5 min read
For many Christians reading the Bible consistently is a challenge.
So, if you are struggling to pick your Bible up regularly and immerse yourself in it, you are not alone. Life is full. Work, family, staying on top of doing the laundry, a constantly buzzing phone and so many distractions. And there is never enough time for all the things you should and want to do. You find yourself tired and exhausted at the end of the day with no energy to do anything besides watch Netflix and eat chocolate.
Reading the Bible feels like another task on your never-ending to do list.
There is no shame in that.
I strongly believe that it doesn’t have to be this way. We can learn to implement rhythms that give us life, help us breathe and fill ourselves with truth that sets us free. But before we dive into any of the what and how, let me say this again: there is no room for shame and guilt here.
You don’t have to read the Bible. Jesus won your salvation and no lack of discipline can change that. God’s love for you is independent of what you do. It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend memorising Scripture, praying or putting out chairs at church.
But you get to read the Bible. You are invited to learn more about this love and grace that God has given you. You are invited to be transformed in your mind and heart by the wonderful truth of the gospel. And honestly, this gift of God’s word is not something you want to miss out on!
Today I want to share some steps with you that will help you to develop a consistent and life-giving Bible reading habit.
Determine your goal
So you want to read the Bible more. Great! There are many different ways to approach the Bible. In order to choose one, you should first determine what you want to get out of your time in God’s word.
For instance, you might be hoping to get an overview of the Bible. Maybe a Bible in a year plan would work for you. Or if that seems a bit daunting, reading a children’s Bible is a great way to learn about the major storylines in the Bible.
Are you curious about what Scripture says about a specific topic, for instance healing? Pick up a corcordance (or use google) and look up all the verses and passages on the topic.
Do you just want to spend time soaking up more of God’s truth? Maybe meditating on the psalms or even committing some of your favourite verses to memory is something you could focus on.
Alternatively, you could study a particular book of the Bible in more depth. To achive that you could read it in a couple of different translations and maybe even pick up a commentary, that explains some passages in greater detail.
The Bible is a collection of 66 individual books, and the very beginning it is not always the best place to start. If you feel a bit lost as what to read first, I would recommend the gospels. They include all the stories and teachings about Jesus, and he is the hero of the story that the Bible tells.
Make a plan for reading the Bible
Once you figured out what you want to read you can make a more specific plan. First, decide how much you want to read at a time. Maybe you decide to follow a set reading plan (you can find some great free ones on this website) or you determine your own pace.
Next, figure out when you want to read the Bible. I personally aim for every day, and think that there is a lot to be said for spending time in God’s word daily. However, to start with you might just read the Bible once a week, on the weekends or every other day. For many people, mornings are a good time. First thing it often easier to reserve a bit of time for yourself. However, if you hate getting up early, pick a different time. You could read the Bible before going to bed or in your lunch or coffee break. I’d highly recommend really scheduling in this block of time to read your Bible. Otherwise it might not happen.
Progress > Perfection
A vital part to keep going in reading your Bible is this: Remember that reading the Bible is not a goal in and of itself. It is a way to get closer to God, to learn more about who he is and what his plan is for this world and for your life.
If you miss a day because you overslept or were too busy – let it go. Just pick things back up where you left off. If you are using a reading plan, I would advocate for one without dates. Reading through the entire Bible is amazing, but whether it takes you 365 or 400 days doesn’t actually matter. What matters is that you are growing in your knowledge of God.
Mix it up
Even if you are a fan of fixed routines like me, it can be helpful to mix things up. For example, picking up a new devotional, reading a different translation or listening to an audio Bible whilst going for a run or walk might be a fun change. (I really love the app Dwell.) This helps to keep things fresh and stops us from going through the motions. If you normally read big chunks of Scripture, maybe spend a few weeks meditating on a single verse each day or a shorter passage. If you normally prefer reading the gospels try reading a psalm.
Read the Bible in community
As Christians we aren’t called to follow and seek God in isolation. He has saved us into a family, a community of believers. If you feel unmotivated to read the Bible, get a friend to do it with you. You can discuss passages that excite, challenge or confuse you and pray together. Another idea is to read whatever passages the sermon was on that week and go a little deeper.
I know I already said this in the beginning, but friends, we don’t have to read the Bible, we get to! God has revealed so much truth about who he is in a book that we can read in our own language. It’s exciting! I pray that the next time you pick up your Bible God will speak to you in a wonderful way.
Finally, let me know what is helping you to stay consistent with your Bible reading in the comments below!