rebelling against low expectations

4 Ways to Get in God’s Word When In-Depth Study is Difficult


I love studying the Bible. I enjoy taking my time, pulling out multiple translations, and examining every word of every verse. I get excited about looking up the original Greek and Hebrew root words of a passage to gain better understanding of its meaning. I love concordances and commentaries. I love journaling my observations, realizations, and questions.

But not all the time.

There have been seasons in my life where that kind of intense study was overwhelming. Even impossible.

The months after my 19-month-old niece passed away, or the weeks after I lost both my grandmothers to cancer 11 days apart, I didn’t have the mental or emotional bandwidth for intensive study. In times of increased anxiety or depression, my heart and mind can’t comprehend those fine details. When my chronic pain is spiking, my brain feels foggy, and my body is just plain worn out, an hour-long deep dive into Leviticus requires more “spoons” than I have on hand.

Have you ever been there? Perhaps you’re in that place right now. It’s tough.

Because the truth is we need the Word of God every single day. It is our daily bread, meaning yesterday’s passage won’t tide you over for today. We must continuously and habitually refill ourselves with scripture. It’s not a hobby to be picked up here and there, it’s a necessity. A vital need. God’s Word is life to us.

We need the Word of God every single day. It is our daily bread, yesterday's passage won't tide you over for today. We must continuously refill ourselves. It's not a hobby to be picked up here and there, it’s a vital need. Share on X

So how do we drink of living water when we’re too weak and weary to lift our cup?

Here are a few ways I’ve found to stay consistently in Scripture even in those hard seasons.

1. Read a Children’s Story Bible

I can see some of you rolling your eyes at this one, “Really, Tabitha? That doesn’t count.”

But hear me out.

The storybook format makes it easier to follow. Because it’s a condensed overview, you can read more of it in one sitting. This makes it a great way to see the big picture of scripture. Sometimes, seeing the big picture of what God did in the past helps us see how He might be at work on a larger scale in our present. Think of the deep dive study I described earlier as microscopic study and reading a storybook Bible as macroscopic study. There are benefits to both forms of study. In my experience, reading a storybook Bible gives me a different perspective, it offers me an aerial view.

I also love children’s story Bibles as an alternative for reading the Bible in a year. It’s a great way to refresh your biblical knowledge and brush up on important facts quickly. In seasons when you do have the capacity for deep study, it’s a wonderful addition.

2. Practice Scripture Memorization

This might sound an odd idea if you’re struggling to focus, but the redundancy of reading the same passage over and over is incredibly beneficial. These aren’t just random letters strung together–this is the Word of Almighty God! 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is breathed out by God.”

It’s potent. It’s dynamic. It’s alive and active. (Hebrews 4:12)

There is also something to be said about reading the Word aloud, hearing God’s words coming out of your own mouth. Romans 10:17 tells us “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

So, read aloud! Then read it again. Let your ears hear your mouth declare what your heart believes. In doing so, you are strengthening your faith. Even if you don’t feel it or sense it, declaring God’s Word aloud on repeat is doing something.

3. Read Through the Psalms

Let’s face it, reading the book of poetry is easier than the book of Revelation. But that doesn’t make it any less powerful or important. The Psalms are chock full of healing, soothing, potent power. If you need help processing difficult emotions such as grief, anxiety, depression, or anger, the Psalms are a great place to see how to go about it in a healthy, God honoring way. Its pages teach us how to acknowledge our hurt instead of ignoring it. How to let God tend to it, instead of hiding it from Him.

The Psalms are full of God's promises. When we are struggling, suffering, and grieving, it's crucial that we remind ourselves of those promises. Share on X

The psalms are also full of God’s promises. When we are struggling, suffering, and grieving, it’s crucial that we remind ourselves of those promises—not just the promises of what God will do for us, but of who God is to us.

Psalm 23 reminds us that God is our Shepherd.

Psalm 27 reminds us that God is our Light and our Salvation.

Psalm 91 reminds us that God is our Almighty Fortress.

Psalm 46 reminds us that God is our Refuge and Strength, our present help in trouble.

Psalm 34 reminds us that God is good and near to our broken hearts.

We need these truths always, but especially when our circumstances tell us otherwise. Bathe your soul in the promises the Psalms contain, let them soak into your very core.

4. Listen to an Audio Bible

Yes, listening to an audio Bible counts. It’s not an inferior form of scripture.

In fact, for some people living where physical bibles are hard to come by or are even illegal, it is their only form of scripture. Like I mentioned before, “faith comes by hearing”, so listening to an audio Bible can and will feed your faith.

You can download an audio Bible app for free. They have different translations, and some are even dramatized so it sounds like radio theater. Pick your preference, press play, close your eyes, and listen. Really listen. Absorb the truth, the comfort, the encouragement, the correction. Let it fortify and sustain you.

Forget Perfection and Seek His Face

I hope these ideas are helpful to you and make you feel a little freer. The main point I want to leave you with today is that your Bible study time doesn’t have to be “perfect.” It doesn’t have to look the same way every single day.

What’s important is not that you study with all the tools and resources and highlighters for two hours every morning. What’s important is that you seek God in His Word with all your heart and keep seeking Him. Even when life gets chaotic, and your routine is scrambled. Even when your emotions are raw and tender, and your body is weak and failing.

What’s important is that you seek God in His Word with all your heart. Even when life gets chaotic, your routine is scrambled, your emotions are raw and tender, and your body is weak and failing. Share on X

God’s Word is not a box on our to-do list to be checked off. It’s not a daily obligation we must fulfill, or else God will be mad at us.

God’s Word is an open invitation to bring all that we are and all that we’re not to the feet of Jesus, where we can behold all that He is and always will be.

“When You said, ‘Seek My face.’ My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.’” – Psalm 27:8

Forget the illusion of perfection. Forget the routines of everybody you know.

God simply says to your heart and mine, “Seek My face.”

Let our hearts answer in every season, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”

He promises when we do, we will find Him when we seek Him with all our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13)

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About the author

Tabitha Bell

Tabitha Bell is a writer, Managing Editor of The Rebelution, co-host of Do Hard Things with The Rebelution Podcast, and a "natural" redhead. Her passion is encouraging others to live in faithful obedience and to abide in Christ regardless of their circumstances. She resides in South Texas with her rescue dogs, Jane and Millie, a pair of gentle giants. Hobbies include singing, cross stitching, studying theology, trying new recipes, and tending to her sourdough starter, Fitzy. To hear snippets of her ever-growing Peace Playlist, and receive encouragement, follow Tabitha on Instagram.


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  • Wonder suggestions, Ms. Tabitha! This article is very timely… as well as a very good reminder!

    For the first point, I would like to assert that Hurlbut’s Story of the Bible is a wonderful children’s story Bible… It is very complete in its overview of the Bible, but still simple enough for children to understand. As an added plus, it’in the public domain, so there is audio for it available via Librivox, if anyone is like me and processes better by listening.

  • Lovely thoughts, Ms. Tabitha! I needed to read this tonight, I’ve been lacking my in my in-depth study the past few days, so this was very helpful. Thank you!

By Tabitha Bell
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