Devotional Material: A Supplement to Bible Reading

woman studying devotional alongside Bible

Have you noticed health fads are a hot topic right now? Everywhere you turn, another vitamin, supplement, or special shake is being sold as the one perfect plan that will make you completely healthy. While a magic pill that heals all sounds great, the reality is no one vitamin is going to fix everything. To truly thrive, you must give your body the basic, foundational things it needs to be healthy. You can take as many supplements as you desire, but if you ignore what you know is essential to health (nutritious eating, rest, exercise, hydration), supplements will never give you the results you want.

This concept is helpful as we consider the difference between Bible reading and devotional materials. Devotional materials are found in numerous forms: books, articles, podcasts, etc. Devotionals are made up of content that addresses ideas, themes, stories, and questions found in Scripture. Devotional materials are not bad; they are useful tools for believers and often include helpful information and deep thoughts about God and His Word. However, like vitamins, they are meant to be supplemental to our spiritual growth. Though sometimes portrayed as such, devotionals are not a shortcut to spiritual maturity and should not be expected to work as magical tools that will meet all our spiritual needs.

Pursue Spiritual Health

Devotionals may touch only the surface of your spiritual needs. To go deeper spiritually, check out these tested benefits found in Scripture:

  • “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut. 8:3).
  • “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty” (John 6:35).
  • “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

The Bible takes you to the Source for the spiritual growth you seek. In its pages, you find a rested, hydrated, nutrient-dense lifestyle! In the Bible, you find rest. Your faith is stretched and exercised. Your soul is fed and healed. You know Christ, the Bread of life. The Scripture is vital to your walk with God—as essential to your soul as food is to your body. You cannot walk with God without it.

Find Living Water

Make Scripture your foundation, and trust the Holy Spirit’s guidance when it comes to adding supplemental devotional material to your spiritual diet. By all means, use devotional material—it can be a huge benefit to you in your spiritual life—but remember just as no one vitamin is going to work for every person, not every devotional is going to work for every Christian. And that’s OK. Our need for Christ and His Word means if an additional resource doesn’t help you, you don’t have to use it. There are many devotionals to choose from. Your spiritual health is not dependent on the words of man but the Word of God.

Dive deep into the Word of God. Learn how to study it. Meditate on its promises. Pour it into your heart and soul, for there you will find streams of Living Water waiting for you.

For a devotional to supplement your Bible study, visit to discover devotionals to meet a variety of needs.

Selah Ulmer is a recent seminary graduate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


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