One of the most important habits you should develop if the Christian path is what you’ve chosen is consistent Bible study or devotional time.Studying the word of God is great for many reasons but perhaps the most important benefit of having a good devotional life is that you grow to know the mind of God, which helps you become more like Him and live the way He wants you to live.
The greatest challenge for me when trying to develop consistent devotional habits is the fact there is so much information out there on how and what to do which can leave me or anyone for that matter so confused.
If you’re not being taught how to do devotion at church, then you’ll find a lot of information on ways and methods on the internet and the various ministries out there.
Having been a Christian for a long while now, I just thought I’d share seven resources that I’ve discovered that may give you enough of what you need to have a healthy devotional life.
1: Read Your Bible
This one is obvious but after a while you’ll realize that reading the Bible alone will start to feel, well, monotonous. The Bible contains pretty much everything we need to guide us in matters that pertain to life and godliness but because we don’t fully understand it, at least in my experience, once you’ve read it a number of times over, it kind of feels repetitive and no longer has the same effect it had when you first started to read it.
The reason behind this, I’ve learned, is because there comes a time in your life where you will need to read the Bible in context to what you are going through or at least topically.
You have to move from merely just reading the Bible to studying it. To study it, you will need other resources.
So, yes, the Bible is the first and greatest of the resources out there but I want to share a few others that may make your devotional experience a lot richer.
Devotionals are really great. I mean, I have read my Bible a lot of times. I think I’ve read the whole Bible twice, the New Testament many more times than the old and some books more than others. Despite all this, I can’t seem to just read my Bible alone anymore. I’ve realized that I need to study it.
In order to do this, I use devotional apps. Because I do not want to give you lots of information which will leave you confused I will only share my favorite tools.
- YouVersion Bible App– this is by far my favorite. The YouVersion Bible app does not only feature numerous translations of the bible but it also has plenty devotions that cover all topics of life and spirituality like marriage, depression, work, health and much more. Each devotional is completed in a stipulated number of days, some even have video and audio content. Another lovely thing about this app is that it can save your highlights, bookmarks and notes and it also has a social feature that allows you to have friends with whom you can do joint devotional studies with.
- OliveTree Bible App: this is another tool I used to use. Even though I do not use it anymore, it is worth the mention. It has strong bible study tools, especially when accessed via the web, but I think YouVersion is the more refined tool.
Whichever option you choose, these will be great tools to enrich your bible study. The lovely thing is that they are available as phone apps as well as online web portals.
Whatever you want to call them, these really help compress information and produce it in a short topical format. There are a number of options out there but here are a few I recommend:
- Unfiltered Christianity: This is where you are now. Unfiltered Christianity was started so that it could be a hub of information for the Unfiltered Christian. It isn’t for everyone I will admit, it serves a niche of people who are willing to be themselves and address topics and issues that aren’t addressed in traditional Christian circles.
- She Reads Truth: The founders of this ministry have a good thing going on. Targeted mainly at the female audience, the content there is relevant to both males and females alike. They host articles on their website and produce powerful devotionals to help you understand the Bible in a deeper way.
- Relevant Magazine: Relevant Magazine is unique. For me, I take what I need and leave out the rest. They cover issues that talk about God, Life and Culture. They too have their niche. The articles they produce are quite relevant to millennials and they often fuse the bible with modern culture (music, movies, games etc). I don’t know, I wouldn’t say they are a resource for deep bible study but they do cover the bare necessities of Christian living. They have many people writing for them, covering different levels of depth and various topics but you’ll have to check them out for yourself.
I am sure there are many more others but like I said, I don’t want to put up an endless list that will leave you even more confused. It took me time to discover these and even though this is a good starting point for you, you may find other platforms that appeal to you more.
4: YouTube Channels
There aren’t a lot of great YouTube channels out there that I know that cover Christianity. By great I mean, not a lot of them have a specific content theme. They are either vlogs or just channels started up by Christians. There aren’t many that would help with devotion or bible study in my opinion. Some of these channels are extensions of ministries I mentioned earlier:
- The Bible Project: The Bible Project is a very unique animation-based Bible study ministry. I believe they deserve all the support they can get. They have been very consistent with their content. The goal of their ministry, it seems, is to use animation to take you through the Bible in the simplest way possible. If you’re a visually based person, this is a great start.
- Desiring God: This is also another. They feature video content that comes in different forms, mainly sermon form. The stuff here is deep, no-nonsense and very challenging so be prepared.
I’ll be honest, I don’t listen to many Podcasts but Podcasts are a great way to get a devotion in. If you’re an audio centered person then listening to something while driving, sitting, eating or in front of your Bible may make the difference.
The lovely thing about Podcasts is there are more personal than other media formats because not only are you listening to real life people discussing a topic but they often discuss on very relevant issues. A lot of the Podcasts out there are sermon based, which isn’t a bad thing, but I prefer the discussion or talk-show based podcasts.
- The Bible Project: Yes, they have a podcast and a deep one too. This podcast is a good option if you want to study the bible and its themes deeply. Be sure to have your Bible beside you as you listen.
- The Gospel Coalition: This is another podcast that may appeal to many people. It covers many topics that we deal with on an everyday life in a Christian perspective. They’ve discussed on careers, politics and more.
There are a lot of Bible study references out there and a lot of them are available in the Bible apps mentioned before but they are a few independent platforms with mentioning here:
- Ellen G White Estate: I have a long history with this one and even though I do not read it as much anymore, this platform features so many books and other resources that will really enrich your bible study efforts. Topics covered here are deep and relate to all matters of life and godliness. You may want to take some of the stuff with a pinch of salt though. Be sure to have your bible as the final authority. But I can say, when studied properly, all I’ve read from here is very enlightening stuff.
- Charles Spurgeon Resource Library: This is another great source of biblical material. Very powerful, very relevant and full of grace.
There’s many more of cause, especially from other theologians like C.S Lewis, so I encourage you to find out what works for you.
7: Read Books
Your Bible study doesn’t have to be restricted to the obvious.
There are so many books out there that you can read that will give you a topical understandngi of God and the Bible. Some books will have verses enough for you to study and others will have very rich material with little or no reference to bible verses. You just need to decide how you like to study. Here are some of my recommendations:
- Mere Christianity (C.S Lewis): I can’t really describe this book but all I can say is its amazing and worth it and every Christian or anyone who is just curious must read it.
- Daniel and the Revelation (Uriah Smith): This book teaches so much about God and His plans as it is paved out all throughout the Bible and in History. I recommend this highly.
- Great Controversy (Ellen G White): Not an easy book to read but one I recommend either way if you have what it takes.
Of cause there are many others but I am just throwing a couple of suggestions at you.
In the end we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
I just thought to share these suggestions to help you get started with having a deeper devotional life. I mean, I constantly have to train myself to use these combinations when studying the word so I do not grow weary of the process.
All the best and I hope you find the tools that will make your devotional experience a lovely one.