Scripture in Your Everyday Life
I love to sit in my pew every week and listen to the homily. Having a Bible passage explained by someone who has studied theology is always uplifting. But that is not the only way for the Scripture to be part of your life. You can read the Bible yourself and interpret it in a way that enriches your own life. I have a few ideas on how to do it, too.
My best recommendation is for you to join a Bible study group. You will likely find one at your church. These meetings are sort of like a book group, where people gather socially to talk about what they read and what they think about it. You can find all kinds of Bible study groups. Some are led by clergy, others are led by laypeople. There are some that focus on certain sections of the Bible or are for certain groups of people (i.e. a men’s meeting or a group for teens discussing behavior and values). These types of groups are both fun and fulfilling. You might make friends or learn a different way to look at a certain passage. Leading one is also a great way to give back to your spiritual community.
Don’t worry if a study group is not your thing. There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible on your own. You can start in either Testament, and work your way through. If that seems intimidating, remember that there is no reason to rush. You will get out of the exercise what you put into it – meaning that if you breeze through it, you might miss passages that could be comforting or enlightening. Using this method means you can focus on a section of the Bible you find most appealing, for example the Psalms or a certain book that gives you comfort. If you reach a passage that is confusing, you can reach out to your pastor or another clergy person with questions. I am sure they will be willing to sit down and talk to you about it.
If reading the whole bible on your own gets you confused, there are annotated Bibles. An annotated Bible is the same Gospel as a standard Bible, but includes detailed information that adds context to the Scripture. These types of Bibles can be helpful if you are trying to gain historical understanding of events in the Bible. However, they can be off-putting, as the annotations are often more secular in nature.
Another great option are daily readings or affirmations. There are some books you can buy that will focus on a specific passage or verse. There will be a specially selected passage for each day, selected for relevance and maybe a certain topic (for example, there might be an affirmation book for mothers, or passages selected for specific dates like holidays). If you look in a religious bookstore or online, you’ll be able to find one easily. Or you can ask around at your place of worship to get recommendations. There are also websites and apps that offer daily readings and interpretations.
Have you made an effort to read Scripture daily? If so, how did it go and what techniques did you use?