A mug full of fresh brewed coffee sitting on the table as the first rays of dawn stretch lazily through the window. My Bible laid open ready to pour life into my heart and mind. Quiet. My soul finds rest before the hustle and bustle of the day.
Then came kids. Before I had little ones, a quiet morning with fresh coffee and the Word was my reality. And even when I just had one baby, as eased into a rhythm, quiet moments were a regular occurrence. But as my baby grew into a toddler, and then there were two, the quiet has faded. For some moms, waking up at 5 a.m. before the littles is a wonderful option. An then there are families like mine, where if I’m awake, the kids are awake (it’s science). This past spring, I was listening to Risen Motherhood and heard Nancy Wolgemuth liken our spiritual lives to eating a meal. When eating a meal, ideally we would sit and enjoy a well-rounded plate, enjoying the full nourishment in one sitting. Likewise, in our spiritual lives, Ideally we would have a set time where we can sit, just be, and soak in the Word. But how many of us parents barely have time to take a bite of toast or a swig of coffee before we have a little one pulling at our legs in need of something? Mind you, I’m not being bitter. I’m just saying, this is my reality, and I don’t think I’m alone. And obviously I’m not starving physically. Us stay at home parents are clever, and generally are able to find a moment to eat. And that’s what Nancy says of our spiritual lives, “That’s sometimes what it’s like for moms of little ones or anyone with a busy life. Sometimes it’s snacks.” It doesn’t replace an actual meal, where we are able to sit, just be, and soak in the Word. I still think it is very important to set aside time to do that. But in seasons when meals are harder to find time for, this is how I get my snacks. While I’m nursing, or driving to the park, doing dishes, or making dinner. These are some tools I’ve used to get spiritual snacks.
Favorite Bible Study Tools for Busy Parents
1. The Bible App
I personally love The You Version Bible App. I find that it is a lot easier for me to read my Bible whe I have it on my phone. I may not be able to flip a page while I’m nursing, but I certainly can scroll. Having a Bible app on my phone has helped give me the opportunity to chose to read instead browse social media. I especially love this app, because it had reading plans for when my brain is fried, and I don’t know where to start. And it also has an audio option so that I can listen to the as opposed to reading. Meaning I can “read” as I do the dishes, clean the bathroom, or get the kids a snack.
2. Blue Letter Bible App
I was first introduced to Blue Letter Bible while I was in college. This slick online resource features Greek and Hebrew Lexicons, meaning I can look up the meaning of a word in the original language, and I can cross reference it with other times the original word was used in scripture. So cool! (Or nerd-alert, whatever). It also has several complete commentaries, so I can read what Bible experts have said about a passage. The best part is now that this website is in app form: Blue Letter Bible App. This means I have Lexicons and commentaries at the touch of a finger, making it simple have an in depth study of the Word while I nurse or snuggle a little one. The app also features audio commentaries, meaning I can listen while I make dinner.
3. The Bible Recap
Okay, so I am like any other mom, and sometimes I am tired, and my brain can’t even function to read, muchless process a scholarly commentary. That’s why I love podcasts like The Bible Recap. Tara Leigh-Cobble takes listeners through the Bible, chapter-by-chapter and recaps what happens. She has done the work of digging into commentaries and lexicons to help listeners have a better understanding of what is going on in the text, and helps form a take-away that we can glean from reading each passage. She has been going through the Bible chronologically, and is already into the book of Ezekiel. This truly is a great resource, especially for those who may be new to reading the Bible and those of us who were up half the night with a little one.
4. The Bible Binge Podcast
The Bible Binge is by far my favorite podcast. I seriously look forward to listening to them every week, and am always a little disappointed when a season comes to an end. Hosted by Knox McCoy and Jamie Golden, The Bible Binge is another podcast that recaps Bible stories as if they were a movie, book, or tv show in an effort to better understand the story. In the end they bring home a take-away point, and also have a section called “a gentle rebuke” with Erin Moon. Erin is a professional Bible studies editor and checks the podcast for sacrilege and misunderstandings. I love this podcast because Knox and Jamie often present misconceptions they may have had about these stories growing up in the church, and are not afraid to wrestle with the complexities of the characters. As someone that has grown up in the church, it has been a joy to hear many of my own thoughts expressed in this podcast. I also love the insight Erin brings to these stories, often providing more than one perspective, it allows listeners to wrestle with the text for themselves as opposed to simply telling listeners what they should believe.
5. She Reads Truth Community
You may be familiar with the She Reads Truth Bible study books. But did you know you can actually read-along with their community for FREE. Everyday on the She Reads Truth website there is a scripture passage to read and a short devotional thought. I listened to an interview with the founders (again, on the Risen Motherhood Podcast. If you’re not listening to them, you probably should), and I was just blown away for their heart for seeing women, especially mothers, experience the life that is given my spending time in scripture.
6. Scripture Seeds
A final tool I have loved in the business of motherhood are the Scripture Seeds by Color and Kindess. These cards are beautiful works of art each featuring a scripture verse. I like to hang one above my kitchen sink. I am there regularly, and see the verse consistently, making it easy to memorize. I usually keep a card up until I have the verse memorized, and then I switch to a new one.
How I “Snack”
Now I may not use ever tool every week, but they have all been helpful to guide me into a deeper understanding of the Word, even in this busy season. There really is no one way to study the Bible, and everyone has to so what’s best for them in the season they’re in. We all may use different methods or tools, but I think we can all agree the Bible brings life in a way no other book can, and when we make the time for it (no matter how short or scattered) it can change us.