Picking a Bible Study/Bible Reading Plan // Ep. 57

 

This is episode 57, and today we’re talking about how an abiding caregiver picks a Bible study or Bible reading plan. We know reading Scripture and spending time with God are important, but sometimes we get so busy we don’t make it a priority in our day. Thankfully there are lots of resources and studies available that help us spend time in the Word and enjoy it!

Quick Links:

This week’s sponsor: The Rising Above Ministries App

Whether you are a beginner special needs parent with a new diagnosis, or you’ve been a caregiver to someone with special needs for years, we would love for you to download the app—available in the App Store or Google Play—and join with our community as we walk this road TOGETHER.

Transcript:

Feb. 1st ep. 57 Picking a Bible Study/Bible Reading Plan

Hi friends, this is Self-Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver, and I’m your host Sandra Peoples. To us, self-care isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. We need to take better care of ourselves so we can care for those God has entrusted to us.

This is episode 57, and today we’re talking about how an abiding caregiver picks a Bible study or Bible reading plan. We know reading Scripture and spending time with God are important, but sometimes we get so busy we don’t make it a priority in our day. Thankfully there are lots of resources and studies available that help us spend time in the Word and enjoy it!

Before we jump into today’s topic, I want to let you know about a new app I love, it’s from Rising Above Ministries. You’ve heard me talk about Rising Above before and all they do to encourage moms and caregivers. And now they have an app to make it easy to keep up with all they offer! I’ll tell you more about it at the end of the episode, so stay tuned!

Friends, like many of you I started a new Bible reading plan on January 1st. I went on my YouVersion Bible app and found one that I thought would be good. But I made it less than a week into reading the major prophets before I kinda gave up. Not intentionally, but by default. I usually love the book of Isaiah, but it felt so heavy and hard in the first week of this year as we adjusted to new routines and my husband continued to struggle with symptoms of covid. Instead of beating myself up for failing at something so important, I asked myself some questions about what I need during my time in the Bible and came up with a plan to make it work. If you’re struggling to make Bible study a consistent habit, hopefully these questions will be helpful for you as well:

The first question I ask is what is keep me from consistently reading? I’m a seminary graduate, a pastor’s wife, and a women’s Bible study teacher at my church. All of that doesn’t make it easier for me to spend time in Scripture every day, but I do think it’s evidence of my love of Scripture. I actually really love studying the Bible. It comes more naturally to me than even praying or worshiping through singing. But what I feel and what I know isn’t always evident in my actions. So what keeps me from reading? Time management? Not having a reading plan? Not being accountable to someone else? All of those are possibilities. Sometimes the answer is sin—there’s a sin in my life that is blocking my desire to study, pray, and worship. Confession and repentance are a good place to start, and then ask for the Holy Spirit to show you what else is blocking you.

What am I looking for in a Bible study/reading plan in this season? 2 Tim. 3:16 is true and important for us to remember: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness …” But there are times when a certain book of the Bible or topical study is especially helpful. So I pray and ask God to help lead me to a book or topic to study. Is it a season for reading through a Bible study plan on YouVersion? Is it a season for reading through a book and reflecting on it in a journal? (This is my husband’s favorite Bible study method.) It is a season for doing a study with a group? (We’ll talk more about those options in a minute.) If you aren’t in the practice of doing anything, I think the best place to start is with a YouVersion Bible reading plan. There are so many good options. They have one from BibleProject through the books of Luke and Acts in 52 days, and it’s a good one to start with! There are shorter ones too, as short as 3, 7, or 10 days. I like longer ones to help me develop the habit of reading and be able to really dig in. If apps aren’t your thing, you can start with reading a Proverb a day, the one that corresponds with the day of the month (31 chapters for 31 days). Or read through the Gospel of Mark (it’s the shortest of the Gospels, and it’s packed with action). Decide what might work best for you!

Third, ask what have I neglected in previous study? Even though I think it’s important to do a study you enjoy and are motivated to do, you may sometimes need to see if there’s a part of the Bible you keep skipping. I’ve mentioned before I don’t hang out in the Psalms a lot. It’s also been a while since I’ve read Revelation. The best fix for this is to read the entire Bible through! When I asked about Bible study methods in our Abiding Caregiver FB group, many answered that they read through the Bible in a year. If you’re interested in doing this, The Bible Recap book and podcast are great resources for reading through the Bible in a year. Tara-Leigh Cobble is a helpful guide! Once you develop the habit of reading every day, make it a goal to read through the entire Bible! 

Fourth, ask what studies can I join at my church or online?  At your church, you may have ongoing women’s Bible studies like we do. Some that I’ve enjoyed doing along with a group are by Jennifer Rothschild, Kelly Minter, Jenn Wilkin, and Trillia Newbell. I know as caregivers it can be hard to join groups at church, but right now many are offering online options! It’s actually never been easier to study the Bible with a group. If they aren’t available at your church, there are lots of great groups online that you can study with! Some of my favorites include She Reads Truth and The Daily Grace Co., Rising Above Ministries has ongoing groups that study the Bible or a book together. These are especially helpful if accountability or getting encouragement from others in person or online is important to you.

And finally, what habit triggers do I need to establish to make it happen? This is really what it all comes down to for me. I can have a study or plan I love and still not do it if I don’t make it a priority. Here’s when I’m making it happen for me right now: I put my son James on the bus around 8:00 each morning. Then I do a workout YouTube video. Then I read in my YouVersion app while I recover from my workout and drink some water. If it’s an off day, like I have an early meeting and don’t do the workout video, I read in the afternoon when I’m sitting in the car waiting to pick up James from school. Making it part of the routine helps make it happen! What habit triggers can you develop to make it happen for you?

I hope these five questions were helpful as you decide on a Bible reading plan or Bible study! We talk often about when Jesus visited Mary and Martha and gently reminded Martha that all she was doing as the hostess was important, but what was most important was sitting at His feet like Mary did. Jesus is just as gentle now with reminders of the importance of time with Him. It’s ok to try and try again. No time in Scripture is wasted time, even the first 3 days of a 30 day study. Answer the questions we talked through today and make a plan to start tomorrow. You won’t regret it!

Let’s pray as we end our time together:

God, Your Word says it is “living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) We need its power in our lives each day to fulfill our calling as caregivers. We are asking for Your help to judge the thoughts and intentions of our heart today as we think about what’s holding us back from consistent time in Your Word and make a plan to start again. We agree with the Psalmist who said, “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Help us fall more and more in love with it each day. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.

We covered a lot today friends, and there are links for everything I mentioned in the shownotes at sandrapeoples.com/thepodcast I hope you find a Bible study or reading plan that works well for you and develop a lifelong habit!

Now, as promised, let me tell you more about the Rising Above Ministries App!

Are you a special-needs parent or caregiver who craves connection with others? Do you walk a hard, lonely road of caregiving and feel like no one understands? Does each day leave you drained with no refreshment in sight?

Rising Above Ministries desires for your journey to be different! Their mission is to bring the love of God and hope in Christ to special needs families through support, encouragement, inspiration, and community.

This mission has challenged them to create an app designed just for special-needs families like yours. Download the Rising Above Ministries app to receive resources, encouragement, prayer, and community as you walk the special-needs journey, no longer alone, but with others and with a purpose!

Whether you are a beginner special needs parent with a new diagnosis, or you’ve been a caregiver to someone with special needs for years, we would love for you to download the app –available in the App Store or Google Play– and join with our community as we walk this road TOGETHER.

Thanks for spending this time with me today, friends! We’ll be talking more about Bible reading plans in our Facebook group for Abiding Caregivers, so find us there so you can join in! It’s my favorite place to hang out on the internet. I’m praying for you this week as you live out your calling as an abiding caregiver!

Leave a Comment