If you’ve spent any time in Christian circles you’ve probably heard all the lingo. Quiet-times, spending time, personal devotions and so on, they all describe the same thing; personal time spent in God’s Word and prayer. Everyone will have different practices, use different materials and do it at different times of the day. But I think that there is a problem with our training on quiet-times, whether that’s intentional training or not.
A Christian may set aside 15 minutes a day for their quiet-times, for example. They read a few verses, think of what they mean, pray and carry on with their day. That’s not a bad thing, but it think it presents a problem.
If we’re only spending a few minutes a day in God’s Word then we’re only going to read a few verses. Reading a few verses, normally out of context, means that people are more likely to misinterpret the meaning of the text. If you misinterpret, you misapply.
I think that this culture has possibly come about in certain circles because of the size of passages we preach on. If a preacher can talk for 30 minutes on a Sunday about a few verses, then surely we can learn a lot from just a few verses, so the logic goes. That is right, but it doesn’t do justice to the hours of study that the preacher invested in his sermon.
I don’t think Christians need to spend 8 hours a day reading their Bible. But if we are truly wanting to grow in our faith and our understanding of God, then the Bible is the place to go.
A problem is that people are satisfied with reading just a few verses, which can often be treated as a spiritual jump-start to the day. There are a number of issues with that approach to the Bible, but I’d like to focus on one.
Constantly focusing on just a few short verses means that we’re susceptible of taking Scripture out of context. We’re in danger of twisting the Bible’s message and in danger of falling into false teaching.
One of the ways to remedy this is to read big portions of Scripture. Instead of reading just a few verses, why not read the whole book you’re studying in one sitting. It will take a while, depending on what book you choose, but there is no better way to get to know the story of the Bible than simply reading it.
This is where I find it helpful to have a Bible Reading plan that takes you through the whole Bible in a year. You read larger chunks of Scripture that help you grasp something of the big story of the Bible.
Let’s not settle for bite size times in the Bible, but let’s marvel at the grand story of salvation played out in the Bible by a wonderful God.
The resources that people use for their quiet-times are important too, but that’s for another blog post.
What are the things you find most difficult about quiet-times? What have you done in the past to help you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, leave a comment below or head to the contact page and get in touch.