We all know how it goes. You resolve to study the Bible together. You both sit down once, maybe twice. Then, a late night, a busy weekend, or a couple kids later, and you’re still not finding time to do Bible study together.
So many of us have been there. Why does this happen?
It’s about priorities. That morning cup of coffee you can’t live without, that TV show you have to watch, that video game you have to play, that diaper you must change, that dinner you need to cook -- those are our priorities. Yet, Bible study with our spouses rarely tends to make this list.
Priorities: Are We Giving God Our Firstfruits?
Amid exhortations to, “Let your heart keep my commandments,” “Be not wise in your own eyes,” and “In all your ways acknowledge Him,” there’s a short, pertinent passage in the middle of Proverbs 3. Verses 9 and 10 say,
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the
firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns
will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be
bursting with wine.”
It would be easy to apply this verse to tithing and close the book. What if it also applied to how we spend our time, and specifically, how we spend our available hours together as couples? Are we giving God the “firstfruits” of our time? Are we choosing the correct priorities?
“But we’re just so busy,” you might think to yourself. Or, “There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything.” I would posit that if we give God the firstfruits of our time, the rest will be enough. It’s easy to feel that we need to get on with the long list of demanding tasks or the short list of tantalizing leisures. All the while, God is patiently waiting for us to spend some of that precious time together with Him.
7 Practical Ways to Create a Bible Study Habit Together
There are seven practical ways you can start to build a Bible study habit as a couple. Take a look at this list and see if one, two, or perhaps all of them would work for you and your spouse. Or, invent your own methods of building Bible study into your days or evenings.
1. Set a trigger.
With gobs of other activities happening in a day, it can be difficult to set an exact time for Bible study. Instead, choose a trigger. A “trigger” is a happening or event that prompts you to do a following activity directly after it the trigger occurs (e.g. right after dinner, right before bed, right after you wake up, during breakfast, after you put the kids to bed, etc). Toss a recurring event on your calendar and/or set an alert on your phone -- keep your Bible study commitment top-of-mind!
2. Play a game.
Turn Bible study as a couple into an accountability game. Whichever spouse comes to the other with Bibles and notebooks in hand at some point during your day/evening, they get a point. Whoever has more points at the end of the week/month wins. This works for competitive folks, so if that’s you, give it a shot.
Or, challenge a couple in your life group to a Bible study competition. Whichever couple does Bible study together the most days out of the week/month wins.
3. Pray for yourselves.
Something mysteriously supernatural happens in the heart of a person who prays. James 5:16, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” So together, pray that you would both constantly remember that Bible study together is a chosen priority, and pray that God would imbibe your hearts with the motivation to do it consistently.
4. Make it a date.
Make a couple cups of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. before you sit down for Bible study. Find a cozy spot. Chat a little before you get started. Turn it into a Bible study date.
5. Be on time.
As couples, it’s easy to be two ships passing in the night. If Bible study is set to happen at 9:00 at night, then be on time. Put down the novel, pause the TV show, stop cleaning the kitchen, politely end the phone call. Be punctual.
6. Keep it short.
Spending fifteen minutes on a consistent basis will build a stronger habit than sporadically spending an hour and a half. Don't feel like you have to read all of the New Testament in one sitting. A few Psalms, a couple Proverbs, or reading a chapter a day from a gospel book is a good way to start.
7. Don’t compromise for seven days.
When forming a habit, it’s best to start strong and build yourself a good foundation. If you can do Bible study together every single day for one week, then you’ve proven to yourselves that it can be done and excuses are harder to come by. You’re both confident that you can meet your goal. Again, don’t feel bad keeping it short.
From this list, choose the ones that will work best for you, your schedule, your lifestyle, your personality, and your spouse. Here’s to growth, change, and a stronger relationship as you pursue God together. Cheers!