There are many tools that can help us in our journey of growth as a Christian. Daily devotionals are one of those tools.
Devotionals have a great way of helping us bridge our culture to the culture we see in the Bible. Reading the Bible without commentary can cause us to scratch our heads sometimes, especially if we don’t know anything about a culture that is not only on a different continent (for most of us), but also over 2,000 years removed….and that’s just the New Testament. I have trouble enough relating to my Grandparents culture that is 60 years before my time. Certain translations of the Bible help with this, but most devotionals are written directly to our culture and can really put the Bible into context. I recommend devotionals to all Christians, but also don’t mistake my recommendation for suggesting that they replace your Bible. They should be used as a tool to help us better understand the Bible, but as for reading directly from the Bible, there is no substitute.
How do you choose a daily devotional?
There are countless devotionals out there, and choosing one can be overwhelming. My goal is to help you look for a few things as a criteria to help you in your search.
When choosing any daily devotional, I always recommend 2 things as a criteria; That the devotional be Bible based, and that the devotional is relevant to you.
Is the Devotional Bible Based?
This is of a major importance for me. Devotionals full of advice, opinions and stories fall in the self-help category if they are not referencing and using scripture constantly. I recommend devotionals that use a scripture or passage of scripture as an anchor in each and every one of their posts. This keeps the Bible as the central theme and really just helps put it into context for our lives.This also means that the beliefs expressed in the devotional should line up with the Bible.
Mobile Apps are able to take being Bible based to a whole different level since there are no print costs. A lot of apps out there have devotionals that have you reading a good amount of scripture right from the app, and then pull in the devotional commentary. The YouVersion Bible app is a must for anyone with a smartphone. It is absolutely free, contains the complete Bible in it, with over 1,000 translations available, and has a section where you can choose from countless devotionals that bring you into the Bible and commentary fluidly.
Is the Devotional Relevant to You?
Relevancy is extremely important in choosing a daily devotional. If you are a new Christian, a devotional covering deep theological issues may not be for you. If you are a man, a devotional for women isn’t really relevant to you. Look for devotionals that actually interest and appeal to you because who you are now, at this point in your life, is the kind of person the devotional was written for. There are lots of devotionals out there, and I’m certain there is at least one that focuses on the root of what you may be struggling with right now. There are really great ones out there for women, men, youth, married couples, singles…you name it. See my other post on 3 Daily Devotionals For Women. Look for a daily devotional that really speaks to your heart and life.
I hope this short on how to choose a devotional is helpful in your search. Whatever devotional you are considering, be sure to check to see if it is Bible Based, with at least scripture as an anchor to every devotion, and make sure it meets you where you are at. Don’t forget to ask your pastor or a Christian mentor in your life for recommendations, and use the stated criteria as a quick checklist.
Are there any other criteria you use when looking for a devotional? Share your thoughts with us using the comments section below.