How to Read the Bible When You’ve Already Read the Bible

Betsy St. Amant Haddox

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published Apr 23, 2024
How to Read the Bible When You’ve Already Read the Bible

Discussing the Word with other believers is one of the best ways to cement the truth deep into your heart!

Reading the Bible can often prove to be a difficult task. Sometimes, the very act of sitting down and reading feels like a chore or impossible to fit into our day as busy women. But even when we make the time and prioritize as we should, our reading time doesn’t always go as we hope. Have you ever caught yourself reading and realized an entire chapter went by and you didn’t remember a single word? Yikes! I know I have. Sometimes I get so caught up in the goal of finishing the chapter that I don’t give any thought toward comprehension—much less application! ::face palm::

Or, have you ever been sitting in church and the pastor asks everyone to stand and join him in reading a particular verse, and it’s one you know by heart so you mouth the words out loud without looking…yet you’re comprehending absolutely nothing from the declaration? You might as well be chanting a nursery rhyme or the Declaration of Independence. It’s just something you know. 

Don’t feel too guilty. It happens to all of us—and I’m finding it happens a lot to Christians who grew up in the church and started memorizing Scripture at a young age. For example, I was in Bible Drill as a pre-teen, so I know a lot of Scripture. I’ve read the entire Bible through twice. I can find Obadiah in under ten seconds. (weird flex, I know) I’m decent at remembering which book of the Bible various Scriptures are located (their “address”, so to speak). While all that helped me win trophies and tucked Scripture away in my mind, it didn’t necessarily do anything to help store it in my heart

Only the Holy Spirit can take His Word and help us remember it and apply it to our lives. 

Now, don’t get me wrong—this doesn’t mean we don’t memorize the Word! We should. But it does mean we might need to be more intentional about our Bible time so the familiar doesn’t become rote. 

Here are seven tips on how to read the Bible when you’ve already read it before:

1. Pray

This is number one on the list and should always be our first go-to method! Before you read the Bible, or even crack its cover, stop. Take a breath. And pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal fresh insight to you before you even attempt to start reading. Here’s some exciting news that changes everything: The Bible is called "The Living Word."  

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) says, "For the word of God 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."

What does that mean? How can a book be “alive”? Well, think about it. Have you ever been reading your Bible or listening to a sermon, and suddenly a particular Scripture leaps off the page? Or it strikes a sudden chord in your heart or triggers tears? That’s the Bible being The Living Word, becoming new and fresh and applicable to your current situation or struggle. The best part is only the Holy Spirit can do that—so when that happens, it’s an awesome indicator that He’s working in your life. 

2. Keep Reading

This sounds pretty basic, but it’s true. Sometimes the reason we struggle to read the Bible or feel connected to what we’re reading is that we give up too soon. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity, meaning, when it comes to Scripture, we don’t need to pressure ourselves to finish an entire chapter or a full book. Those can be good goals if you appreciate daily reading plans, but for some Christians, that pressure can cause anxiety and stress, or at the least, disconnection and distraction. While we don’t have to read a certain amount every day, it is important to read something and not to give up because we feel like “nothing is happening.” 

3. Read Often

Results beget more results. Productivity begets more productivity. It’s a law of our world. When we stop doing something, the less likely we are to want to do something. This goes for a lot of disciplines in our lives, like studying for a test, exercising, following a healthy eating plan, etc. The more you stick with it and see results, the more you want to stick with it and see more results. That’s also true with spiritual disciplines, like prayer and reading the Word. Whether you read a little or a lot, try to read often. It’ll keep you in the habit. 

4. Mediate on What You Read

This one can be tricky because it requires us busy wives and mothers and women to turn off the multi-tasking efforts of our brains. If you’re anything like me, the second you get quiet or find a minute to yourself, you see your grocery list play out in your mind like a movie, or you start thinking about which kid has to be carpooled to which event next. But make the effort to clear your head (remember to pray and ask God to help you!) and then think about what you’re reading. Don’t let it simply pass your eyes by rote. This takes concentration and focus, two things our culture is naturally not good at anymore, but we can do it with the power of the Holy Spirit.  

5. Talk About What You Read

Discussing the Word with other believers is one of the best ways to cement the truth deep into your heart! Bring up what you read lately at your next Sunday school class or church small group. Call a friend and go to coffee or lunch and tell them what you’ve been reading about. Ask what they’ve been reading, too. Build each other up. You could even start a “Bible book club” of sorts together and make it a regular thing. You’ll both be blessed! Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

6. Write About What You Read

You don’t have to be a published author to write down what you think or learned in your quiet time. Even if you weren’t one to journal as a kid or teenager, give it a try with your Bible reading today. You can journal your thoughts, write out questions you’d like to ask someone who is more biblically knowledgable than you, or simply write what you think in a prayer. Be honest with God about your confusion, doubt, questions, or reactions to His Word. Ask Him to work in your heart through what you read. The bonus perk to writing these things out is that it's documented so you can come back months or years later and see how far you’ve grown spiritually or remember how God answered your prayers. 

7. Recognize That Your Feelings Won’t Always Line Up

Sometimes, we read the Bible and are moved to tears, right? We feel the breadth and length and height and depth of our Savior’s love for us, just like Paul prayed for us to in Ephesians 3:18-21. But other times, we feel nothing. We might as well be eating vegetables for all the emotion we’re connecting to our reading time. But remember, our feelings aren’t always accurate indicators of what’s happening. One thing is true: we can trust that God is never-changing (Malachi 3:6). He stays the same despite our emotions fluctuating all over the place. This disconnect in our reading time could be due to fatigue, hormones, anxiety, unconfessed sin, or a host of other reasons that aren’t necessarily fixable at the moment. We simply need to appreciate when we have those moments of feeling the connection—and rely by faith in the moments that we don’t, trusting that God is still Who He says He is and working in us. 

Philippians 1:6 (ESV) says, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

At the end of the day, Bible reading is simply another way for us to not only learn more about God but also spend time with Him. It’s not about a bunch of rules and legalistic requirements, but rather, it’s about quality time with our Father Who loves us. Approach it from that view, and you’ll always benefit from the effort. 

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Nathan Dumlao

Betsy_headshotBetsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of over twenty romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hubby, two daughters, an impressive stash of coffee mugs, and one furry Schnauzer-toddler. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored to truth. When she’s not composing her next book or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can be found somewhere in the vicinity of an iced coffee. She is a regular contributor to and offers author coaching and editorial services via Storyside LLC.