Head-Heart-Hands | Formation

Time in Scripture

One of the main ways we grow closer to Jesus is by spending time in Scripture, the Bible. As we read, learn, and listen to God's Word, it reads us back and changes us.

Reading the Bible (or "spending time in Scripture" or "spending time in God’s Word") is one of the most important things a follower of Jesus can do. It can include reading the Bible yourself, reading it with other people, listening to it read aloud, learning about it, discussing it with other people, and memorizing parts of it.

Some people call this "doing a daily devo” or “having a quiet time” (which also usually includes prayer).

Reading the Bible is sometimes called a "spiritual discipline" because it directly impacts a person's spiritual life and because it takes discipline to do it regularly. It isn’t just an item to check off your daily to-do list. It’s not something that earns you extra points of God’s favor. It’s not something that makes you better or more holy than anyone else.

Instead, spending time in God's Word helps us get to know God. It reveals his love for us. It provides truth that helps us live the way God designed. It gives wisdom to help think clearly about the world’s messages. Too many people today read God’s Word through the lens of their own opinions or worldly ideas or the most recent book they finished or their favorite podcast. But that’s the opposite of how it should work. Instead, God’s people should use biblical truth to form their opinions, examine the world’s ideas, and determine whether a book or podcast (or anything else) is good and right and true.

As we spend more and more time in God’s Word, we’ll discover that not only are we reading the Bible, but the Bible is reading us back. It begins to expose our own thoughts, emotions, feelings, and desires under the piercing and loving gaze of God himself.

Ask God to make you hungry for his Word so that you begin to crave it and love it.

Ask God to help you know him more deeply as you immerse yourself in his Word. Ask God to transform your head, heart, and hands, through the Holy Spirit’s power, as you encounter his truth in the stories, poems, and teachings of the Bible.


Begin with a conversation starter,​ then use some of these warm-up questions.

  • When did you first begin reading the Bible for yourself? What was that like for you?
  • How has your personal Bible reading changed over time? How do you want it to change this year?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable do you feel reading the Bible (1=not comfortable at all, 10=very comfortable, I enjoy reading my Bible)
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in reading the Bible (1=not very interested, 10=very interested)
  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (called "the Gospels") tell the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. How familiar are you with the parts of the Bible that come before and after the Gospels?
  • Who do you know that regularly reads and loves God’s Word? What do you think about that?

Read & Reflect

Use one or more of these passages to see what Scripture says about spending time in God’s Word. You can also engage with the passage by copying out part of it, rewriting it as a prayer, rephrasing it as its opposite, summarizing it with a single word or phrase, making a list or chart of similar and dissimilar things, or turning it into something visual like a doodle, design, or flowchart.

Jesus' Example

Read about Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11 or Luke 4:1-13).

  • What do you notice about how Jesus knew and used Scripture? What can you apply to your own practices and habits?
  • Has there been a time when knowing God’s Word has helped you through a difficult experience? What happened?
  • Has there been a situation or circumstance when you wished you knew or understood more of God’s Word? Why?

Positive Example

​ Read Acts 8:26-38.

  • What are your first thoughts about this story?
  • The Ethiopian was probably a well-educated man who had an important job in a wealthy household. How does that impact your understanding of this story?
  • Has someone ever explained Scripture to you like Philip did in this story? What happened? What did you learn?

Negative Example

Read Jeremiah 36. (Background — Jeremiah was a prophet hundreds of years before Jesus was born. The leaders and people had not stayed faithful to God. Jeremiah and other prophets delivered God's messages to teach, encourage, warn, and guide.)

  • Why does it matter that God has always faithfully communicated with his people?
  • What are some ways that people today destroy or ignore God’s Word, like the king did in this story?
  • What are some reasons that people might want to destroy or ignore God’s Word?

Teaching Passage

Read any section of Psalm 119. There are 22 sections. Each one is six verses long.

  • What are some of the different ways the Psalmist describes God’s Word?
  • According to the verses, how does obedience intersect with reading and knowing God’s Word?
  • How do the verses relate and apply to your life?

Some Ideas About How to Spend Time in Scripture

  • Use the Bible App. Read with friends so you can share your ideas and thoughts within the app. Reading plans and app instructions are​ HERE.
  • Read through one of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), one chapter a day. Pray before you read. Read slowly. Write down at least one question and one truth each day. If Bible reading is new for you, you could use The John Project: A Guide to Reading and Learning God’s Word​.
  • Pick a favorite Bible story or Psalm and read through it each day for a week. Ask God to teach and show you new things.
  • Gather with friends to read longer portions of Scripture out loud.


Student Card

Capernaum Version

More verses about spending time in Scripture

But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12)

And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name. (John 20:30-31)

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You ​must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22-25)

When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies. (Jeremiah 15:16)

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread along, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3)

Resources for people who help others become more like Jesus.

Contact Us

Send us your ideas for new discipleship resources.

Stay Updated

Receive YL Discipleship news and updates in your inbox.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2103 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

© 2004-2023 Young Life. All rights reserved.