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Bible Study for Moms – Part 4

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The Bible versus Devotionals

The Bible Stands Alone

I really think it is important to understand there is a difference between Bible reading and reading a devotional. They are definitely not the same thing and often we use those terms interchangeably as if they were.

This is not meant to convince you that devotionals are bad (although some are pretty bad) or don’t have their place. They do. But they should never trump the Bible in terms of authority.

There is nothing a devotional can do that the Bible can’t; but there are plenty of things the Bible can do that a devotional cannot.

You see, devotionals are only a guide. They are not the guide. The bottom line is, the author had a personal connection with God on their own personal matters. What God conveyed to them, personally, was then laid out for other people to read. While some may certainly benefit from some of the information and even be guided in some aspects, it can never give us a full taste of what God has for us, personally. 

Authors who write devotionals are not the final authority on what God’s word conveys. Only the Bible has that authority.

Having said all that, however, devotionals certainly have a place. I have a few of my own favorites and have also written one. They are meant, really, for encouragement and to point us to the authoritative word–the Bible. Because, there is power when we read His word with our own background, with our own struggles, with our own insecurities and needs.

We read more then a verse or two, more then a mere devotion can offer, and we find ourselves saturated in a healing balm of His truth. Rather then someone else speaking to us about how God used a verse to work in their life, God speaks to us directly with His truth, knowing us personally and knowing what we need.

Can God use devotionals? Absolutely. But. But, but but…they can also be a hindrance to His voice if we only rely on devotionals and neglect reading His word; the final authority on Truth.

Devotionals should never be a replacement for God’s word, but instead be read alongside, or not at all.

I admit, I am very, very picky about which devotionals I read. I don’t like a lot of fluff and honestly, when it comes to a devotion, I don’t want it to be all about the author. There is a place for that (testimonies). Devotionals should shift our thinking to God’s thinking and encourage devotion to God.

We can very often take the author’s words as if they are always meant for us, and they aren’t always meant for us. But the Bible, the words of Truth, no matter what our circumstances or what our personality, are always meant for us.

I encourage you, if you read a devotional, that’s fine! But don’t allow it to stand alone. Have a Bible reading plan of some sort as well. Read the scriptures for yourself and see what the Holy Spirit would speak to you, personally. This will also protect you against false teachings because not every devotional is lead of God and Truth.

The devotional I am enjoying currently is (affil link) Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts devotional. The one thing I really love about her devotional is that she does not claim to know all the answers, but often asks many questions throughout  her devotions. It encourages the reader to seek out answers from the Word for themselves. She uses illustrations from her life, but does not suggest that there is a one-size fits all for every person. Instead, she invites you in to her quest, full of her own questions.

What is your favorite devotional and why?

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Comments

  1. Christin,

    I haven’t commented in ages, but I still faithfully read your blog! :) Just wanted to tell you that I love what you have to say about devotionals; I feel the same way! Too many times people use them as their sole “quiet time” material and they miss out on the richness of God’s Word! I have a few devotionals that I enjoy from time to time (Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest” and Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening”), but nothing is as satisfying as hearing straight from the Word! Thank you for encouraging us women to be women of the Word!

    • Christin says:

      Thank you Carina. I like the Oswald Chamber’s one as well. I have Morning and Evening but have yet to dig into it! :)

  2. I have 2 faves: Treasured by Leigh McLeroy and Take Flight by Robin Jones Gunn. I’m w/you, I don’t love devotional books. What I want is a book that leads me to the Bible. One that makes me want to search the Word more.

    Great post!
    a

  3. I agree! Most of the truly God-changes in my life have been through His Word alone. The devotionals are encouraging at times, but Gods word is ALWAYS timely.. Thanks!

  4. Excellent instruction and encouragement! :)

  5. I absolutely agree about devotionals. I have fallen in that trap of doing a quick devotional and neglected the true word of God. That is why the busy moms bible study is so appealing to me :)
    My current devotional is Jesus calling , but an all time favorite is My utmost for His Highest :)
    Thanks for blogging , I have just recently found your blog and it is one that I read nearly everyday now :) it’s very encouraging :)
    Blessings,
    Laura

  6. I have a few devotionals sitting on my shelves… Jesus Calling is great and we are reading the kid’s version right now. I’ve recently discovered YouVersion and I have found some great devotionals and reading plans there. They have various lengths and topics to choose from. I am reading “Teach Me to Pray” and “Made to Crave” devotionals (both of these include at least a few verses to read), and I started the chronological Bible reading plan. It is nice to go to the app on my tablet or phone (you need internet to use it) and see my plan for the day. But I like meaty devotionals, not just foo-foo stuff.

  7. PS: I won the Busy Moms study and I’m hoping to start it next week!

  8. Excellent thoughts on devos!! There is a lot of “fluff” out there in the way of devotionals and I am also picky about the ones I read. The Word of God should always be our standard.

  9. I’ve been an on again off again devotional reader. The one I do have that I like the most is Morning by Morning.

    I think what you have said here is true of so many facets in our lives, that people create their own interpretations of what the Bible says, and then try to force others to fall in line with what they’ve interpreted. So many issues when we try to pick and choose what we want to get from the Bible.

  10. Susan Kramer says:

    Right now I am working my way through Jesus Today. And my children each have one as well that they do that is geared towards their age levels.

  11. I’m not very consistent with either devotionals or the Bible. I’m working on it though – the Bible part because I agree that the Bible is more important than a devotional. I installed a Bible app on my Kindle and it came with (for FREE) a reading plan for The One Year Bible. I’m finding it much easier to read my Bible daily with this app while I’m breastfeeding my baby.

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