It's finally summer in my neck of the woods! Summer is filled with baseball games and country fairs, day trips to the beach and hours of lounging beside the pool. It’s all things ice cream and popsicles, BBQ’s and campfires, hiking a new trail and reading under a shady maple tree. It’s absolutely glorious.
Yes, summer brings a much-welcomed slowness to our schedules, spontaneity with our time, and the rest we so desperately need.
But sometimes, in our effort to clear things from our calendars, we can let our time in God’s Word slip down the scale of priorities. We skip it in favour of sleeping in, or a little longer at the park with our kids or getting a jump start on the tidying in the morning so we can spend more time with friends.
While, it’s understandable that our approach to Bible reading changes in the summer as our routines change, we don’t want to ignore the Scriptures altogether.
Here are 10 ways to adapt your Bible reading this summer instead of quitting it completely.
1. Quick and Light
If your summer schedule only allows for a reduced time in God’s Word (and that's ok!), perhaps you want to choose something a little quicker and lighter to read. Proverbs is a great book for this because it has 31 chapters which match the number of days in July. The short statements are easy to comprehend, and this book will give you loads of wisdom for many areas of life.
2. Bible on the Go
The best part about summer is all the fun outdoor activities (spoken from a true Canadian who is house bound much of the winter!). So maybe you can make Bible reading a part of those activities.
Are you headed to the beach? Throw your Bible in your beach bag.
Are you headed to the park with your kids? Read your Bible on a nearby park bench.
Are you going for a long evening walk? Grab your earbuds and listen to the audio Bible.
Are you the passenger on a long road trip? Use the time to read your Bible (perhaps you can even read it aloud to your kids).
We have lots of pockets of time even when our schedules aren't 'normal', so grab your Bible and take it with you this summer.
3. Fresh Bible Translation
Another way to adapt your Bible reading this summer is to choose a different translation. We are so blessed to have access to a wide variety of translations of Scripture. If you typically read and study in a more formal translation like the ESV or the NASB, perhaps you want to try something a little more dynamic like the CSB or NLT. Hearing familiar truths in a fresh translation helps us to re-engage with the biblical text.
4. Pray the Scriptures
The Bible is God speaking to us, and when we pray, we speak back to God. This two-way conversation should characterize our quiet times. Maybe you want to slow down and pray through some passages. The Psalms are great for this. You may even want to journal your prayers as you read a passage. Praying the Scriptures is a great way to adapt your Bible reading this summer.
5. Switch It Up
Another idea is to switch things up a little this summer in your Bible reading. Here is what I mean: If you typically read long passages with the goal of reading as much as you can in order to see the narrative arc of Scripture, try reading only a few verses and really meditate on this. On the other hand if you typically read slowly and deeply, try reading longer chunks of Scripture more quickly. Switching your pace may help you to see things in the text you otherwise might have noticed. Both short and deep and long and shallow have their place in our interaction with God’s Word. But trying something new in this area may add fresh life to your Bible reading.
6. Change Location
Since the weather is nicer, it might be fun to change where you read the Bible. Here in Canada, it’s not possible (well, certainly not enjoyable) to read outdoors in the winter, but when summer comes people are often found lounging on their back decks or sitting on the front porches. So why not relocate your normal Bible reading time? I typically read my Bible at my desk in my office in the morning with my pens all spread out in front of me. But moving to my deck as the sun comes up seems to somehow move me closer to God. There’s just something about reading the Bible outdoors in nature as all of creation glorifies God - it’s good for the soul. So try changing your location.
7. Follow a Summer Bible Reading Plan
Another way to adapt your Bible reading this summer is to follow a summer Bible reading plan. Simply google 'summer bible reading plan' and there are lots of options to choose from. This might be especially appealing to you if you don’t typically follow a Bible reading plan, as a way to add variety into your time in the Scriptures.
8. Engage with Scripture Creatively
For some reason my creativity increases in the summer. I don’t know if it’s the sun or the warm weather or the bursts of colour everywhere, but it seems easier to dream and imagine new things during this season. Another way to adapt your Bible reading in the summer is to creatively interact with Scripture.
You could start Bible journaling.
You could draw the scene as you imagine narrative portions of Scripture.
You could write a short story to fill in the gaps in a narrative.
You could also handwrite Scripture (if you’ve been around here for very long, you know that I love handwriting Scripture).
There are lots of ways to engage with Scripture creatively. And maybe that’s just what you need this summer.
9. Read in Community
Summer is all about people. It’s a time for gathering with family, it’s for long talks on the front porch and long walks with a friend, it’s for BBQ’s and campfires and picnics. So why not read the Bible with your friends? Invite some other moms to the park and tell them to throw their Bibles in their bags and then read through a couple of Psalms together. Have a backyard Bible study and invite your neighbours. It doesn’t have to be anything formal – just serve some lemonade and open your Bibles together. Bible reading is not meant to be just a solo sport. Opening God’s Word in community and chatting about what you are learning is so life-giving. So don’t wait to be invited; initiate something yourself! You’ll be so glad you did.
10. Give Yourself Some Grace
This is so important. Your relationship with God is not based on a checklist. That's not how relationships work. There are no gold stars for reading your Bible. We read the Bible because we want to know it’s Author better. So as with any relationship, there are ups and downs. When your Bible has remained unopened for a couple of days this summer, give yourself some grace. Don't let condemnation settle on you. Refuse to let the enemy get a foothold. But then equally as important - jump right back in. God will welcome you back into His presence with open arms as you open His book. Don’t allow guilt over not reading the Bible keep you from reading the Bible. You don’t have to jump through hoops to get back into the routine, just simply open the Bible today and read something.
So those are 10 ways to adapt your Bible reading this summer instead of quitting it. I hope you’ve found one or two of these suggestions helpful.
Enjoy the summer! Savour the ice cream! And delight yourself in God’s Word!