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Whether in mom groups, emails, or conversations with friends, the question I hear most frequently is “How in the world do you study the Bible as a busy mom?”
I get it. To-do lists are long, little ones demand much of our time, and we often spend downtime or the elusive break scrolling social media because we are exhausted.
I frequently encourage meditating on Scripture throughout your day, but it’s also important to take the time to really dive into the meaning of God’s Words.
Why Should I Study the Bible as a Busy Mom
“Many people believe that theological study holds little value. They say, ‘I don’t need theology; I just need to know Jesus.’ Yet theology is unavoidable for every Christian. It is our attempt to understand the truth that God has revealed to us—something every Christian does. So it is not a question of whether we are going to engage in theology; it is a question of whether our theology is sound or unsound.” – R.C. Sproul – Why Should Christians Study the Bible?
When we read the Bible, we gain beautiful insights into God’s story of redemption. When we study it, we go deeper into understanding more about God, His character, and what He has done.
Even busy moms need theology, the study of God. If we read the Bible with the wrong motives or don’t study the context, it can be easy to misinterpret the words, leading to a low or even false view of who God is.
We want to view God rightly so we can worship Him well.
Why am I Studying the Bible (What’s your motive?)
I’ve known for most of my life that studying the Bible is important, yet, I frequently find myself coming to the Word with the wrong motive. Sometimes I study the Scriptures for purely academic reasons – to be seen as someone who knows all the big theological words and can argue my points.
Other times I study the Bible because I think I’m supposed to in order to be a good Christian. I look up a few definitions, find a couple of cross-references, and read a commentary. Check. My to-do list is complete.
Instead, let us study the Bible because we want to linger in the words. We want to dig deeper to soak up the rich truths of who God is.
“…we read the Bible to the glory of God when we see Jesus in it and find joy.
Now, we must not overcorrect and crash into a ditch on the other side. This does not mean we forsake knowledge for some mystical encounter as we open to a random page of the Bible each morning. No, we eagerly pursue truths about Jesus. But we use this pursuit of facts to help our hearts feel rightly.
When was the last time you felt like all you wanted to do was keep reading and praying even as your watch told you to leave for work? When was the last time you felt like you just had to share what you read with someone else? When was the last time you ran across a passage that drove you immediately to your knees in prayer for yourself or a friend (or maybe even an enemy)? When was the last time your heart leaped for joy when God opened your eyes to see wondrous things in his word? We do the hard work of thinking over God’s word to see Jesus clearly and enjoy him rightly.” – Reading Without Seeing by Joshua Bremerman
Practical Steps to Study the Bible as a Busy Mom
1. Gather Your Tools
Just starting can be the hardest part, especially when my time is limited. I may have ten minutes of downtime, but I don’t use that time wisely if I have to go grab my Bible, find a pen, and try to grab my notebook from the same room where the baby is napping.
Having a Bible study basket, bag, shelf, etc keeps your materials organized and serves as a reminder when you pass by them.
I have begun using my Daily Grace Co. tote bag to hold my Bible, Bible study book (if I’m using one at the moment), study journal, pen, and highlighters.
2. Have a plan
If you’ve only read the Bible but never taken the time to study it, you may not know where to begin. There are countless methods that people use, but, ultimately, any study should start with prayer and the right motives. From that will flow the right questions.
In her book, Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin encourages us to study the Bible with less of a focus on ourselves and more of a focus on wanting to know who God is. She says,
“Does this mean that the Bible has nothing to say to us about who we are? Not at all. We just go about trying to answer that question in a backward way. The Bible does tell us who we are and what we should do, but it does so through the lens of who God is. The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand. In fact, there can be no true knowledge of self apart from the knowledge of God. He is the only reference point that is reliable.”
How I study the Bible as a Busy Mom – An Introduction to Inductive Bible Study
I prefer to study the Bible inductively, meaning, I observe, interpret, and then apply the text. As a busy mom, this process may take me quite a while, and that’s ok. Study one chapter as long as you need to, picking up each time where you left off. Here’s what that might look like over the course of a week when studying Ephesians.
Monday: Read chapter one and use an audio Bible to listen to the whole book throughout the day.
Tuesday: Write down observations and questions. Think who, what, when, where, why, and how?
- Who wrote Ephesians? Who did he write it to? What does the word “redemption” mean? When did Paul write this letter? What was going on at the time? Where was Ephesus? Where was Paul when he was writing it? Why did Paul write this letter? How does he introduce himself and the purpose of the letter?
Wednesday: Read the chapter and highlight it. Make note of repeated words and phrases. Find connecting and transition words.
- Examples of connecting and transition words are “and,” “therefore,” “but,” “in order that,” “if,” etc.
Thursday: Spend time trying to answer your questions using the Bible. Look up cross-references. Many Bibles provide cross-references in the notes. If yours doesn’t, check out a site like Bible Gateway.
Friday: Turn to a concordance to answer additional questions.
- Bible Gateway provides free access to the Matthew Henry commentary and several others. You can also ask your pastor to recommend one.
Saturday: In one paragraph, summarize the passage. What is the original meaning? How does it reveal the Gospel? What do you learn about God?
Sunday: Apply the passage. What things do you need to confess and change in your life based on what you’ve learned? Spend time in praise for the truths you’ve learned about God and what he has done.
- Example for Ephesians chapter 1 – Praise God that His plan of salvation was not impulsive, but planned from the beginning. Thank God for the inspired words of the apostles that we have access to. Thank God for the church and pray for the faithful saints across the world. Repent of sin and pray for God’s power in keeping you set-apart.
Resources for inductive study
Inductive study may feel overwhelming at first, especially if you are not used to asking deep questions about the text. Bible study is an art that is learned over time through the help of the Holy Spirit and other believers. There are many tools available to help you as you learn to study the Bible well.
Fixing My Eyes: A Bible Journal for Busy Moms – If your time is extraordinarily limited, this journal walks you through my method of moving beyond quickly reading the Bible to actually lingering over its words.
The Abide Journal: This is one of my favorite journals for personal inductive study. The Abide Journal includes questions to guide you through your study, with particular emphasis on knowing God and being changed by His Word. In addition, it includes a section for prayer requests and weekly reflection on what God is teaching you.
The She Abides System: An In-Depth Bible Study System for Busy Women – From learning more about inductive study, to guides for busy days, and tips on understanding the different genres of the Bible, this course is an amazing resource for step-by-step help in going deeper during your time in the Word.
Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin – Jen Wilkin is a well-known women’s Bible study author and teacher, and, in this book, she equips women to study the Word for themselves. This book covers everything from prayer, the purpose of Bible study, to practical steps to understanding the Bible.
3. Meditate on a section throughout the day
Many observation and application questions can be considered as you meditate on the passage throughout your day. If you’ve never meditated on the Bible before, read my post that teaches you how to meditate on Scripture. Also, be sure to check out the Redeeming Routines system. The purpose of Redeeming Routines is to provide guides to help busy moms learn how to think deeply on the Bible even while going about daily routines.
How Do Other Moms Read and Study the Bible?
My Bible study looks different based on my different seasons of life. Similarly, no one method is right or wrong, as long as you approach the Word in prayer and humility. Here is what Bible study as a busy mom looks like for others!
“My Bible reading habits have certainly changed since I became a Mum! I’ve gone through stages of studying the Bible late at night, stages of waking up before the kids to make a cup of tea and read a short passage, highlighting and making notes. I’m currently in a stage where I will play the audio Bible while I clean or make dinner, covering about 6 chapters a day on a Bible reading plan I’m part of. I will then do a deeper study during the kids’ rest time in the afternoon and also take some time to write in my prayer journal.” – Jess Harvey WAHM and blogger at Kangaroos and Kingdom Work
“I wake up early and read one chapter every weekday. I have the ESV digital journaling Bible, so I can write on my touch screen. This just works better for my style, and I like having an easy way to access internet resources that I can copy and paste into my digital journaling Bible. My reading is following a plan we’re doing with our life group and, conveniently, my discipleship group so there’s lots of accountability. It helps to know that we’ll be talking about the reading as a group. Also, the plan only includes weekdays so we have the weekends to catch up if needed. While reading is definitely a priority, I don’t beat myself up if I don’t read every single day.” – Ana K. – Working mom of two
“I’m a tired third-trimester mama right now so my Bible reading has been less intensive. Right now I’m going for breadth more than depth with the Keep the Feast Bible reading plan through ChristKirk church. I normally read a little during breakfast time with my kids but the majority of it during nap time. I always love listening to the audio Bible too during housework! I would also say that even though I don’t journal as much, I do like to use my highlighting system! That extra step allows me to go a little deeper without too much extra effort because my time is so unpredictable!” Dani Munoz – SAHM and blogger at Free Indeed
How Do You Study the Bible?
Share in the comments the methods and resources that help you study the Bible as a busy mom!