Here are five practical ways you can spend time with God
- Start with the Gospels
The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are a great place to start studying the Word. They are the first books in the New Testament and provide an understanding of the life of Jesus. Each gospel offers a unique account of events and emphasises different points. The details and cultural insights give a complete picture of Jesus and the importance of His ministry.
When we focus on the Gospels, we are focusing on what everything in the Bible is about. We are able to delve deeply into Jesus’ saving mission on earth and look at the prophecies He fulfills and how the truths He proclaims get repeated throughout all of Scripture. The Gospels will also help you launch into other books in both the Old and New Testament. After I studied these books, I was able to move neatly onto Romans, Hebrews, Thessalonians etc.
- Use a Bible Plan
The Youversion App has so many different Bible plans; from popular topics such as christian living, purpose and faith, through to yearly Bible plans. This year, the app also introduced ‘Verse of the Day Stories’. I have found this super useful during my morning devotions as it helps to start each day with God. The story includes a short video to get some context and insight about the verse, as well as a short devotional to expand on the key theme from the verse.
Overall, I think the App helps incorporate God seamlessly into our lives [especially as we tend to carry our phones around with us]. The plans are both long [as mentioned up to yearly] and short [stretching over a few days] and can fit around daily schedules; so whether on a daily commute or as part of a night-time routine.
- Larger topic studies
A topical study is a method of studying the Bible that involves meditating on scripture specific to a word, phrase, problem, or thought. The Open Bible allows you to search “What does the Bible say about ____?” This will often create the basis for the search as you can look at words such as forgiveness, kindness, love, finances etc.
By focussing on one main topic, it also allows you to gain insight into questions you may have concerning God’s character, purpose, and plans for your lives. When you are faced with these ideas, a topical bible study is the perfect way to focus your Bible study time.
- Character studies
This method involves choosing a character in the Bible and studying their story in greater detail. There are hundreds of characters in the Bible that you can learn from. Some of the popular characters include Joseph, Esther, Paul, Moses, Solomon, David etc.
In a character study, you cover their qualities, tests/trials, encounters with God, strengths and weaknesses. As well as observe their purpose and understand why God chose to use them and their response to God. From personal experience, character studies allowed me to delve into the life of one person in the Bible and learn valuable lessons to apply to my own life.
- Book studies
This is similar to starting with the Gospels, however there may be other books in the Bible that you are more keen to read. Here, you are able to think about the author and audience [which will help shape your understanding]. As well as the key principle(s) of the book and why God has included it within His word.
Working through 1-2 chapters a day allows you to take your time and stop when the Holy Spirit highlights something important to you. In addition, studying whole books in the Bible will enable you to enrich your understanding of God and build a relationship with Him.