This year one of my goals was to do a daily devotional every morning. I’ve been doing this consistently every morning since January first and I can’t lie, it didn’t take long before I started to wonder how efficient my devotional time actually was. Reading one little scripture and saying a quick two sentenced prayer after each devotional paragraph left me feeling like I was kind of rushing my quiet time. Luckily though, i’ve figured out a few ways to better incorporate a deeper bible study into my morning routine and I thought I’d share them with you!
E-Sword is a free bible study reference software used to help the reader gain a deeper understanding of scripture. My devotional typically offers at least one scripture or passage that kind of encompasses the message of the devotional, so a useful way I like to make the most out of that single scripture or passage is by using E-Sword’s bible dictionary and commentary tools.
E-Sword has an incredible wide variety of different versions of each, so it’s always interesting to dive deeper in this regard. Now at first the software is extremely intimidating. All I felt like I saw on first glance was a bunch of words and tabs I had no clue what to do with. It may leave you clueless as to where to start first but it does have an online “training” center in which you can learn how to utilize E-Sword to its fullest capacity. I’d say it’s worth knowing how to work. Once you get more comfortable using it, it makes a great accompaniment to your morning bible time.
2. Mark Your Bible
If you prefer to read straight from the bible, but find yourself having a loss of direction as far as where to go for what and what to read, try organizing the content section of your bible. Simply take out a few different colored pens or highlighters and assign a color to each of the following sections of the bible:
- History: Joshua-Esther & Acts
- Pentateuch: Genesis-Deuteronomy
- Wisdom Letters: Job-Song of Solomon
- Major Prophets: Isaiah-Daniel
- Minor Prophets: Hosea-Malachi
- Gospels: Matthew-John
- Paul’s Letters: Romans-Philemon
- General Letters: Hebrews-Jude
- Apocalyptic: Revelation
This makes it way easier to know what books to go to for what and essentially makes your read more effective.
3. Prepare the Night Before
Section out a time the night before or maybe even take a weekend night to plan out what you want to cover for the week (or just the next morning). Maybe you wish for more time in prayer or meditation time for the scriptures you’re reading. Maybe you have no clue what scriptures or passages you want to read but are heavy-hearted about something and need encouragement.
Utilize e-sword or/and notes from church. That preparation will not be in vain. If you only ever get 10 to 30 minutes to have morning bible time than you can utilize that time in the most effective way possible.
4. Listen to a Podcast while getting ready
If for some reason I can’t spend as much time as I want to in the word or in prayer, podcasts are my lifesavers. There are so many free sermons and theological discussions available to listen to via podcasts. The great thing about these podcasts is you can listen to them while you’re getting ready, in the car, and pretty much anywhere you can play music.
I enjoy listening to sermons from The Village Church, but I also occasionally listen to the Crazy Love podcast by Francis Chan to name a few. There are also several bible study podcasts available, a really popular one being Bible Study Podcasts by Pastor Toby Logsdon.
5. Take a scripture or passage and meditate on it
Pray about it and make it the scripture/passage of the day and attempt to really hide it in your heart by memorizing it. Journal what it means to you and ways to apply it to your life. Sometimes one single scripture can speak louder to you in one morning than 3 or 4 and an accompanying devotional can. Focusing on one scripture and really honing in on all aspects of that scripture really helps solidify a deeper understanding and connection to God’s word.
If there is a tool you like to use for bible study, feel free to mention it below in the comments!