welcome, Dear! And thank you! … Also, don’t feel bad because I’m not fancy enough to printables yet either. I’m still learning a lot when it comes to this whole blogging thing. 😉

  11. Betsy, I love this post! I could not agree more with your suggestions for ways to shake things up and “wake to the wonders” of His Word. And what a perfect prayer, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Thanks so much for sharing this! God bless this day! #RaRaLinkup

  12. All wonderful tips Betsy! And I’ve used most of them from time to time. My favorite is praying Psalm 119:18, and them READ LESS! I find I can absorb more by reading smaller chunks. I use colored pens, but haven’t “color coded” per se. I’ll need to check that out! It makes so much sense. Thanks for these wonderful reminders!

    • Oh Ellen, I bet whatever you’re doing with your colored pens is working just fine without any “color code.” May the Lord bless your times in the Word, sister!

  13. Excellent ideas Betsy. I have done all of them except the Color it Up. I’ll have to try it. For me, I have found that reading less is often best. Our pastor gives us a list of chapters to read. Each day we read one chapter in the Word and find one WOW verse for the day. He encourages us to share our WOW verse with at least one other person. I have used Facebook to post my WOW each day.

  14. I really love the Color It Up tip. One thing I’ve been wanting to get is a Journaling Bible . . . need to do this SOON. Great tips. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  15. Betsy – thank you for your 4 easy to tips to implement. It’s nice to know that I am not the only one that races through a reading plan, or gets distracted. I have never color coded my Bible before, and just got The Voice Bible. so I think I am going to try it out. I am looking forward to figuring out my own color coding system and getting some colors. I am visiting from Testimony Tuesday

    • Thanks for your comment, Debbie. I’d never heard of The Voice Bible, but I just saw a Bible verse quote from it today that I loved. Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to check it out.

  16. Betsy, what a great post.
    Love your tips. I’ll often read a section alone too…it does seem to magnify that section in ways that you wouldn’t notice if you were looking for that end-of-chapter-climax.
    One thing that I do, is I keep my Bible open on my desk all of the time. I start my day with it, but also as the day unfolds, and I have a free minute here or there, I sometimes read a little more. It’s a great way to re-center on truth, because life has a way of helping me forget what’s really important.
    Thanks for this lovely encouragement today.
    ~ Best to you from another #RaRaLinkup ‘er today. 🙂

    • That is a GREAT idea to k eep your Bible open on your desk all of the time. Mind if I quote you on that some day? I’m going to try that myself. We need to be going back to truth constantly.

  17. Read less {sometimes}, write it down…then LIVE it. AMEN, Betsy. Thanks for these good ideas and tips.

  18. Love this, Betsy – but no shocker there. I always do. I’ve been doing the read less thing – reading less to find more actually. Sinking into a verse and really mediating on the words, looking at different translations and allowing into to sink in rather than just pass me by. Love all your suggestion here and thank you for the handy color code. Blessings to you!

  19. Love this Betsy! And very timely for me dear -needed it this week – thank you! Going to share with my boys! You know boys! Lol by the way – your site is so beautiful! Keep spreading light beautiful friend – you are rocking it! 😘

  20. These are wonderful tips, Betsy. I need to try out the Read Less one. I completely agree with it, but far too often find myself trying to read as much as possible. It’s almost as if I just want to be able to finish reading the whole Bible, which is something I’ve never done. This should definitely not be my focus. I can learn so much more with a focus on smaller passages. Thanks for your much needed advice!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Candace. Yes, it’s easy to feel obligated to “read the Bible in a year,” because isn’t that what spiritual people do? Only that just doesn’t work for me if I really want to hear God’s voice. And I’d rather hear His voice every day for a year, than finish a whole book. That’s just me. 🙂

  21. Betsy,
    I have recently been doing a study called “Grasping God’s Word”. It’s actually a seminary class (which sounds intimidating), but it’s just the opposite. The text, which is so easy to follow is by Duval and Hayes. It has opened my eyes to a whole new way of reading the Word and has enabled me to grasp meaning that I never knew existed. For the serious studier of the Bible, I highly recommend it. Thanks for these great tips for getting more out of our time in the Word.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  22. Great post! I’ve been reading these days (really by coincidence, but it just seems to be everywhere) a lot about Lectio Divina — the practice of holy or sacred reading, and your words go right alongside what I’m being taught elsewhere. Big lesson for me: it’s not about quantity, and it’s not a race. God can use just one verse, if that’s what He chooses. Thanks, Betsy.

    • Thanks, Michele. What I do probably is similar to Lectio Divina. I guess we all have different seasons, different needs, different ways for getting into God’s Word at different times. Blessings to you as you seek to hear His voice!

  23. I needed this encouragement today – God has really been nudging me lately about meditating on his word night and day and I want to rise to it in the morning but even though I wake early I lay there making excuses – This has really spoken to me about the wonder and the ease with which we can approach God’s word – thank you x

    • I love that thought you share, Tania. That we can approach His Word with EASE. 🙂 I’m saying a prayer now that God would draw you to Himself through His Written Word (and through His life-giving Spirit!)

  24. Betsy, yes I suffer from the same problem. There are days when I can’t get enough and then there are days it seems like part of the to-do list. I love your ideas. I’ve tried most of them all except the different highlighting colors. I’ll try that! Thank you for the tips!

    Blessings ~ Christy

    • Thank you, Christy. I know just how you feel about how some days it feels like a to-do list. Blessings on your times in the Word! Let’s press on towards Him!

  25. Hi Betsy! I am not a morning person, but I do find that I can pray early in the a.m.. Writing a passage down that strikes me really helps. It engages my mind and my body, which probably helps to keep me focused too. Later, I can review what I wrote and see if I have any new insights.

    I think you’re right about cutting back on reading if it’s not going well. Any Scripture is for our instruction, it’s not volume that makes it better.
    Hope you’re having a great day!
    Ceil

  26. Hi, Betsy! I know exactly what you are saying and I do many of the things you suggested. I have never done the color coding, but maybe that will be next! I do think that the years of reading to “check off the box” did turn me into a Bible reader so I guess it wasn’t all bad! Off to do my study now!

  27. Thank you, Betsy, for these wise words. The bible is LIFE and TRUTH and WISDOM, but we do get distracted as we read. I’m loving the Illustrated Faith (@illustratedfaith or illustratedfaith.com) way to read. I bought a paperback, NLT, read through the bible in a year, bible and I got out all my fun colored markers and highlighters. As I read, I will write big right on the page! words, thoughts, promises that moved me during my reading. It’s the same idea as your “write it down” and “color code” ideas. It establishes this word in my mind for the day and is fun to look back at too! We cannot be bored with God’s word, so finding a plan, any plan that works is the goal. And the more we read, the more we want to read, and the Spirit will create the habit in us. Blessings to you and thanks again! You inspired me today. 🙂

  28. Wonderful advice and great ideas for those “dry” seasons! It is so hard to not have devotion time become another item on a to-do list and I love your suggestion to occasionally read less. Taking smaller pieces of Scripture to savor can deepen our faith all the more and increase our understanding of the whole of Scripture. I absolutely love your color-code system and can’t wait to try it, thank you and God bless!

  29. This is a wonderful post, Betsy – I appreciate your transparency as you started, sharing your own perspective which is so relatable for us all.

    I can wholeheartedly attest to the power of reading less. So often we plow through without stopping to ponder, yet that’s exactly where the real value is. When I take time to ponder, even the Old Testament accounts come alive as weird names I can’t pronounce become people with faces and feelings in my mind’s eye…people who experienced God – or failed to – as truly as we do today.

    Thank you for pointing us toward the living and powerful Word of God, and for linking up with us at Grace & Truth. This will be one of my features at A Divine Encounter this week! I appreciate your valuable contributions to our community. 🙂

  30. Betsy, such a wonderful post. It is so true that we can approach Bible reading in order to check off boxes. Like you, I am finding reading shorter passages, maybe for a few days too, I am getting more understanding & appreciation for what I need to learn. I also pray before reading that God would show me something in His Word which will excite me & speak to my heart. So grateful He awakens us to the truths in His Word. Blessings!

  31. Pingback: Double Feature! ~ Grace & Truth Linkup (Week 26) - A Divine Encounter

  32. Betsy,
    I totally agree and have had much success with READ LESS. A few years ago my Pastor’s wife shared this small yet profound principle. When I first tried it I was reading the Lord’s Prayer. For a whole week I meditated on Our Father. And oh how he revealed himself that week as my Father. Thank you for these practical tips and yup I’ve been there is rushing through to get to the next thing. But I am reminded to slow down and bask in his presence. Happy to be visiting from Grace & Truth.

  33. Wow these are such great ideas! I always seem to forget to pray before I read -even though I know it’s important. I guess I needed to be reminded of it again -thank you. I enjoy highlighting in my Bible and using a notebook as well.
    Great post!
    Rebekah
    http://www.moreradiance.com

    • I know I forget to pray before reading sometimes too, Rebekah, and what a difference it makes. I think God wants to reveal Himself, but praying like that reminds me to be listening. 🙂

  34. Thank you for these reminders… the Lord always seems to illuminate scripture as I slow and pray.

  35. I love this, Besty. it’s perfect encouragement for starting 2016! God bless you this year!

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