Dear Little Sister ~
I wish we could sit side by side or face to face to have a discussion regarding your questions as to how to find time for personal Bible Study. How I long to show-and-tell you that yes, God wants you to put Him first in your life. Absolutely! As a wife and mother who is not only a fulltime homemaker, but also a fulltime outside-the-home worker, how do you do that? Exactly by doing what you are trying to find time to do! Yet, you say finding time is only one of the issues. Setting aside your study time at the end of the day is not working. You keep falling asleep. From the time I was a high school junior, I battled sleepiness during midday study halls. Reading has always been relaxing for me, so though I agree that being tired does have its effect, perhaps timing is not so all important as what we have allowed ourselves to think! After all these years that I have been reading the Bible, and it’s only recently with the use of the iPad, the You Bible, and the Easy to Read Version, that I have found more simple pleasures from “the Old Story.” I still have to choose my times or I am prone to falling asleep, but my interest is kept more alive by the easier understanding. I don’t think I am the only one to find it so.
In the response you received, I noticed someone recommended you use a Children’s Bible and include your children. The idea of making use of the Easy Reader Version is similar, though different in that as an adult only, you’d likely have less interruption. However, the kinds of interruption brought about by children can be excellent. Their minds work on a different level than that of an adult, and the word pictures and questions they produce can give even the best-educated Bible scholar pause for thought!
Other recommendations I noticed were for certain apps. It’s likely they are similar to a little booklet seemingly designed for people to use each morning, that John and I use each night, called Power For Today. It is $11.95 a year, a quarterly subscription delivered through the mail. Each daily reading starts with a scripture recommendation followed by a single pertinent scripture. Men and women from all over the US and beyond, present brief messages of encouragement related to the verses of the day, adding a recommended hymn, ending with a prayer. There are pages contained in these that I find I MUST tear out to save for future reference and /or to share immediately.
Added to the suggestion of listening to the recorded Bible, etc., as you go to and from work, I think you may have read recommendations from the book, Muscle And A Shovel, along with other publications, to copy scriptures on index cards, to keep where they are easily within reach for when you have those unexpected spare moments such as time spent waiting in line either in your car or waiting to check groceries through, etc.
There’s that one scripture in particular, that came to mind as I was considering your question: Philippians 4: 6-8 (ERV) 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. 8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Contained in those few verses are so many lessons, showing that it’s not the number of verses that’s important, but the content you glean. This is not to say, it’s not needful to read longer passages of scripture; if we don’t read lengthy passages, how are we going to get “the rest of the story”? The ERV is truly like reading a story, and for beginners is as its title implies, an “easy-to-read-version”. In reading through the Bible this year, I have found it delightful. The advantage we have by using the You Bible (as I know you do) is that we can easily switch back and forth between versions if there is a familiar verse that seems “off” to us in the ERV or whatever version we are currently reading.
I understand people have aversions to different interpretations of the Bible. The thing we need to remember is this: few of us have access to the original manuscripts, and if we did, even fewer have the ability to interpret, so to argue over the interpretations, seems to me a waste of time that could be better spent by simply comparing the version(s) with which you are comfortable, while praying for wisdom to come to the conclusion God would have you to understand. Is that not doing exactly what the above quoted verses tell us to do? Remember: Simple faith. God does not ask us to do the impossible, but as the good Father that He is, He does give us responsibility to do our part while He continues to do His.
A brief STUDY GUIDE to taking these few verses apart to see what they say to me (i.e. the individual):
Philippians 4:6-8 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) 6 Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 7 And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. 8 Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected.
Who wrote these verses? (You could do a follow-on study by learning more about the author.)
To whom are the verses written? (You could do a follow-on study by learning more about these people.)
Take verse 6 apart, section by section; what does each section say to you personally?
Is verse 7 meant for every person who reads it? Why or why not?
Verse 8 is a continuation as to whom the section is written; is it important to consider the verses in context (i.e. the verses that come before and after)? Why or why not?
In preparing this response for you, my Dear Little Sister, the one who asked the original question, my hope has been and is, to encourage you and many to draw closer in simple faith and obedience to THE ONE WHO wants to be GOD AND FATHER to us all.
In His love,