Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are You Getting Anything Out of Bible Reading?

Sometimes it’s possible to think you’re accomplishing something, when you’re not. Take today, for instance. I went to the gas station to fill up my tank and then bought groceries. When I was almost home, I happened to glance down and noticed the needle on my gauge said I was almost on empty. What happened? Didn’t I just get gas, or was my gauge not working?

For one brief moment, I thought about waiting to see if it went down from there. It is gray and stormy and I really didn’t want to go out again. But I was even less excited by the prospect of running out of gas on a dark and stormy night, far from help. So I called the station. Turns out, through a comedy of errors, I never actually received any gas.

So I put away the groceries and back to the station I went. This time I made sure the needle showed Full before exiting.

The same thing can happen in our spiritual life. If you are trying to make it a daily habit to read your Bible, how do you know if you are filled up afterward? Here are a few ways to tell.

One sure sign that you’re not getting anything out of your reading is if you’re constantly running out of gas. I wasn’t foolhardy enough to test this out with my car, but so often we do this spiritually. If this is happening to you, you may not be connecting to the gas nozzle, but this can be fixed. God is extremely interested in giving us the strength we need each day through His Word, so if you ask Him what needs to change, He will show you. It might help you to read aloud, memorize, journal, talk about it with friends, or ask others how they get the most from their reading.

Another thing that can happen is fly by reading. Since I did visit the gas station, I could have checked it off my list and called it good, but I still wouldn’t have any gas in my car. If we read the Bible too fast and don’t take time to focus, meditate on, or respond to what it says, we may be able to say we visited the station, but it won’t get us very far.

The gas gauge is a handy little gadget to have. I was relieved to discover mine was working after all. Several ways to gauge whether your Bible reading is filling up your spirit is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Would you be able to tell somebody else what you read today and what it meant to you?
  • Does the Bible continue to speak to you throughout the day?
  • Does it regularly challenge you - to change in some way, wait for direction, seek forgiveness, speak out, shut up, or learn more?
  • Do you expect God to speak to you; do you respond?
  • Do you trickle in a few drops or invest in filling up?
  • Is it making a difference in the way you think and act?
  • Have your attitudes changed for the better since you started reading God’s Word?
I’m so glad I went back to fill up my car. It took extra time out of my day that I hadn’t planned on, but I will be much better off down the road. J  I promise you that if you invest time each day in the Bible, expecting God to meet you there, He will fill you up with such good stuff that your tank will overflow! And you will drive into your day prepared to meet whatever challenges come your way.       


  1. Loved this! Thanks so much for the helpful analogy :)

  2. I like it! I have forwarded your blog link to others. I have noticed that when I miss a day or two of reading my Bible, I start running on "empty." You certainly had that right!!!Beautiful picture up on your Blog as well...very nice.

  3. Wow this was a wonderful post. I really needed that. I'm going to be re-reading it over and over, I'm sure. Thank you, Beth!!

  4. I really liked this good advice, and I love the winter pictures you have on Epiphany too.