Extra Virgin :: 5 Ways To Find Intimacy With God
As I mentioned last week, I’m going to expand the conversation on sexuality here at Extra Virgin. Sex within marriage has the potential to produce beautiful intimacy between you and your spouse, but this is only one of the ways that God has given us to experience intimacy. It’s possible to experience deeply fulfilling intimacy with a friend or with other believers in the Church. And all of this points to the place where intimacy can be the most satisfying, the most true, the most real, to intimacy with God himself.
One of the best things you can do for your sexuality is learn what it means to experience intimacy with God. Because God is a real person, there are many ways to experience intimacy with him, just as there are many ways to find connection with a man or woman. Reading the Bible, prayer, worship, experiences of service or suffering, or witnessing his work in the world can all build your relationship with God, but today I wanted to focus on reading the Bible as a means to find intimacy with God.
5 Ways to Read the Bible
1. Read one chapter every day, no matter what
This is something Logan started doing in high school and continued doing for years. Basically, he was having trouble finding time to read the Bible, but he realized that at night it was always easy to squeeze in one more thing before bed. So he would always “squeeze in” a chapter of the Bible before going to bed. It rarely took more than 5 minutes, but reaped a lot of rewards in his relationship with God.
2. Read a lot of the Bible really fast
On the YouVersion app you can find a 90 Day Bible reading plan that gets you through the entire Bible in three months. It’s about an hour of reading every day and it feels kind of like putting your mouth on a water-hose, but it’s absolutely amazing. Instead of focusing on details, it forces you to this big-picture kind of view of the story of the Bible. It’s also cool to have to read so much Bible everyday because you’re having to cut out other things in your life. For those three short months, the Bible becomes the dominant influence in your life. Just like when you play a computer game a lot and it starts to play itself in your mind’s eye even when you try to sleep, the words of the Bible start to just play themselves in your head without you even thinking about it. I highly recommend this, even if you only do it once. (Also, I recommend reading the Bible on your phone if you do this, because your phone is always with you and you can read during those little moments of stillness you inevitably find during the day. Don’t force yourself to get all that reading done during a special “quiet time”.)
3. M’Cheyne One Year Reading Plan
My friend Shannon has done this for years and swears by it. Every day you read two passages from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from either the Psalms or the Gospels. In one year you’ll read the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. This is a commitment of about 15-20 minutes a day. (You can find the plan on YouVersion or print out the schedule here.)
4. Read the Bible with other people
Join a Bible study or invite friends over to read the Bible with you. Logan has this really easy system for studying the Bible in a group :: Pick a book of the Bible and read it together one chapter at a time. During the week everyone reads the same chapter 3 times and then bring 3 questions that they have about the chapter to group discussion time. Spend the time sharing questions and trying to find the answers together. Logan also recommends praying before you read the Bible, “Holy Spirit, please lead me to truth.” It’s a really simple system, but surprisingly doable and enjoyable.
5. Read a book 20 times
I read an article earlier in the year that recommends reading a Bible book 20 times. Basically, instead of reading a whole bunch of the Bible, just read one little section over and over. You’d really get to know it that way! The article does warn that you go through a big slump around times 12-15, but to just power through and it’ll end up being a really fruitful time of learning. It also recommends starting with a short book (like Galatians or James) that won’t take forever to read that many times. Right now I’m reading through the ESV Study Bible, but I can’t wait to try this out when I’m finished.
What about you? Do you have a system for reading the Bible? How do you like to read or study the Bible? Have you tried out any of the ways mentioned above? What was your experience? Will you try one of these? Do you think reading the Bible could help grow intimacy with God?
(Photo from Ciao Bella! via Pinterest)