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Published on September 22nd, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

How do you practically stay in the Bible?





COURTNEY WRITES: How do you stay in the Word? Would you rather listen to or read the Bible? Do you do it in the morning or night? Do you use a physical copy or an app? What about devotions/reading plans? Which translation do you use?

However you do it, I’d love to hear from you.


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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]



  • Joshua Adams

    One thing that helps me stay in the word is to get a friend to read the same passage i do, and then discuss it later, this doesn’t have to be in depth but it’s good to have some accountability.
    I’d rather read the bible, my comprehension goes way down when i listen to the bible.
    I normally read a chapter in the old testament (i’m going through psalms right now) in the morning and a chapter from the new testament (i’m going through John) at night.
    Normally i us both a physical copy and an app, i like the physical copies better, but i can switch translations on an app.
    Devotions and reading plans can be a great thing, but i personally prefer to read at my own pace and not be tied by a reading plan.
    I primarily use the New King James Version.

    • Haylie

      Hey Joshua! I’m going through Psalms right now too! Do you have a favorite chapter?

      • Joshua Adams

        hmmm, they’re all pretty good, i just started a couple weeks ago so i’m not that far (chapter 20) but 1, 3, 8, 18, 19, 20, 119, and 145 are all really good! 18 or 3 is probably my favorite though.
        thanks for the welcome!

        • Haylie

          Yeah, they really are all helpful :) to answer your other comment, some of my favorite Psalms are 1, 46, and there is one in the 80s I found encouraging, but i forget what number it is 😉

          • Esther

            I don’t know if it’s the one you’re referring to, but I love Psalm 86. It’s been a powerful encouragement to me in hard times.

          • Faith

            I just read Psalm 86 yesterday! I agree that it is a powerful encouragement to me as well.

        • Haylie

          Oh, and Psalm 42!

      • Joshua Adams

        what are some of your favorite psalms?

        • Alice Madison

          My favorite is Psalm 139!

          • drummer/Godfollower/LOTRfan

            yup, love that one too

    • Faith

      I’ve been reading Psalms the past couple of days! Psalms is one of my favorite books of the bible! Psalm 27 is one of my favorites.

      • drummer/Godfollower/LOTRfan

        yup, it’s one of my favorites as well, i love to read psalms, then proverbs, then ecclesiastes (which is probably my favorite book of the bible). and yes, i love psalm 27!

        Psalm 27:14 – Wait on the Lord;
        Be of good courage,
        And He shall strengthen your heart;
        Wait, I say, on the Lord!

  • Hi Courtney! Well, first off, I personally believe there is no right or wrong way to go about reading the Word. Our personal time with the Lord and our method should be rooted in a DESIRE to spend time with the Lord. If we have that desire, then we will make time for the Lord whenever we can and use whatever method (app or physical copy, praying on our knees or standing with hands raised, etc) we feel led by the Holy Spirit to use to serve our Creator.

    I would like to say though, we must be careful because not all Bible translations are accurate or reliable..I’m not going to pretend to be God and say which ones he approves of or doesn’t, so that’s something I encourage you to pray about. My family generally either use KJV (King James Version) or NASB (New American Standard). We use NASB mostly.

    The same thing applies to devotions and Bible plans. I’ve used numerous different ones over the years (“Jesus Calling” is a good one!) that I have thoroughly enjoyed! However, my parents have always taught me: “Never let a devotional replace the Bible”. In other words, devotionals are great, but still always lay everything you read against Scripture itself to see if they line up. And also, don’t get so involved in the devotional that the Bible is left unopened on the bedside…It’s still very important to open God’s Word as well, even though there are many great devotionals out there with solid lessons…

    Reading plans I think are great and help a person to stay on track!! One of my family’s favorite reading plans we recently heard about was to take 3-4 books of the Bible and read them over and over again over the course of 4 months (the number of books may vary depending on their length). Poring over just a few books, reading them over and over, really helps solidify the things in the passage. Also, while studying these books, it can be helpful to look at commentaries to do devotionals along with your reading….We’ve really liked this idea! However, something I’ve always felt is important is to never get in such a set plan that I don’t leave room for the Holy Spirit’s moving in my life. What I mean is, say I’m in the process of reading through the book of Job (which I am), but one day I feel led to open the book of James! I don’t want to get myself in such a rut of “NO! I’m reading in Job and Job only!” that I don’t follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit..

    To cover the other things you mentioned, I like both reading the scripture myself and listening to it. I’m an auditory learner, so I will often read a passage, then listen to it, then read it again…Sometimes the person reading reads too fast for me though, so that’s why I also read it myself…And I usually follow along when someone is reading aloud.
    Morning vs. Night for me changes on a daily basis…It depends on my schedule and how I feel led by the Spirit. I at least try to spend a bit of time in the morning in prayer and singing (music is my personal favorite way to glorify God). I will often be hanging clothes out of the line in the morning times and just sing and pray to the Lord (and quote scripture) while I do so… =) That’s just a personal thing I like to do..
    Physical copy vs. App: I MUCH prefer having a physical copy! I just personally prefer having it in my hand…that’s just a preference though. However, I do have the YouVersion app on my iPod because when I go somewhere and am waiting in the car or something, it’s convenient to have that app to pull out!

    My apologies…this has been a crazy long comment…I hope it wasn’t too much and was helpful!

    • I like what you said about some versions not being fully accurate or reliable. Sometimes my family has been reading a passage, then we look it up in a commentary (of a different Bible) and find that the original Greek word could possibly have been translated better. The commentary we use (John MacArthur) is in the NASB

  • 1. Set a time every day to read the Bible and do it. Morning, evening, mealtimes, whatever. Just do it and do it consistently. Do it whether you want to or not…why starve yourself of God’s word because you don’t have an appetite? (I can’t take credit for that last sentence btw, I think Danny said it first…)

    2. Try getting a one-year Bible if you’re serious about reading the word. I have and enjoy reading a chronological version.

    3. On top of doing that, I want to get an audio Bible for my car now that I can drive. But doing that all at once might be too much. 😉

    Hope this helps!

  • Faith

    I agree with Megan, it really is the desire you have to be in the word and to seek God, the deeper the desire to invest in your relationship with God, the deeper the desire you will have to read his word. I, personally like reading a plan on Youversion in the morning, and doing a bible study and devotion at night. I’m currently reading in the New Testament, and then I will do my devotion before I go to bed, I’m using the “Live Second” 365 day devotion right now and I really like it! But I really want to encourage you to stay in the word because it is so rewarding!

  • Haylie

    I would really encourage y’all to read your Bible and spend time with God, even when you don’t “feel” like it. I struggled for a while, feeling guilty that i had little desire to seek God. But God has a way of renewing us, and giving us a desire for His word when we really truly seek Him. Desire is just a feeling, but an action. So please, fellow believers, be in The Word. However that looks for you, Bible apps, mp3s, morning noon or night. Just do it. I’ll be honest, I struggle a lot with reading my Bible consistently. I couldn’t do it at all without God, that’s for sure.

    Personally, I often use NKJV to study, and NIV occasionally. I love holding an actual Bible in my hands when I read, but that’s coming from the old fashioned, pencil and paper, handwritten letter, tech challenged type of girl 😉

  • Okie Gal

    I use ESV, usually mid afternoon. I try to pray and think about what I read whenever I have a second. I go through one book at a time but I don’t have a set plan. (I just finished Romans, then read 1 John today.) I like to read the whole book at once to get the jist, then I’ll reread it in smaller bits to get a better understanding. If I get lost I’ll look at a different translation or a commentary, and that usually clears things up. Before I read I pray that I’ll get it, and afterwards that I’ll use it. Hope this is helpful, and gives you some ideas. :)

    • I love how you said to pray beforehand that you’ll understand it, and afterwards that you’ll use it!!! That’s such an excellent idea!

      • Okie Gal

        Thanks, the idea actually came from a friend. Glad you like it! :)

    • Joshua Adams

      Reading the whole book first is a great idea!

      • Okie Gal

        Thanks, it’s something my church taught me. :)

  • tmselden

    I love your desire to honor God in the reading of His Word. I know that God will honor your efforts.

    I used to go to a church that made daily Bible reading and devotions a qualification for being a Christian. It heaped a lot of guilt and shame on those who were sometimes in situations that limited their Bible time. It wasn’t until our family realized that that was legalism that we found the freedom to live under grace and not law. I was once condemned by a woman in church for saying that God understands when young mothers can’t always fulfill scheduled time with The Lord. God is way more concerned with our heart and the motivations of our heart than He is a schedule.

    I believe that structuring a time is good for many, but I also know that there are seasons and reasons in life that can limit our structured time, for example new parents or parents with little ones, or people who are ill and cannot read a lot. And we all know that reading scripture does not necessarily a Christian make.

    Due to the nature of my lifestyle, I am gifted to spend as many hours as I would like in the study and the reading of the Word. Most people don’t have that time. I use all types for study, both apps and hard copy, but I enjoy apps because of the easiness of carrying with me at all times.

    I have always enjoyed reading, but with the new or not-so-new audio apps for the Bible, I do both at the same time. I get a lot out of it. But there are different learning styles for everyone.

    I would highly recommend any of John MacArthur’s resources that are freely available on gty.org. Here you will learn the depth of the meaning of scripture.

    But the most important thing to remember is that God is looking at our hearts and we should not beat ourselves up when things may interrupt our plans. Remember that He is always with us.

    Directed By Him,
    Jean

  • Louis Gervais

    Hi Courtney! To answer your questions simply: An hour a day. I read it. Usually at night. Physical copy. I do a chapter of Proverbs a day, and otherwise I go from Genesis to Revelation, repeat. NIV (1984) at the moment. Have a good day!

  • You have a great desire to read your bible! But the translation does not matter, what matters is that you read it. I try to read mine for half an hour at night.

  • Regan Seba

    I really struggle to be consistent about reading my Bible and praying- something that takes a great deal of discipline that I haven’t achieved yet.

    My Bible is a pink and orange(very proud of that) NIV, and I really prefer to read it in my Bible instead of someone else or online because I like to underline and write notes in the margins(in colored pens, preferably, so that I notice different things reading back through). I tend to skip around and read a verse here this day, a verse there that day, whatever I notice and journal on. As for prayer, lately I’ve been writing down prayers that mean a lot to me in a journal.

    I read my Bible a lot this summer in the car on the way to pick berries, and I tend to do better in the mornings than at night.

    • I’m SUPER partial to my Bible too!!!! My parents gave it to me as a gift when I was 7, and from then until now I’ve highlighted, underlined, etc SO many verses! Sometimes I look at the marks I made when I was 7 and wish I hadn’t made them (a bit excessive and bright),but really, it makes them all the more special! <3

  • Kate

    I like NIV ’cause I think that’s easiest to understand. But you have to figure it out what works best for you. I read a hard copy but when I am having a hard time finding time I like to listen to audio so that I can be doing chores, etc while still getting into the Word. I have always heard that doing it at the same time each day is important. But so far I haven’t been able to find that time. I think that as teens we have so much to do and get to and such varying schedules that that is especially hard. Anyone have any suggestions on that? Cause it’s soooo hard to do it everyday.

    • Okie Gal

      I totally understand. For me I can’t really have a set time, but if i have a minute between jobs I’ll read a little and then think on that until I have some more time later on. Also you could try getting up earlier or going to bed later. I’m pretty bad about this, but I hope it helps anyway!

    • I think having a set time can be helpful, but I don’t think it’s always necessary…! As long as you ARE spending time in the Word, and with the Lord, why does it matter the time of day you do it? And truthfully, we should be spending time with the Lord throughout the whole day in prayer..! For me, singing is also a big part of how I like to worship God. =)

    • Chris T.

      Kind of late to the discussion, but I think it’s about making time for it. It’s not that we don’t have time, but we don’t make it a priority. I struggle with doing that. Brett Harris has an email list he sends out from time to time, and in one of them he talks about this. One of the suggestions is if you ever say I don’t have time for something, then phrase it this way: It’s not a priority.

      • Great comment, Chris!! I really agree with that.

        • Chris T.

          In fairness though, I was just sharing what I’ve learned.

  • Percussion_4_Christ

    I read the ESV version because that’s what our church uses, so it’s just easier to follow along with what our pastor is reading, and also when we’re memorizing Scriptures.
    I prefer using the actual paper book that is the Bible to an app just because I can write notes on the margin of the page.
    I prefer reading the Bible to listening just because I’m not as good of an audible learner as I am a visual learner. But I do suggest listening to it if you’re super duper busy. You could listen to it in the car on the way to school or work or whatever you do so that way you can have the time.
    And I prefer reading it in the mornings before I’m already exhausted from that day’s activities. There have been many occasions where I’ve fallen asleep from reading it at night. (Also, read it sitting at a desk or table. Don’t read your Bible with “homeschooler syndrome” by lying in bed. You’re sure to fall asleep if you do.)
    I would read along with whatever is being discussed in church. Like for me it would be one day read a chapter in Exodus (our Sunday morning sermon), the next read a chapter of Genesis (our Sunday School study), another read a chapter in Joshua (Wednesday Night Youth group), and so on.

    • Joshua Adams

      do you really play percussion (your name)?

      • Percussion_4_Christ

        Yep! Do you?

        • drummer/Godfollower/LOTRfan

          yep! love your name by the way.

  • Julia

    My time with God/in the Bible was CONSTANTLY getting pushed out, so at the beginning of the school year I decided to set aside my 6-7 am hour for God, so I just spend an hour in the Bible/praying and it’s really good to do before school and stress starts!

  • Amy Davis

    This may possibly be a helpful suggestion.. due to our homeschooling partially to keep from learning just to test, also the desire to learn for good and to keep what was learned”4life” then adding into the mix the”happenstance” of being involved in Awana program-Aprroved workman and not ashamed- from Tim. 2:15… sigh , our family has memorized large sums of scripture and their reference. Because of all those factors, it’s easy to go over God’s word in our heads, anywhere, anytime.
    It’s nice, and helpful
    Hope that may be of some assist

  • Joy Swen

    Personally I absorb it better if I listen to it. I get distracted really easialy when I’m reading so I’ll read an entire page and not remember a word of it. I enjoy listening to it while doing something with my hands like making a bracelet ot folding cloths. And I do Awana which has lessons and assigned Bible reading. Yeah. I guess that’s about it.

  • Hiya Courtney :)

    I set my alarm for 6:30, and when I’ve managed to move my arm a few inches (usually about ten minutes later lol), I pick up my Bible and read for a few minutes in bed. On the 6th of this month, I have actually been reading the Bible every day FOR A YEAR! You can probably tell I was pretty pleased! My inspiration was from Mr. Ray Comfort (www.livingwaters.com) when I heard him speak at the UK Mega Answers in Genesis Conference 2014 (I live in Scotland). When I come to the end of a book I just randomly pick a new one to read. I am in 1 Corinthians at the mo, which I am enjoying. Lots of good guidance there!

    Hope this helps 😉

    P.S. I read NIV because I was presented with one at our old church when I went into high school age. (I’m homeschooled.)

    • Joshua Adams

      kudos on reading the bible everyday for a year! if you can stick with it everyday even when you feel like you’re not “getting” anything out of it, it will really bless your life.

      • Thanks buddy :)

      • HeartSeed

        not getting anything out of it haha
        remembered the time I was reading some parts of Leviticus and Numbers

  • AnnaGrace

    I use an interactive devotional called the Quiet Time Diary, put out by Word of Life Fellowship. (link: http://www.wol.org/quiettime/ )

  • Leif Larsen

    Get the YouVersion Bible app! I love hard copy’s of the bible, but I can’t always carry it around etc. you can set up “Bible plans” or Bible studies (turn your notifications on) so you can read it every day and stay on track with whatever goals you may have. I would recommend NIV or ESV! Both are great. Some argue that ESV is a better translation.

  • Cora

    Sometimes it is easier to just listen to the Bible, but reading it myself and understanding it makes me feel satisfied more. I read the Bible in the morning with my parents and sometimes alone at night before going to bed. In the morning i tend to rush, so i think it’s better for me to read it at night, alone. I know that the Bible app is easier to carry when i’m traveling, but i personally like the book form. Opening the Bible app means i’m opening my smart phone, means i could get tempted to open other apps. I am committed to not open my smart phone when i’m in church. it is hard, but i think that’s what i should do.

  • Great question! It’s fun to hear what everyone else does.
    I usually read my physical, NIV Bible (I don’t know if I have a preference of which version or not, it’s just the Bible I happen to have) in the mornings, when possible as soon as I wake up. At the moment I’m reading through the Old Testament (not including Psalms or Proverbs), the New Testament, and Psalms or Proverbs. I read some of each every morning (I like to get a bit of the context of the OT, teaching from the NT, and praise/wisdom of Psalms and Proverbs each day). Except when I want to read about a particular topic/story or revisit something I heard in a sermon or family devotions. I haven’t scheduled it or anything, so I can do whatever I need to.
    I like the physical copy because it’s easier for me to open to multiple passages at once, to write in the margin, and to remember where particular verses are on each page. I decided to always use my physical Bible and to keep all my notes in there, but my sister uses her kindle because she likes to have the commentary handy and she’s quick at typing and searching too.
    Sometimes when I have to get up really early (I mean before 5:00am) it doesn’t happen, but I find it’s hard to make time if I don’t do it straight away.

  • guy in chicago

    A note on different translations :)
    1. Any Bible is better than none! Read, read & read it!
    …That being said it’s still good to know which works best for you.

    For study, and particularly in the Old Testament, I would recomend a more literal translation (e.g. ESV, NASB, HSCB…) Which allows for greater detail.

    For NIV & NLT are designed more for readability and also more paraphrased. In some areas they will replace “He” with “their” and that can affect how you read prophecy in Old Testament regarding the Messiah.

    So it’s your choice! It’s good to be informed :) I personally use the HSCB and really like it!

    I would really recommend getting a Bible with cross references so you can connect the dots in scripture :)

    A fancy word called Hermeneutics; it is the art and science of interpreting the Bible!

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