The Number One Secret to Effective Bible Study When Life Presses In and You Have No Time

(Disclaimer: this is ONLY for people with ZERO mental space and NO time for anything extra in their life.  If you have margin in your day and you are not constantly putting out fires and can find time for yourself and time with the Lord daily, and your mental clutter is all taken care of, this post isn’t for you.)

However, if you’re like most of us and you find that time slips through your fingers…

  • Or you feel as if you constantly put out fires and have nothing left for yourself…
  • Or you feel guilty because you don’t have the mental space to read your Bible…
  • Or you can’t understand your Bible when you do read it…
  • Or you lose focus while reading…

Read on, Friend!

A friend asked me how I know so much of the Bible, but truthfully, I don’t.  I know very few pockets really well.  I tend to subscribe to the idea that because the Word is living and active, we can know all God wants to reveal to us about a verse or passage until He’s ready to reveal more some other time.  So we never really know all there is to know.

My method of Bible Study is to sit on a passage until God tells me to move on.  I read and reread and meditate throughout the day on that passage.  Want to know the secret?

One.  Verse.  At.  A.  Time.

The secret to Bible Study is simple: 1) Start Reading and 2) Read One. Verse. At. A. Time. Click To Tweet

Bible Study doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated.  Verse Mapping helps you see that you’re capable of going really deep and digging for treasure in Scripture because your reliance is not on your own ability or time allotment, it’s based on God’s desire to speak to you.  Verse Mapping helps you create a lifestyle of worship without much extra effort or work on your part.

What I love about Verse Mapping most is that when I’m done with a Passage, I know it as well as I can until God reveals more.  I know where to find that passage in the Bible without memorizing anything.  God speaks so beautifully and personally to me even if I only have 10-15 minutes to devote to it.  There is a richness to my time with the Lord that I’ve never experienced any other way.

SUGGESTION: Take our free course: Become a Verse Mapping Master in Less Than a Week – the Busy Beginner’s Simple Solution to Bible Study on a Strict Time Budget.

I’ll give you an example:

The other day I found myself in Mark 4 at the Parable of the Sower.

Do you ever feel like when you’ve read or heard a passage often, you gloss over it?

I started to do that with this passage, but then I stopped and implemented my Verse Mapping techniques.

  1. I slowed down.  I took it one verse at a time and read it slowly.
  2. I put it away.  I read the passage slowly and put the Bible down and went about my day praying about what I had read and thinking about it as I was washing dishes, cleaning, and exercising.
  3. I meditated on it.  As stated earlier, I can meditate as I’m driving or walking.  I don’t have to be sitting in one spot to meditate.  
  4. I reread it before bed.

These steps went on for several days.  I stayed on those verses doing the exact same thing each day and all of a sudden something hit me that I hadn’t understood before.  Let’s read the passage together:

Mark 4:3-8, 14-20

Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times…14 The farmer sows the word.15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.

The first time I sat on these verses a month ago I noticed that the farmer was doing what he was supposed to be doing by sowing the seeds.  As he was being obedient, some of that seed fell on the path in which he was walking.  It wasn’t necessarily his intent to sow on the path, seeds just spilled out as he went along scattering them in the fields.

I thought: there are people in my life that are going to be affected by God’s Word, simply by me being obedient to what He’s called me to.

For example: if my sons have non-Christian friends, the hearts of those friends can be affected by me just pouring into my sons and doing what God has called me to do with them.  It doesn’t have to be anything extra, it can simply happen as I live life obediently.  That takes the pressure off!  I’m doing what God has designed me to do and as I do that, His Word spills over and falls where He wants it to.

I’m pretty sure most people know this, but until I had meditated on it, I didn’t!  And I’m not ashamed that I didn’t know something so basic before because my heart wasn’t ready to receive it.

If you start to feel foolish because you’re just starting to understand basic Biblical truths, stop it!  God has you right where He wants you.  Your study is between you and the Lord.  That is Satan trying to discourage you.  It’s a lie.

This month, as I was reading and rereading that passage (yes, I’ve sat on those above verses for two months now)  I realized a few things that pertained to us as moms:


  1. How often to do our hearts become hard and untended?  What I mean by that is when the Word of God falls on our hearts, what kind of soil is it falling on?

    • Rocky Soil?

      • Does the Bible take root in your heart?  Or are you so superficial that there’s no depth?  This isn’t intended to beat you up, just for you to take stock of your priorities and where your energy is being focused.  If our goal is God’s fruitfulness in our life, it can’t happen if our roots are shallow.  Our roots can’t grow when we’re not spending time in God’s word.  If the Word isn’t sinking into your soul because you’re not rooted in it, it will never produce fruit, period.  It can’t.  If you’re not rooted in the Word, what are you grounded in? If the Word isn't sinking into your soul because you're not rooted in it, you will quickly fall away. Click To Tweet
    • Thorny Soil?

      • Do the “worries of this life” fill your mind?  Do you get preoccupied?  Do you read the Bible and succumb to the pressures of life?
      • Are you being deceived by money in any way?  I didn’t think I was, but when I looked at my morning and how I tried to squeeze in every little ounce of work first thing, I realized that my actions conveyed that I was, in fact, deceived.  I would read my direct sales emails first thing and then hit my day running after that, putting out fires, barely pausing to crack open the Bible.
      • Do you have “desires [for] other things?”  Ouch. Think about it: Is there something in your life preventing you from meditating on the Word as you go about your daily activities?  Are your actions conveying that you are desiring something else other than the Lord?  Sleep?  Sports?  Keeping up with the Joneses?  Housework?  Careeer?  TV?  Media?  My guess is that your actions are definitely conveying that you desire something else other than the Lord.  Mine are.  If the Word is choked out because you desire other things, it cannot produce fruit. Click To Tweet
  2. What does Good Soil look like?

    • Compare the soil of your heart to what good soil actually is.  Is your heart any of these things?:
      • Well tended
      • Tilled
      • Harvested
      • Weeded
      • Watered
      • Watched over
      • Sweat equity invested
      • Plowed
      • Protected – I LOVE this one!  Back in the day farmers would remove the rocks from the field and set them up as a fence around the field.  Where I’m from out east, there are beautiful, old rock walls set up as boundaries on fields and property.  Is your heart protected from Satan’s lies?  Is it protected from false teachings?

All of these insights came after reading, rereading, meditating and reading again, SLOWLY.  It doesn’t take a ton of time or energy.  It just takes choosing to do it.  My desire needs to be for Him.  My roots need to be grounded in the Word.  When my roots and desires are enmeshed in the Scriptures, the fruit produced will be exponential, beyond what I ever thought possible by my little life.

What prevents you from studying the Bible?

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