We all know how valuable it is for our walk with God to have a regular Bible study or “quiet time” when we spend time in the Word and in prayer. But sometimes, we can get stuck into patterns of thinking about what that time should look like. Here are five common myths we often believe about Bible study/quiet time and five truths to consider instead.
Myth #1: I missed a day, so I’ve failed in my commitment.
Sometimes we get busy, or our kids need attention. Sometimes we have a headache or really need to sleep. That doesn’t mean you don’t love God. Like anyone with whom you have a personal relationship, He wants you to spend time with Him but not feel like it’s an obligation. He’s not keeping track of points and deducting your score for every quiet time you miss. Even if you’ve missed a day or two, you can always get back on track. Dwelling on our “failure” can actually discourage us from continuing and getting back into the habit.
Myth #2: Reading one verse at a time is a good way to learn the Bible.
Reading single verses with no context can be misleading and even dangerous. Even if you want to focus on meditating on or memorizing one verse, make sure you read the verses around it so you have a solid understanding of the context. Likewise, don’t feel like you have to read whole books either. Everyone’s pace is different. Just make sure you read enough to understand the whole picture, and maybe review a little bit if you’re continuing in the same passage the next day.
Myth #3: I have to spend my quiet time in the morning.
Many people find that the morning is a good time for them to start the day in the Word. They’re early risers and feel like this spiritually prepares them for the rest of the day. For others, like myself, mornings are a time when we slog through brain fog and barely manage to stumble out the door with nary a minute to spare. Maybe morning Bible study just isn’t practical for who you are and what your life looks like. Maybe lunch break is better, or right before bed. It’s better to find a time that you will actually be awake, alert, and relaxed rather than force yourself into a routine that you won’t continue.
Myth #4: Quiet time has to be “quiet.”
Using the term “quiet time” may have given rise to some unrealistic expectations. If you’ve got a few kids running around, times when you can be alone in a quiet environment might be few and far between. Likewise, if you live with roommates, privacy and noiselessness may be hard to find. Maybe you actually focus better with noise or background music. No matter how noisy your “quiet” time is, what matters is that you’re taking time to put your focus on God and His Word.
Myth #5: Bible Study will always result in a breakthrough or an emotional high.
Sometimes we rely too much on emotional rewards in our quiet time. We can even believe the myth that if you don’t feel closer to God, warm and fuzzy, or enlightened about something, you’ve done something wrong. Sometimes, the Bible will make us uncomfortable. Other times we won’t feel anything significant in the moment. So don’t worry if you’re not ecstatic after your Bible study each day. You’ll experience a variety of feelings and thoughts. But over time, you’ll learn more and more about the Word and grow as you stick with it no matter what you encounter.
What other myths have you encountered about Bible study? Have you learned to overcome any in your own life? Feel free to share in the comments!