The Bible is a book about God and by spending time in it, we learn about His character, His love for us and His will for our lives. It transforms us and helps us learn to be imitators of Jesus. It keeps us from sin. Reading the Bible teaches us the Truth and shapes us into disciples that are eager to share the Gospel with others. The Bible points to God’s glory in every chapter.
Despite knowing how important reading the Bible is, I think it’s safe to say that most of us are not particularly disciplined when it comes to doing so on a consistent basis. With this in mind, here are 8 tips to help you develop a consistent Bible reading habit.
- Choose a Bible translation that you'll actually read. I grew up on KJV, but I get so frustrated by the language that I can’t stick with it. These days, I use mostly ESV, but when I struggle to understand a passage, I might look it up in a different translation.
- Schedule time to read. You have to make reading your Bible a priority! You manage to get to work, school, church, etc. because it’s in your schedule, right? Your bible study time needs the same commitment or you won’t stick with it.
- Choose a time that works for you. My dad was a morning person. He was up every day at 5AM enjoying his coffee and the peace that comes with solitude. I, on the other hand, am not at my best until later in the day. I’ve tried reading the bible in the morning, but I’m just too tired to pay attention. “But shouldn’t we start our day with Jesus?” you ask. Absolutely, but we can do that with prayer, listening to worship music, etc. If sitting in your car at the park after dropping the kids at school or snuggling up in a comfy chair after dinner is when you’re most likely to be focused, that’s when you should schedule reading your Bible.
- Be realistic. Don’t set a goal to read for half an hour if you can only manage 10 minutes. You can build up to longer periods of time as you develop consistent reading habits. It doesn’t matter whether you read the Bible in a year or two years or five...it just matters that you consistently spend time with God in His Word.
- Consider a reading plan. There are tons of different plans out there! Some people suggest you start in Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. I found this difficult because getting through Leviticus and Numbers is a long slog! Some may find it easier to start with the Gospels in the New Testament because they provide a narrative of Jesus’s ministry. My preferred method is to read the Bible in themes. All of these types of reading plans are fine. Just decide on one that suits you and follow it.
- Remove distractions. I love the convenience of my Bible app, but the phone is a distraction to me. It’s too easy to get sidelined by social media notifications or texts. I’m much better off leaving my phone in another room and using my actual Bible to study from. If you choose a time, place and format where you can be alone with your Bible, you’ll be in a better position to be in communion with God through His Word.
- Pray before and after you read your Bible. Praying draws us closer to God. Ask God for wisdom, discernment and a deeper understanding of His Word. We should also pray that He opens our hearts to what He has to say and for help in applying scripture to our lives.
- Take notes. Write out scripture that you feel God may be urging you to pay close attention to. Record questions that you have and things that stick out to you as you read. The Bible is full of key phrases, different viewpoints, repeated statements and themes that you’ll begin to notice as you read your Bible more often. Having notes to refer back to can help deepen your understanding as you spend more and more time in the Word.
I want to encourage you to just get started and don’t get discouraged if all doesn’t go according to plan. Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry. There will be times that your alarm doesn’t go off or you’ll be sick or you’ll forget or whatever. Satan loves to make you feel guilty when this happens, which just makes you less likely to read your Bible. Remember, you are saved by grace! If you find yourself caught in this guilt cycle, tell the enemy to go away, and you stay the course. Jesus won’t dwell on the fact that you didn’t read the Bible yesterday because He’ll be delighting in the time you spend with Him today!