Nothing is more frustrating than carving out the time to study your Bible and subsequently finding that you’re not able to focus.
Let’s face it, often times this is because, as women, distractions can abound in the form of little family members who need us. We love them; but they can trash our quiet time, can’t they?
At other times, we may find that we re-read the same passage over and over without really reading what the passage is saying.
Someone tell me I’m not the only one who does that, lol!
Unfortunately, we can’t absorb God’s truth by osmosis and will stay stuck if we cannot effectively combat distraction and learn how to be focused during time spent in God’s word.
Below are a few tips I’ve found useful for learning how to have a meaningful quiet time and stay focused on the Lord.
10 Hacks for Overcoming Distractions During Your Bible Study
Go to a Quiet Place
If you’re the mother of little ones, a moment hardly goes by where you’re not needed for something by somebody. It can be next to impossible to find a quiet moment in the middle of the chaos when you’re raising a family, to work on renewing your mind.
You may need to become strategic with the hours and minutes during which people are asleep or otherwise engaged in other activities. If you find yourself with some quiet time after your children have gone to bed, you may be able to focus on the word of God without being interrupted.
For some, grabbing a few minutes before everyone wakes up will be ideal, and for others, naptime is prime time and will be your best time to study.
In the Bible we see that when He wanted to have alone time with God, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
In other words, he avoided the crowd.
He didn’t bring everyone with him, and He wasn’t engaging with people in conversation. This is in contrast to the Pharisees in Matthew 6:5, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.”
These verses refer to prayer, another important activity for our time alone with God, but suffice it to say that when we want to spend time hearing from God, solitude goes a long way in making the most out of our time.
I believe finding a few minutes of solitude is much more important than the length of time you can spend OR doing it during the “perfect” time of day (i.e. morning.) Shoot for alone, not ideal.
Engage Your Body (not just your mind)
This is so important! One of the reasons I get distracted is because I’m a fidgety person by nature. I’m always moving, even if it’s tapping my foot or fingers. I’ve found that incorporating movement in my quiet time is extremely helpful and allows my mind to focus. Weird but it works!
Here are some of the things I like to do to help me focus on the Lord:
- Go for a walk while meditating on Scripture and praying.
- Combine my prayer time with spinning on the stationary bike.
- Use a Bible journal notebook to record notes, doodles and insights.
- Engage in creative activities like Bible journaling and highlighting with color-coding as they help keep my mind focused and distraction free. Plus there’s a draw to making things pretty. Right?
Have a Plan
One of the quickest ways to waste your quiet time is to go in without a plan. Ask me how I know, heehee! Not being prepared means that you’ll likely spend all your time figuring out what to do, instead of actually doing it. You’ll be distracted by gathering your Bible, finding a pen, etc.
To avoid this, have a plan for your Bible time before your Bible time comes. Brilliant, I know… but it really is essential.
Another great way to keep my attention on the text is to ask questions. Here is my standard list of great questions to ask about any given passage. You’d be surprised at how having a simple set of questions to ask will enrich your time in God’s word. Try it and see for yourself!
Define Verbs and Keywords
One of my favorite things to do is ponder the various verbs in a passage of scripture. Not only does this help me focus on what the text is saying, it deepens my understanding of the Bible. I’ve learned so much about the character of God just by defining verbs!
Defining keywords is also super fun and insightful. It’s sorta like going on a treasure hunt and I look forward to this every time I do it. It’s a great way to engage with the Scriptures, learn how to study the Bible, and it will most certainly hold your attention!
Get to Know the Savior
The Bible indicates that when we engage the scriptures they are able to “penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” It has been said that only those who have been born again can truly understand the scriptures, because it is God who gives us this illumination.
Assuming that you already know Christ as Savior, look what happens to those who walk with Christ and take in the scriptures. After the disciples found they empty tomb, they were discussing the day’s events among themselves and Jesus, though in disguise, strolled along with them, asking them questions.
Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in the Scriptures concerning himself”. Later on, Jesus broke bread with them and in Luke 24:31, it says, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”
Verse 32 of the same chapter says the disciples asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”
The same is true today. When we walk and talk with the Savior in prayer and open up His word, He will illuminate it for us, and our hearts will burn within us. We will understand and the word will come alive, keeping us from being unfocused or distracted.
Always remember the ultimate goal of our time in God’s word is intimacy with Christ. When we make that our goal, our quiet time can take many forms and still work beautifully.
Expect to Take Action
In the book of James, it tells us we can’t just listen to the word but must do what it says. (see James 1:22) In order to not deceive ourselves, we need to put the words we’ve read into action.
In fact, as we begin our time in the Scriptures, we need to come with anticipation and expectation to obey. When reading, I find having a pen and notebook to write down some actionable steps is very helpful.
For example, if I were reading the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:12 where it says, “and forgive us our debt, as we also have forgiven our debtors”, I might write down the definition of the word “forgive” and think through what it looks and feels like to forgive someone or be forgiven. Then I might ask God for forgiveness for particular sins and deliberately forgive someone who I feel has wronged me.
Doing these practical steps takes your reading of the Bible from a passive activity to an active one, helping you focus on what is truly being said by identifying how it can have a deep and lasting impact on your life.
As a final word, James 1:23-25 says, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”
Put simply, when we do what the word says, we are blessed!
So next time you sit down to engage with God’s word, get alone in a quiet place, draw near to God, and be ready to take notes… and action… on what He shows you. These are great ways to keep your focus on God, and not becoming distracted.
Before you go, be sure to download our free Bible Study Sheets! This is a great way to stay engaged! Just click the link below…