Bible Study Basics: Schedule It
We are a busy and distracted people.
We are a busy people. We take our families to worship with our church, parent, work a job, take care of the house, chauffeur our kids to their practices and recitals, and try to squeeze in time for fellowship.
We are a distracted people. Between our daily responsibilities and our massive to-do lists, we barely have time to squeeze in a Stranger Things binge-watch on Netflix. In our precious few moments of unscheduled time, we catch up on social media, reading, or video gaming.
If you're like most busy families I know, the highest priorities for your week go on a calendar. Sometimes they are bolded or starred or underlined. But if that important event doesn't make it on the family calendar, it probably won't happen.
It's often been said that "what gets scheduled gets done." If this is the case, then questions of discipline and diligence reduce directly to priorities. In order to get your most important or urgent tasks accomplished, something else must be pushed aside.
I'm not casting stones. All this is true in my own life. For example, I've been trying to read more (I'm working through The Chronicles of Narnia right now). So, that means I have to slow down my television consumption. In order to be diligent to open a book at night, I have to push pause on Top Chef on Hulu and remind myself, "There's 17 seasons to this show, Andrew; it's a marthon, not a sprint."
So then, let me address the elephant in the room and state the truth plainly. If you are not reading your Bible regularly, then your spiritual health holds a lower priority than other items on your agenda. This ought not be.
If Jesus alone holds the words of eternal life (John 6:68) . . .
If the Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:15) . . .
If God's Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12) . . .
If all this is true (and it is), then we need to ask God to help us adjust our priorities so that we can hide God's Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11).
Neither Netflix, baseball practice, piano recitals, social media, nor your vocation are not able to nourish your soul the way the Scriptures do.
So, if you want to develop a habit of diligent Bible study, it needs to go on your calendar!
In our Community Groups, we have been challenged to make a practical plan to start taking Bible study seriously. And Community Groups are an ideal place to develop this habit. In CGs, we hold each other accountable to follow through on the plan we put in place.
I'll tell you how it has been working for me. I made my practical plan known to my CG a couple weeks ago. Because I have a noisy and early-rising toddler in the house, my best time for Bible study is after he goes to bed. So, around 9 or 10 at night, I have been reading through Proverbs and James. Another friend in my CG is going through James with me and we swap notes and check in on each other to make sure we're actually spending time studying God's Word. It has been exceedingly helpful.
Without a practical plan AND someone willing to hold me accountable to follow through on that plan, Top Chef and Instagram would likely elbow their way into my Bible study time.
So, with love I urge you: put it on the calendar. Schedule time for God's Word. And ask someone to hold you accountable to follow through on your plan.
If it doesn't get scheduled, it doesn't get done.