Have you noticed that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to slow down and take in the moment? There is a battle in daily life to be fully present in any given opportunity. This is true in my own personal life and in the culture we live in. You come home from a rough day at work and sit down for dinner with your family but struggle to pay attention to anything that is being said. You are consumed with the matters of the previous eight hours—especially if they were stressful. You rush from one meeting to the next, still categorizing your thoughts from the previous interaction. Your to-do list has become so long that each item gets a third of the time it deserves.
When life is crazy and rushed, it is hard to slow down and be fully present in any given moment. This reality also seeps into our walk with God. It is a battle to be fully present and intimate with him. How many times have you come to the end of your day and quickly read through a psalm at night while half asleep? I have—plenty of times. Now, while any amount of Scripture intake is worthwhile, regardless of its length or depth, I believe we should aim for the best investment we can make as often as is possible.
In light of that, I want to share a practice that helps me to slow down and be more present when I engage the Scriptures in my own personal Bible reading. I try, as much as possible, to make my time in God’s word more like a stroll through a park rather than a seventy-mile-an-hour race down I-65. That can be difficult to accomplish without some intentionality.
This method of Bible marking has developed over time for me. It started when God first saved me. The idea and practice of biblical worship were at the forefront of my thinking early on. As a music major, I naturally found myself very interested in what God had to say about the topic (I realize worship goes well beyond a musical involvement, but at the time, that was what piqued my interest). So, I started marking my Bible with a yellow crayon highlighter any place I saw something related to worship.
Then I began to pay more attention to the idea of grace in the Scriptures. So, I began underlining anything related to grace, forgiveness, salvation, and other such words in red. Slowly I added more foci such as prayer in green, sin in pink, commands in purple, and promises in blue. Finally, I added in one more focus. I was visiting a friend who said he was reading the Bible one on one with someone and they were tracing out what the Bible had to say about the heart. Again, my interest was piqued. At that stage in my Christian life, I began to see the importance of heart work and how the heart is the hard drive of who we are. So, I again added a marking point of purple parenthesis around the word at each occurrence. Take a look at the picture below for an example of what this actually looks like in my Bible.
My point in sharing this is simply to encourage you to find and implement a method that will help you to slow down and be fully present with God when you read his Word. What would it look like to select one area of focus and mark it as you read your Bible regularly? Is there another method that might help you to slow down and drink deeply from the well of God’s Word? Select something and go for it. You can always adjust along the way. But whatever it is, slow down and enjoy.