A new study from the Pew Research Center found that 66 percent of women among Evangelical Protestants read the Bible at least once a week compared with 58 percent of men.
Those findings follow along the same lines as a 2017 Baylor Religion Survey that found “36 percent of Christian women spend weekly or daily time alone reading the Bible, compared to 29 percent of Christian men.”
While theories abound for why that may be the case, I’d like to focus instead on how these studies reveal that, regardless of gender, Christians in general could use a bit more consistency in our time alone with the Word of God.
As someone who has often struggled to find consistency in my reading of the Bible, I know what it’s like to feel both frustrated and a little guilty for not prioritizing time alone with Scripture.
And while the Holy Spirit can use those emotions to convict us and spur us on to a more dedicated study of God’s Word, that frustration and guilt can also make us numb to the Spirit’s calling if it goes unanswered long enough.
Fortunately, several of the reasons why people struggle are based more in misconception than reality.
For example, Sandra Glahn, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor and Bible Study author, speaks to what I suspect is one of the chief culprits: quiet times. She encourages people to avoid using that terminology because it can set up faulty parameters around what time alone with the Bible has to look like.
If you study the Bible best by blocking off a chunk of time to sit alone and read, and can actually make that work with your schedule, then more power to you. That’s awesome, and I pray it helps you grow in your walk with the Lord. And perhaps that’s a goal all of us should work toward to some extent.
What does your time in the Bible look like?
Time alone with the Bible doesn’t have to look like that, though, and embracing the fact that God cares a lot more about the location of your heart than your body when it comes to getting alone with him can be liberating.
Personally, I’ve found the best success by allocating my morning drive to the study of Scripture. The YouVersion Bible App, for example, has an audio feature that reads chapters aloud, along with a host of reading plans to help you track your progress (such as our just-released devotional, “Seeking Civility Through The Fruit Of The Spirit”).
I’ve been going through the Bible Project’s “Old Testament in a Year” plan and it’s been great, but there are countless others that can accomplish the same purpose.
Ultimately, what’s most important is that you find a way that works for you and that you include God in that conversation.
Ask him what he wants that time to look like, and then be consistent in your obedience and dedication to studying his Word.
Whether it’s in the car, at your home, out in nature, or wherever else he may lead you, what matters most is that you make spending daily time in the Bible a priority. It’s something all of us can do, and, in many ways, it’s never been easier.
Will you make Bible study a priority today?