As a child I read and loved Anne of Green Gables. Recently, I am embarrassed to admit, I’ve picked up the book a few times and attempted to re-read it but have been unsuccessful. I no longer have the attention span for what is a charming but slow and meandering tale (or at least it starts off that way … perhaps it picks up the pace later on).

We live in a world of (max!) 90-second TikTok videos and 280-character tweets, of click-bait headlines that take us to pages filled with photo carousels, videos, links to “related stories,” and of course advertisements, but not a whole lot of substance. Our brains are being wired to receive information at an increasingly rapid pace, at the expense of our ability to dwell, to dive deep, to digest.

This is a problem when it comes to studying the Bible. God gave us His Word so that we can know Him and draw closer to Him, but that takes time and reflection. It takes reading and re-reading. It takes digging deeper and praying for understanding.

For those of us with dwindling attention spans, that type of study can be challenging. For me, I have found that the best way to make it “stick” is to participate in Bible studies with others from church. Those classes keep me accountable and challenge me to understand the stories I’ve read and heard many times over the years in new ways. They introduce me to new perspectives as we discuss our various understandings of the verses, and they’re a lot of fun. If you have not participated in a Bible study at church, I highly recommend it!

Another tool that has helped me to better access the Bible and apply it to my life is to supplement my own reading of the chapters with an online reference called the Blue Letter Bible, and specifically the Study Guides from pastor David Guzik. He does a great job of pulling together commentaries from a range of scholars, including Adam Clarke, C.H. Spurgeon, William Barclay, and others.

This Lenten season, as we at SUMC are challenged to Grow through Study, my hope and prayer is that each one of us can find what works to cut through the noise around us and within us so that we can focus on the Good News God has for our lives.