I am convinced that in order to grow as a Christian, you have to be connected daily to God’s Word. But one of the hardest things to do, in my experience, is take the time to make this a priority.
Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up over the years that have helped me become more consistent in my Bible reading. Maybe they’ll help you too.
Remove distractions. Turn off your phone, iPod, TV, etc. Don’t read the Bible on your computer, where FaceBook or other websites could be a distraction. Distractions keep you from concentrating. Removing all that you can will help ensure success in your Bible reading.
Use a reading plan. This frees you from deciding where to begin each time. It also ensures that you read a broad selection of texts over time. Here is a booklet with three different plans that we hand out to the students at my church. Or find one that suits you bette at YouVersion.com.
Pick the right Bible. Pick a good version; one that’s easy to understand and that you like to read. Make sure it’s a Bible that you like, as well. Maybe it’s a study Bible with lots of notes, or a travel Bible that you can easily carry. This makes it easier to read daily with consistency.
Choose a regular time for reading. This creates a habit of always reading at the same time. It also creates anticipation.
Set a length of time for your reading, and stick to it. Reading a lot is good, but your mind can only process so much at any one time. Reading too much may cause you to miss the importance of something God wants you to understand.
Choose a regular reading place. Read in the same place every day. It may be your desk, a favorite chair, the kitchen table, your bed. Again, consistency is key.
Begin and end your reading time with prayer. Ask God to help you understand and apply what you’ve read.
Take the time to understand what you read. Look up relevant passages. Consult a commentary. Not understanding a Scripture fully can cause you to take it out of context.
Ask questions. If something doesn’t make sense, write it down, and ask someone, like a church leader, for insight.
Write in your Bible. Make notes in the margins. Highlight. It’s ok. This way, you can come back to what you’ve learned over and over. You can also use different colored pens or highlighters for emphasis.
Journal about what you read. This can help you process what you’ve read and understand it better. You can write out your prayers, too.
Find someone that you can talk to about what you’re reading. Have them ask you frequently how you’re doing. This can help hold you accountable.
Apply. Apply. Apply. The book of James tells us that the person who reads God’s Word but doesn’t apply it is like the man who sees himself in the mirror, but walks away and forgets what he looks like. Reading God’s Word is supposed to change you. Apply it to your life so that you can grow. Understand how it applied to the original audience, as well as to you, today.
Read daily. God’s Word will not change your life unless you are consistently, frequently going back to it. If you’re not reading the Bible daily, you’re not growing!
Reward yourself when you achieve a Bible reading goal. Finish reading Genesis? Grab a snack, take a walk. Give yourself a pat on the back for accomplishing what you’ve set out to do.
Enjoy your time in the Word. Are you a coffee drinker? Make a good cup to enjoy with the Word. Your goal is to make your time in the Word as enjoyable and memorable as possible. This will help you anticipate your time with God daily.
Be inflexible. Make it a habit to spend time in God’s Word every day. Do not miss this time for anything, if at all possible. The devil will do everything he can to keep you from growing. Prioritize this time and stick to it.
The goal is not to get through the Bible this year; but to let the Bible get through you.
What habits have you found to be helpful in creating consistency in your Bible reading?