I have written about the benefit of having a reading buddy before. But never in the context of helping you focus when you are reading alone. It doesn’t seem like it would make any difference. But it does. Just like exercising helps you focus on other tasks hours after you have finished exercising. Or eating healthy helps you concentrate, make better decisions, or simply be in a better mood.
Strategy #5: Meet regularly with someone (or a small group of people)
Discussing what you’re reading will help you focus while you’re reading. Why? Here are a couple reasons:
You won’t want to come unprepared.
Ok…let’s just get it out in the open. If you know you are going to be discussing something with someone, you’ll want to have something to say. Showing up without doing the reading – or doing the reading but not having anything to say – is a bit of a hit to the ego. Obviously, ego isn’t – or shouldn’t be – our primary motivator, but it is one motivator.
Thinking about the conversation you will be having will cause you to focus because your discussion will likely center around questions like: What did you see in that passage? What was confusing? What was encouraging? Where are you going to apply this?
When these questions are in your mind as you read you will be much more likely to focus and less likely to just skim the page with your eyes glossed over and “get through” today’s reading.
You will pull the other person into your conversation with God.
This one won’t happen right away. But it will happen more frequently, the longer you meet with the same person (or people).
As you read, you will start to hear what the other person would probably say about that passage. You will think, This ties in to what we were talking about last week. Or – Knowing what he’s going through, this could really be an encouragement to him.
Your Bible reading will be engaging, because it will feel less and less like something you are doing on your own. The first four strategies develop the conversation you’re having with God as you read His Word. This fifth one brings the community element into it.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV)
When I have weekly (or bi-weekly at most) conversations with one person – or a few others – who are reading the same part of the Bible I’m reading, it is way easier to focus. And heaps more fun.
[reminder]Do you have a person – or people – you get together with regularly to talk about what you’re reading? What has been the effect on your own Bible reading?[/reminder]