The Discipline of Devotional Bible Reading

Lesson 1998
Tags: Bible reading
Excerpted from “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”: Spiritual Disciplines for Devotional Vitality

“My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word” (Ps 119.28).


  • According to Psalm 119, we have many duties to God’s Word, including loving it, delighting in it, trusting in it, longing for it, finding strength in it, and respecting it.
  • Devotional Bible reading is to be distinguished from Bible study. Devotional reading has inspiration for its purpose, while study aims at the procurement of knowledge. Both are necessary to spiritual growth.
  • Some books of the Bible readily accommodate devotional reading. The Psalms are essentially journals of the spiritual experiences (thoughts, feelings, beliefs, hopes, etc.) of believers much like you and me. It is not hard to gain inspiration from them. The Proverbs are filled with wisdom so relevant to our lives that we can hardly read them without being touched personally. The historical portions of the Scripture tell us about believers who lived long ago, offering us insight concerning our daily lives. The gospels place us in a face-to-face encounter with the person of Jesus Christ—certainly a refreshing experience.
  • Several strategies can help to make your devotional reading more lively. For example, you can read a passage aloud slowly to occupy your full attention. Or, you can pray through a passage, applying the truths to yourself silently or out loud.


Ask the audience to read a passage conducive to devotional reading (e.g., Psalm 23) in a prescribed number of minutes. Participants should read for the purpose of inspiration, gaining encouragement through the application of spiritual truth to their life situation.

Further Reading

There is little identifiable literature specifically on the devotional reading of the Bible. Most writings about Bible reading focus primarily on the study of the Scriptures. While there is much to be gained from systematic approaches to the Word, they should be carried out with a view to furthering our relationship with God.