10 Fresh Ways to Engage with Your Bible

10 Fresh Ways to Engage with Your Bible

I envy people who can do the same thing, day in and day out – who can get a spiritual feeding sitting down with their Bible and journal, morning after morning. Personally, I have to switch it up. What works for me one year (or, let’s be honest, one month), doesn’t often work in the next season.

A newborn comes along, and suddenly, all you crave is six hours straight of sleep – let alone half an hour in the morning with Jesus. Growth happens, knowledge is gained, lifeitself isexperienced, and the routines you adhered to so faithfully, for so long, suddenly don’t feel so nourishing anymore.

If you’re anything like me, this is certainly not a bad thing, nor does it bear negatively on your faith: it just simply is. For, just as you need to splice up your everyday life with a new creative juices, the spiritual part of you craves the same inspiration.

Are you in the same boat? If so, here are ten fresh ways to engage with the Bible. 

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  • 1. Break open your crayons and colored pencils.

    In case you haven’t noticed, adult coloring books are all the rage – and Christian publishers aren’t ignorant of the trend. Personally, I love At Play in God’s Creation (Tara Owens) and Creative Moments of Grace (Gayla Irwin); both creative books guide you, as much or as little as you want, into artistic moments with God. 

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  • 2. Go deep.

    One of the best practices I learned in seminary was to go deep into a single passage of scripture. I once spent an entire semester studying Hannah’s Prayer in 1 Samuel 2, and was amazed how much there was to study, learn and be amazed by in 10 verses of scripture! Whenever I feel stuck, I return to this practice and immerse myself in a short story or collection of poetry until the Spirit tells me I’m done.

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  • 3. Find five minutes a day.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries nailed it a couple of years ago with the First5 app, “the app that will transform your time with God.” If you have a cell phone (which most of us do), and five free minutes in your day (which most of us do as well, especially if we stop scrolling through Facebook whenever we’re bored), then you have time to spend with your Maker, and be transformed spiritually in the process. 

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  • 4. Walk & talk.

    The directions are simple: Lace up your tennies. Pop a pair of earphones into your ears. Let scripture seep into your bones, as you walk, through a free Bible app like YouVersion. There’s something about walking and talking (or listening to God, and letting God converse with you). If you’re feeling confined by the mundane, this just might be what you’re looking for to re-engage with the Bible. 

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  • 5. Adopt a Jesuit practice.

    Oftentimes when I feel stuck with reading the Bible, I’ll look to traditions different from my own. Lectio divina is an ancient way of looking at and praying through scripture, through pauses, repetition and listening. You can do the practice alone or with a group of people, and I guarantee it’ll spice up your spiritual life. Likewise, gospel contemplation narrows in on a single passage in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, with a particular emphasis on the five senses. You can read more about both of these monastic practices here

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  • 6. Search for the verbs.

    Take this with a grain of salt, as I used to be a high school English teacher. But I’m telling you, ten or so years ago when the same old stories of Jesus began to bore me, I knew I had to engage with the Bible in a new way. So, I opened up the New Testament and started searching for the verbs. What did Jesus do? What actions surrounded him? What verbs defined his ministry? The practice was so life giving to me at the time – and filled a half a journal along the way! 

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  • 7. Read a children’s bible.

    There’s no doubt: simple is better, especially when it comes to immersing heart and soul with God. I’ll oftentimes head to my boys’ bookshelf, pluck a children’s bible off the shelf, and sit down for hours with these stories. (The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones and Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu are my favorites). Small child in lap, optional. 

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  • 8. Find that the Psalms are enough.

    In Acedia & me, after a particularly harrowing experience with her husband, a friend asks the author, Kathleen Norris if she has something to take for her emotional pain. Her reaction has never left me:

    “I have the psalms,” I answered. “And they’re enough?” she asked, incredulous. “Yes, I replied, not knowing how to explain myself.

    I don’t know about you, but I yearn and desire that these 150 books of poetry to God be enough for me, too. So, if you’re feeling stuck, consider hunkering down with the Psalms, and see if they’re enough for you as well. No explanation necessary.  

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  • 9. Let someone else guide you.

    I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m just exhausted by life; I’m tired of making decisions, and I just want someone else to tell me what to do (which really only lasts for a week or two, and then I want to be in charge again). When this happens, I often turn to a book like A Guide to Prayer for All who Seek God. Scripture, prayer and meditative passages are laid out for me, and as a result, engaging with God in a new way is a no-brainer. 

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  • 10. Listen to a podcast.

    Let’s just call it like it is: podcasts are the bee’s knees. Whether you’re working out, washing dishes, folding laundry or driving your mom-wagon around town, pop on a podcast, listen and learn. I listen to a variety of podcasts, but always have some sort of Bible podcast on tap, including The Liturgists PodcastRelevant Podcast and Shalom in the City. While none of these podcasts explicitly examine scripture, there is always an inclusion of scripture in each of the episodes. 

    The possibilities are endless, mainly, mostly because our God is endless. But one thing is true: God desires to engage with us through holy scripture, even if we have to revamp it a bit on our part.

    So, tell me, what would you add? If I were to come to you in need of fresh ways of engaging with the Bible, what else would come in at the top of your list? 

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    Cara Meredith is a writer and speaker from Seattle, Washington. A member of the Redbud Writers Guild, she is also an adjunct professor at Northwest University and co-host of the Shalom Book Club, a monthly book club podcast. Meanwhile, she spends most of her spare time trying to get her children to eat everything on their plate. You can connect with her on her blogFacebook and Twitter

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