The most famous excuse I have heard from myself and others as to why they don’t study the Bible is, “I don’t have time.”
We struggle with finding time to read God’s Word whether it’s our time-consuming job, business, children, family, responsibilities, or ministries. So to help you brainstorm and figure out a way to create your own devotional time, I have asked 8 busy women who love the Word to share with us how they find time to devote to God praying and reading Scripture.
I love each of these women and the ministries they are doing online. I am so excited to be sharing what they have to say about finding time to read the Bible. Though it’s long, I definitely recommend sitting down and reading what each of these women have to say.
Lisa is a mom, Bible study leader, and high-school homeschool mom. She blogs and writes no-fluff Bible studies for women at Conforming to the Truth.
When Lara asked for contributors for this article, I quickly replied, “Yes.” I love God’s Word and understand how important it is to study.
I’m a last year home school mom, blogger, and hold a Bible Study class in my hometown to encourage and equip women to study God’s Word. But, after I replied “yes” I felt sick at my stomach. Why? Because there are days I do not study. How could I help you or anyone else with how I plan or set aside time for study if I am not consistent myself? However, there is a few things I “purposely” do that I hope helps you. I set aside early mornings for myself. Getting up before anyone else so there’s fewer distractions. I know what book or passage I will study. It’s typically, the book in which I am writing a study. I do not set aside a certain numbers of verses to work through. Some days I might work through one verse another day I might study 10. It depends on what I am studying and what the Holy Spirit is teaching. I hide in my office upstairs away from the hustle and bustle of the home.
That’s my plan, nothing special. But there’s one more thing I do that most of us may never think of. I plan and give myself grace. As a perfectionist, grace has not always been easy to give to myself. You need grace too! It is important to have a plan in place that works best for you and your family. But when interruptions come, and they will, pull up to the table of grace, thank God for the interruptions and pick up where you left off! Let’s not be legalistic. Study and study hard, but welcome the moments when God interrupts your plan!
Kimberly Cummings is a native Texan who loves being a pastor’s wife, mom, writer and podcaster for Women’s Hope Project, and ACBC Certified Biblical Counselor. In all the counseling and teaching she provides, she makes it a priority to be both Christ-centered and practical. She is a bit of a coffee snob and makes time for wiggling her toes in the sand at the beach near her SoCal home.
As an empty nester, pastor’s wife, biblical counselor who has an online ministry and cares for my live-in mother-in-law, I have found the hours between 4:30 and 7:30 in the morning to be the sweetest times with the Lord. My hubby leaves for work early, so I keep his schedule. An added benefit is many are still sleeping allowing for fewer interruptions. But just in case, I leave my cell phone and computer out of reach. I confess, they too easily distract me.
When my beloved leaves, the strongest, blackest coffee fills my favorite mug and joins me at my “thoughtful spot” where my Bible is waiting for me. Each home I have lived in has had a place where my colored pencils, notebook, and other study instruments await. I read 5 Psalms a day (with the exception of Psalm 119; I read it all by itself) with the intention to pray through them, better understand the character of God, as well as for personal reflection and application. The words of the Psalmists will always convey perfectly my exaltations, intercessions, confessions, and supplications to God. God wrote the Psalms, so it makes perfect sense to speak them back to Him!
Following my time in the Word, I will consider my schedule for the day, get as much done in the earlier hours that is to be accomplished in the home (articles, counseling prep, speaking prep, etc.) so I can serve others through doctor visits, counseling, errands etc. after 9:00 am. I do not have on the television during the day at all. It is saved for the evenings. When the television is on, that is when I make the images for the website.
Kim is a wife and homeschooling mother from Columbia, South Carolina. She is a writer and podcaster for Women’s Hope Project. She is deeply passionate about getting women into the pure Word of God, and she is active in the women’s and music ministries at Green Hill Baptist Church in West Columbia, SC. Kim enjoys shenanigans and tomfoolery and can be found wherever there is cheesecake. She praises her Lord daily for coffee.
When you asked for my contribution, you said “How do you make time to study?” That’s the key. Making the time is a critical element of Bible study. None of us would study the Word if we had to find the time.
The number one excuse I hear for not studying God’s Word is “I don’t have the time.” That’s simply not true. We all have the same amount of hours each day. We make time for things that are important to us.
Last Thanksgiving, I spent an entire day binge-watching the new Gilmore Girls reunion series on Netflix. I planned for it. I looked forward to it. I told everyone in my house not to disturb me that day. I don’t remember eating a meal. I probably did, but I don’t remember doing it. I made time for it because it was of high importance to me.
I am a homeschooler, a Biblical counseling student, and I operate an online Women’s Ministry from home. I’m busy. I make the time for the Word because God is worthy of my time. The Bible teaches me how to become more Christ-like. I can’t do anything in my life well without first knowing my Lord well.
Friends, if we are truly serious about God’s Word, we must make time for it. I have found that Bible reading and Bible study must go on my daily to-do list and Bible gets the highest level of priority. For me, afternoons work best.
If you have gotten out of the habit of making time for the Bible, may I encourage you to begin with Psalm 119 with a pen in your hand? Circle every reference to God’s Word (law, precepts, word), and list what God Himself has to say about the importance of His Word. After you have made your list, pray to your Father, repent what is necessary, and then put Bible study on your to-do list along with laundry and grocery shopping. Make the time sisters. He is worthy!
Jess Pickowicz is a church planting pastor’s wife and homeschooling mama of two. She loves children’s literature and has a passion for learning and teaching biblical truth. Jess is the founder of Beautiful Thing and you can find more from there there.
No matter how painful at first, shut off the TV at night! I have reclaimed so many hours of my life, and I don’t miss it one bit. (It’s been four months.) You see, I’m more of an “early bird” than a “night owl.” I’m highly productive in the mornings and I begin to peter out around 1pm, slowly losing steam and stamina until my head hits the pillow.
I justified, every which way, my night-time TV routine–I was too tired to read, but alert enough to binge four episodes of my favorite series. So if you are like me, you are probably thinking, “My brain is mush at night, and there’s no way I can study Scripture at that time.” And there is truth to it. It is much easier to passively watch a show, than it is to apply the mind to the study of Scripture. And when you’re tired, and it’s been a long hard day, it’s the last thing you want to do.
However, I was recently convicted and consequently determined to reclaim these night hours that were unproductive. So I started listening to the YouVersion Bible app at 1.5 speed, and reading along in my actual Bible (not the screen.) It has made reading and retaining so much easier for me (as easy as Netflix.) Right now I am doing Jen Wilken’s FREE James study (https://fmwbs.wordpress.com/other-curriculum/) this way, and I’m loving it. Last thing, ask God to help you love and desire Him and His Word more. He is faithful to answer.
Kristen is PA girl currently in Maine, after five big moves. She was raised in a Christian home, a church secretary in her 20’s, attended lots of churches, and recently embraced Reformed theology. She loves to read the Bible, theology books, sew purses, blog, cook, watch home reno shows, and pet her cats. That’s of course in addition to her top ministries of wife and mom of 3 tweens. You can find more of her writing at www.kristen-hamilton.com.
I’m 40, married 20 years, and a mom of three “tween” girls, who has gone through many seasons. For the summer, my girls sleep in, so I can sit down to read the Bible, journal, and study before they even get up. During the school year, I get them out the door and then settle down to read and study.
Tips from various seasons:
- When the kids are in bed: read the Word to yourself or with your husband.
- With babies: use feeding time, when you have to sit down anyway, to read the Word.
- With toddlers: let them watch an episode of cartoons, or use naptime to read.
- Homeschooling: read the Bible and pray with the kids to start the school day.
- Discipline yourself: years ago, I instituted a rule for myself that I couldn’t get on social media or blog until I had read the Bible first.
- Use a Bible app: read sections/chapters or look up verses anytime. I’ve used it from waiting at the dance studio to sitting on the beach. You could even read a chapter on your phone before getting out of bed. It has a feature that reads the Bible to you, so sometimes I have it read to me while I’m driving.
- Don’t think you have to journal and do in-depth study every day. You can read through the Bible or follow a daily reading plan, and only dig more when you come across something that you don’t understand or want to learn more about. It matters that you renew your mind with the Word of God.
Marci is a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, wife, mother and grandmother. She is here by God’s grace and overwhelmed by His kindness in redeeming her as His daughter. You can find her at Thankful Homemaker where she shares about her walk with the Lord, her passion for biblical womanhood and her continual learning of what it means to live all of life to the glory of God.
I came to faith later in my life and as a young believer I was thankful for those the Lord put in my life to encourage me to spend time daily in His Word. Sometimes it was through books I read and many times it was in seeing the difference in the lives of Christians that spent time at the feet of Jesus. I desired to be changed by His Word to reflect more of Him and less of me.
My time in the Word changes with each season but right now as a grandmother, empty nester and early riser I find myself getting a bit more time to spend with the Lord in the mornings to take in His Word. I still keep a routine to my time in the Word because it helps me to stay focused. I have all my resources laid out where I sit each morning and keep my study Bible and materials set up for easy time to just sit and study.
I can still get caught up in my to do list at times and think there is much to get done and if I just cut back a few minutes I can accomplish this or that. But then I’m reminded of Mary who choose the good part and sat at the Lord’s feet. My to do list always gets done in God’s perfect timing and there is such blessing in worshipping the Lord and meditating on His goodness, holiness and love.
I start my morning with a devotional reading and I’m currently using Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings. My prayer time is next using my prayer journal and some mornings I like to use the The Valley of Vision along with my prayer journal. I’m currently memorizing through 1 Peter with my daughter and use the Scripture Typer App to aid in my memory work each morning (I still keep index cards with current verses I’m working on by my kitchen sink). My husband and I are in a sweet season that we are able to read through God’s Word together and are using a chronological reading plan this year and using the Gospel Transformation Study Bible notes as our devotional time together to read along with each days passages. Some mornings after our reading time I like to pull out a passage or two that stood out to me and use the SOAP method in my journal to apply the reading from the day. My individual study time at the moment is spent in The Inductive Study Bible and I’m currently working through the book of Ephesians.
Abbey is a thankful wife and mother who works and play in beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC, where her husband sells real estate and she manages their home and raises their boy. She gets fired up about fall weather, planting and growing things, writing, sewing, french country furniture, baking, good books, and good conversation. Discipleship and Biblical Literacy are her passions. She loves to see the way that the gospel transforms how people think and live. You can find more of her writing at Gentle Leading.
Having a baby shook up the way I viewed “time in the word.” Those earliest weeks with a newborn introduced me to a whole new level of exhaustion and my schedule had never been so unpredictable. There was no hope for my quiet time to survive if I continued to try to do it the way I always had. Fast forward 18 months and there’s a little more predictability, but sometimes my mental energy isn’t quite what it used to be.
Because of the unpredictability of motherhood (missed naps, appointments, friends stopping by unexpectedly) I have adopted what I like to call the “3-5” model for seasons when an hour just isn’t available. I choose one book of the Bible (usually an epistle), for the benefit of context and consistency, and I aim read 3-5 verses for 3-5 minutes every day (sometimes twice a day). I try to do it while my son is in his high chair for breakfast… but if I’m not able to, I have full confidence another pocket of 3-5 minutes will present itself at some point during the day (you probably watch insta stories for 3-5 minutes a day).
Adopting this model (1) helped me release my expectations of what I thought time in the word should look like and made it “doable,” (2) enabled me to retain more of what I read, and (3) gave me the time I needed to really chew on and wrestle with challenging parts of scripture I may have otherwise glossed over during this season. In 3-5 minutes you can not only read 3-5 verses, but look up words you don’t know and read some commentary. If you’re struggling to get in the word I would encourage you to let go of your ideal of what a “quiet time” should look like and do what you can with the mental energy and time that God has given you in this season. The key to spending time in his word isn’t some secret formula, strategy, or plan… it’s simply being convinced that you desperately need the word of God. “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Ayanna is a forthright, exuberant, witty, curly-haired writer and Bible teacher living in Washington, D.C. She enjoys teaching the Word of God, listening to sermons, drinking smoothies, studying theology, writing, singing Broadway musicals and traveling the world as a flight attendant. As the founder of The Biblically Sound Woman, she seeks to encourage and equip women to become Biblically sound teachers and lovers of The Word of God, while living Gospel-driven and Scripture-focused lives!
I am a flight attendant for a major US airline.
So, I pretty much spend majority of my life on airplanes. I don’t mean that in a “I travel here and there for work several times out of the month” way. I literally mean anywhere from 4-15 flights a week. And irregardless of if I’m traveling to London or Denver, CO, I make it my habit (and sometimes shoulder pain) of carrying tons of Biblical reading materials and Bibles with me, to stay in The Word, whether in the skies at 30,000 ft or on the ground at my layover hotel.
Personal devotion and study time for me, literally looks different every single day. Sometimes I have flights with later checkins so I’m able to get into The Word in the early morning, and sometimes I’m so exhausted from a trip the day before, that I’m only able to dig into The Scriptures in the evening. And hey! When you add in the factors of timezone changes, delays and misconnects, it makes Bible study even more tough to have!
Let’s play out a “normal” or should I say “ideal” trip scenario. If all things go as my schedule says it will (but we all know God is sovereign haha), then I typically start off with a time of devotion, reading through Paul David Tripp’s “New Morning Mercies” devotional and studying the corresponding Scripture for that particular day. I love this particular devotional because not only is it super Gospel-centered, but it reminds me of the larger purpose in my day whether at work or home, and that is to live out The Gospel, bear witness to it and glorify The Lord in all things!
After finishing up the devotional for the day, I pull out my prayer journal and begin to write out different things I’m seeking The Lord about, asking Him for help when a passenger on one of my flights gets a little crazy and asking Him to change my heart when it isn’t reflecting His. This time is super special because I can go back and look at past entries and see how The Lord has been faithful in sanctifying me through those very prayers!
As I mentioned before, personal study time is always fluctuating, due to working in an ever-changing environment. Whether it’s in the morning, at night or on the plane’s jumpseat, I take out the Classic Reference Edition of the Crossway ESV Bible out of my bag, grab a pen and mark up the text of the particular book/passage that I’m studying. Currently, I’m in Leviticus and 2 Chronicles, so I usually find myself there. Or, whatever book I’m reading at the time, I always have my Bible open to reference any Scriptures that it’s packed with!
Although my study time is at times done in one of my airline’s crew rooms or layover hotels, I make it a point to study wherever I am. I’ve found that through doing this, not only does it open up many Gospel sharing opportunities with co-workers and passengers, but it also helps me learn God more through His Word and thus in return, love Him more with my heart! So my advice to any woman with a busy work schedule? Make time for personal study, even if it means carrying your Bible around the office or taking your lunch break to get a slice of our Daily Bread! God sovereignly and skillfully uses those sacrificial times of study for our benefit, for the good of others and the glorification of Himself.
I hope you found encouragement, tips, and guidance hearing from each of these solid women of the faith. I know I definitely have!
How do you make time to read God’s Word? Send me an email and maybe I’ll compose a second article from faithful readers like you 😉
In love and grace,