Often when you mention reading the Bible every day to Christians, they either hang their head in shame or start reaching into the excuse pile for a justification. For some reason, we struggle with the daily reading of God’s word at the time in history when it is the most accessible. We blame our lack of time and lack of understanding, but neither of these holds water as a reason to neglect the treasures that lie in God’s written word.
In a previous post, I have dealt with the reasons why a Christian should read the Bible consistently. We often get the why, but struggle with the how as we balance family, work, and social obligations. Every person ultimately needs to find the best practical ways to work this out for themselves, but here are some suggests to get you started reading the Bible every single day.
Have a Plan
If you don’t know what you are going to read, you will either pick up your Bible and half-heartedly leaf through it or just say that you will get to it later. On the other hand, if you have a plan in place for reading your Bible, you don’t have to spend time figuring out what to read so that you can just sit down and do it.
I personally believe Christians should try to read through the entire Bible every year, but this may not be best for everyone. The most important thing to do is to find a Bible reading plan that you can faithfully follow and benefit from. If you are not sure where to find a Bible reading plan, many Bibles have one in the back, or you can consult this list from Justin Taylor. Another helpful practice is to work through a helpful devotional book that has you reading through the Bible. D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God works through the Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan and Tim Keller’s The Songs of Jesus goes through the book of Psalms.
Have a Place and Time
One of the best ways to establish a rhythm of daily Bible reading is to find a set place and time to do it. For me, I have found that I need to be awake and have eaten breakfast before I try to read. So I work out first thing in the morning, cook some breakfast, and then sit down to read my Bible. When I follow things in this order in the mornings, my Bible reading becomes a natural part of what I do so that I don’t have to wonder whether or not I’m going to read my Bible that day.
This is what I have found works best for me, but you are going to need to work through this in your own life and schedule. Can you get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning to read your Bible, or do you need to stay up fifteen minutes later? Can you make time during lunch, or would reading right after you came home work out better? Know yourself, your schedule, and when you are the most alert, then make sure nothing interferes with this time.
Having a consistent place where you read is also important for you as well. Now, there is not such thing as a holy place where Bible reading must be done, but have a particular place where you read so that it acts as a mental cue for you can be important. When I sit down to eat breakfast at our dining room table, it reminds me to read the Bible when I am done. The same can be true for a particular chair or desk in your home. Find a place to read daily that signals to you that it is time to read Scripture.
Have a Pen or a PencilMost of us suffer from short attention spans and our minds frequently wander when we are reading the Bible. One practical way to fight against this is to read with a pen or a pencil in your hand. Reading with a pen or a pencil in hand moves you from passive reading to active reading. Circle significant words, underline verses that stand out to you, and write down questions or insights that you have along the way. In doing this you will find that you pay closer attention to your reading and remember more of what you have read.
Also, a journal could be useful in your Scripture reading as well. Take a few minutes and write a paragraph about what you read. Also, you could use it to write down areas of application or things you need to think through in your personal life after reading. Either way, writing things down after reading Scripture changes the way you read and the way that you remember.
Have a Practical Reward
It sounds strange to reward yourself for reading the Bible since reading the Bible should be a reward on its own. What I’m talking about is having a way to track your faithfulness in reading Scripture so you can look back and be encouraged by your progress. I recently downloaded the app, Don’t Break the Chain. It’s modeled off of a practice of Jerry Seinfeld’s where he would place a red “X” over the date on the calendar after he had spent time writing. Eventually, he had a long string of X’s and didn’t want to break the chain. Something simple like this or checking off a box after reading builds encouragement and momentum for your daily Bible reading.
Every Christian needs to read the Bible every day. We need to be pulled out of our self-focus and worldly preoccupations so that we can come face to face with God’s revelation of himself. We need the humility and encouragement that comes from reading the Gospel message. The wisdom, correction, and training that comes from God’s word changes who we are at the core of our being. Since the Bible does these things in us, we need to work on practical methods that will help us be more faithful in our daily time in God’s word.
“Why You Need to Read the Whole Bible Every Year“
For Further Reading:
How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart
Knowing Scripture by R.C. Sproul