I am guilty of taking on too much at times. I have good intentions, I know what’s good for me, so I dive right in and quickly get overwhelmed. As a Christian, reading my Bible should be a priority, so I know that the reason I am overwhelmed is NOT because I am spending too much time with God. It’s because I’m spending too much time on unimportant things (or sometimes less important things). Now I’m saving the topic of prioritizing our time well for another post, but for now, lets talk about how to stick with reading the Bible.
Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to spend more time reading your Bible, and it has already fallen by the wayside. You know that you want to read your Bible, but it’s starting to feel like one more thing on a list of to-do’s. God didn’t tell us to spend time with Him for His sake, but for ours! He knows His Word is SO good for us.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:7-8 (NIV)
Or maybe you attend church, but haven’t given reading your Bible much thought or effort. First of all, I want to encourage you to start. Start somewhere, even if it starts out small. Here is what I know: the more you read the Bible and get to know Jesus, the more you will want to read and get to know Jesus. It’s like falling in love.
Or maybe you do not consider yourself a Christ-follower. If that’s you, I still encourage you to read the Bible. (I know that sounds weird.) Not only is there a ton of practical advice in there, but you owe it to yourself to check it out. Don’t take someone else’s word for what the Bible says and whether or not you should believe it, decide for yourself.
Starting to read the Bible can be overwhelming, and continuing to read the Bible can be challenging. I have found myself in seasons where I can’t get enough of God’s Word, and seasons where I can’t remember the last time I sat down and read it. There have been seasons where I spend an hour or more every day in the Bible and reading, and seasons where I can’t seem to find any time for it. No matter which camp or season you find yourself in, I hope you find this list helpful and encouraging.
Here are 8 ways to help you read the Bible more:
- Pray about it. Ask God to give you a desire to know Him more.
- Choose a plan. You can buy a plan, find a free plan online, or make up your own plan, but having a plan can help you stick with it. Also, change up the plan you use so you don’t get bored. If you have been reading your Bible from cover to cover and it isn’t working for you, do something else! I also don’t recommend getting a dated plan if you already feel overwhelmed as it is. Here are some plans to try:
- A chronological Bible reading plan. Click here to check out one by biblestudytools.com.
- A plan that is catered to your reading speed or pace. Check out How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible?.
- A plan that is for a smaller period of time. Try the Back to the Bible 21-Day Challenge.
- A plan that only takes 5-10 minutes. Check out the 5x5x5 plan.
- A plan that focuses on a topic you are interested in learning more about. You could choose marriage, finances, or parenting. You could use http://biblehub.com/ to search for a topic.
- A plan that gets your feet wet. If you are new to reading the Bible, I recommend beginning with the book of John.
- Try a new method. Don’t just read a chapter in the Bible, close it, and move on with your day. Here are some methods you could try:
- Study the context of the book before you begin reading. This is just good practice!
- Journal what God is teaching you from His Word:
- The SOAP method: Scripture (read a chapter of a book of the Bible), Observation (write down what you think God is saying to you), Application (write down a way you can apply what you read to your life today), and Prayer (pray about what God is saying to you and/or what you are going to apply)
- Ask yourself 4 questions: What verse stood out to me? How could I summarize this chapter in 3-4 sentences? What did this chapter mean to me? How can I apply what I read to my life and/or what did I learn about God?
- Choose a time of day that works for you. If mornings aren’t working well for you anymore, it may be time for you to try something else! Don’t feel guilty about not getting up an hour early to study the Bible and pray. Doing it in the morning is a great way to start your day, but it’s also a great break in your day or end to your day. Take whatever time you can get! Get creative about when you intentionally spend time with God:
- Listen to the Bible while you cook or fold laundry.
- Write Bible verses on post-it notes and stick them to your bathroom mirror to read when you are getting ready in the morning.
- Read the Bible on your phone when you only have one hand (like when you are holding a child or nursing).
- Set an alarm for a certain time during the day if you are prone to forgetting and getting caught up with the happenings of the day (like me!).
- Memorize Bible verses with your kids. You could even do this at meal times!
- Start using a book of family devotions at a certain time each day. Make it part of your routine.
- Build it into part of you routine. It could be early mornings, over breakfast, during your kids’ nap time, when your kids go to bed, or right before you head to bed. The thing is, if you are type-A like me, you may need to make it part of your routine in order for it to stick.
- Make the time special. Think of things that make your day just a little bit brighter. Is it a cup of coffee and a blanket? Is it a snack to eat while you are reading? Is it your spouse or a friend at your side? Is it enjoying the outdoors? Try adding some of these things to your reading time to help you remember how special this time really is in your life.
- Do it with a friend. Accountability in Bible reading can help just like it does when we are trying to exercise or eat healthier. It could be as simple as asking someone to check in with you to see how it’s going. Or you could even choose a plan together and meet every once in a while to talk about it.
- Don’t try to do it all. We often feel the pressure to do everything and do everything well. Well, the fact is we can’t, so we need to choose what is most important, and do those things to the best of our abilities instead. Evaluate your current life circumstances and determine how much you can handle. If you have young kids who need help getting dressed and getting breakfast, it probably won’t work for you to add your devotions to your morning routine. Maybe nap time is a fairly consistent time for you to get some reading in. But if your kids are elementary age or older, you could try letting them make their own breakfast (or pick out their clothes or start their homework on their own) so that you can spend time reading the Bible. Look at everything you are currently doing on a daily basis and see what you could eliminate or change.
- Give yourself some grace. God has given us so much grace, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t give ourselves some. No matter what plan/method we choose, we are likely not to be perfect at it. Some of us won’t do it as often or as long as we planned. Others of us won’t always have the right attitude about it. Hopefully we will still grow and see our need for Jesus so that we keep going.
These are all things that have helped me spend more time with God at one time or another. I hope that this will help you get started or continue on your quest to read the Bible more!
How do you make time for spending time with God? Be sure to leave a comment if you have any ideas to share. We would all love to hear them!