I know at the beginning of the year a lot of people make a goal to read more of the Bible or read the entire Bible in a year, so I thought I would share a few of the methods and strategies that have helped me consistently read the Bible over the years.
1. Use A Reading Plan
Since the creation of the Bible app, more and more people are using reading plans, so you may already be doing this, but if not, I highly recommend it. There are thousands of different plans available and they are all free. A reading plan helps you have a plan and stick to it instead of randomly deciding what to read each day.
I have used the “Bible In One Year” plan for the last 2 years, and I really like it because I read a little bit of the Old Testament, Psalms/Proverbs, and the New Testament every day.
If you use the Bible App you can view their reading plans here.
2. Use A Hardback/Paperback Bible
I will admit I am old school when it comes to reading the Bible, and I prefer to use a paper Bible instead of a smartphone or tablet. This is a preference and not requirement, of course, but I prefer paper for 2 reasons:
#1 – I’m already looking at a screen for everything else in my day, so the paper Bible is a nice change of pace. (It also allows me to put my phone away for my devotion time.)
#2 – While the Bible app allows you to highlight and take notes, there’s still something powerful about flipping through my Bible and seeing all my notes and markings in the margins. The notes in your Bible tell a story. In a lot of ways, it’s a timeline of your life and faith.
Again, this is just a personal preference, but I encourage anyone who is wanting to create a better Bible-reading habit to at least start with a traditional paper Bible before you try an audio Bible or smartphone app.
3. Read in Chronological Order
This is advice for people who are trying to read the Bible in a year. For years I struggled to complete my plan until I started reading the Bible in Chronological order. You may not know this, but the Bible is not ordered by historical events, It’s ordered by theme and book size. For example, the book of Job which is in the middle of the Old Testament is one of, if not the oldest, book in the Bible.
A chronological plan helps the Bible make sense, and makes the Bible feel a little more like one big story.
4. Get Ahead
I must admit I struggle to read the Bible on the weekends. For years, I would fall behind on the weekends and then end up so far behind I would quit, because I would never be able to catch up. I decided a few years ago to get ahead so that a missed day didn’t make me feel so guilty (more on that in a second)
So for example, in my reading plan, on a given day, I might read Genesis 1, Psalm 1, and Matthew 1-2, but I decide to go ahead and read Psalm 2 and 3 because they are short. Over the course of a month, a few extra chapters here or there make a big difference and keep you current when you go through slumps or holidays. I especially try to do this in the New Testament letters, if they are short enough to complete the entire book in one sitting (Philippians, Ephesians, Galatians, etc.)
Once you fall behind, it’s so discouraging and intimidating to try and catch up, which leads me to my last piece of advice…
5. Don’t Get Discouraged
The point of reading the Bible is not to check a task off a list, it’s to spend time with and get to know God. Just the act of opening God’s word is spiritual, so if you don’t feel like your time with God was magical or incredibly inspirational don’t be discouraged. If you fall behind because you get stuck in Leviticus, don’t be discouraged. If it takes you longer than a year to read a yearly Bible plan, so what? It’s not a race or a requirement to read a certain amount of the Bible. Just read as much as often as you can, and the more God’s word gets in you, the more what comes out of you will change.
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