Let’s face it. Most of us are not as disciplined in our Bible reading as we should be. We’ve heard over and over to “Read your Bible and pray every day” since as long as we’ve given our lives to Christ, but we still struggle to read God’s Word as often as we should. We know that the Bible is a major part of our spiritual nourishment, but it’s all too common that we realize one day that we can’t remember the last time that we actually read the Bible for ourselves.
I know that feeling all to well. As a minister, you would think that I’ve been a super-human, high-powered, professional holy man since the day I jumped out of my mother’s womb. But the reality is that I’ve struggled to be consistent in this area most of my adult life. I get distracted way too easy. Life makes me tired. And I’ve struggled much more than I’ve done well.
That’s changed a lot over the past couple years. I can honestly say that this year and last I’ve been the most consistent in my daily reading than ever before. In fact, I’ve read the Bible every single day so far in 2010. I’ve learned a few things that have really helped me become consistent, so I thought I’d share those here. Here are a few things that have worked for me and I think they could help you, too.
Find a rhythm that works for you.
There are a few people that I know who get up extremely early in the morning (when Jesus might still be asleep) to spend time in prayer and Bible study. When I hear people talk about this my first reaction is to feel guilty. That seems like the thing that all of us should do if we really love Jesus. But the reality is that early mornings don’t work best for everyone. It may be that you need to start doing that, but what’s most important is to find a rhythm of Bible reading that works best for you.
The majority of the time that I read the Bible is at night right before I go to bed. There are days that I’ll find time in the middle of the morning or afternoon to get in the word, but I tend to read before bed most of the time. If you’re a night owl like me, maybe reading the Bible then is the best time for you.
Make it a priority.
This may be the most important thing I’ve done. It’s easy to come up with a litany of excuses about why we’re not being consistent in our reading, but the most likely reason is that we haven’t seen it as being all that important of a thing to do. Excuses like, “We’ve heard most of the important stories before.” “The Bible hasn’t been available to read for everyone for most of history, so why bother today?” “Life’s so stressful with work and the kids that the last thing I need to do is add another thing to my to do list.”
Whatever the excuse is the reality is that we’re not making it a high priority in our everyday lives. Until that happens any excuse will seem like a good one.
Follow a plan to read the whole Bible.
From what I can tell, there are two ways that are really popular for reading the Bible but aren’t really the best if you’re struggling in being consistent. One is to just open up the Bible randomly to a page and start reading. All of Scripture is inspired, so I’m bound to find something valuable no matter where I start, right? Well, that is true, but if you don’t have a plan in place to read through the whole Bible you’ll probably just skip over some less than fun sections (Leviticus/Numbers for example).
The other way that I hear of people doing is reading straight through from Genesis to Revelation. I’ve never done this and it’s likely that I never will. My wife, Brea, is doing this now and I really admire her for it, but there are a number of other ways to read the Bible that I have found to be easier to to follow than this plan.
The best source for reading plans I have found is from YouVersion. They have over twenty plans to choose from. Not only that, YouVersion can be accessed from your browser or you mobile device (they even have an iPhone app, too). On top of that, you can choose how short or how long you want it take to make it through the plan. Oh, and they also have an option to add accountability partner to help keep you on track! Those are some great options!
If you prefer to read your print bible you can check out some printable plans over at the Blue Letter Bible website.
Give yourself some grace.
Even if you follow my previous tips, you’re likely to miss a day or two (or more) over the course of your reading. If this happens to you realize that this just confirms your need for grace and forgiveness from Christ and learn to give yourself some grace. Satan loves to make people feel guilty, and if you feel guilty about not reading your Bible you’ll be less likely to read your Bible, which is what is making you feel guilty in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle.
Those are just a few tips that I’ve got. Do you have any success stories or struggles to share in your Bible reading? Share in the comments!
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11 thoughts on “Four Ways to Be More Consistent in Your Bible Reading”
There are some good recordings of the Bible that can be an enjoyable way to get in some daily “bible reading”. They range from straight narration to dramatized versions, depending on your preference.
Good point on the audio. I had forgotten about that. That’s really helpful for people who have a hard time reading or have bad eyesight. Thanks and I’ll probably update the post!
FINALLY, someone’s blog which states all the right things necessary for a regular routine Bible reading system! I personally struggle from all 4! But most of all, thanks Kevin for the “grace” section, which really does rob so many of their joy in reading the Scriptures! God bless!
I’ve struggled in all four as well. I’m glad you’ve found it helpful! Feel free to share the link to this post with others (as in possibly tweet it or post to facebook!).
I’ve found that if I mix up the translations I read it can refresh my weary reading plans. I also think its important to realize that you don’t have to read a ton for Scripture to be effective in your life. One chapter, or even one verse, on a certain day can open one’s eyes to the glory of God in His Word.
Great stuff Kevin!
Good points Chris. I was inspired by a church member a couple years ago who said he had read through the Bible in about six different versions.I agree that changing the version up every now and then can add a freshness to reading.
Also, I’ve been surprised at how little reading it takes each day to get through the Bible in a year. I think I average about three chapters a day.
Here’s a link with some reading plans in all kinds of electronic forms, Rss, iCal, web, etc. :
Thanks mysterious anonymous person! The ESV has some great reading plans. I think YouVersion has all of them as options, too, so there are some choices out there as to which site to use!
I did a video about the ESV’s plans a while back, too. You can see it here: http://kevinrossen.com/religion/read-the-bible/
Thank you so much. I work in a very stressful environment. I work with people who have mental health diseases and other life threatening diseases as well. I became addicted to one tv show which I watch over and over again and somehow it distresess me. I like to have on as a backround. But now I have hard time reading the Bible, because it feels weird to read it with the tv on. I don’t have a power to turn it off. Do you think God would be upset if i would read the Bible with the tv show on?
As long as you’re reading the Bible at all that’s a good thing. It’s definitely best to eliminate as many other distractions as possibile, but God won’t be upset with you for that at all.
I apprciate you being honest about it Pastor. That was encouraging. Keep the faith and after all we are learning to be consistent.