Followers of Christ know we need to read the Bible. Knowing that responsibility, though, doesn’t always result in obedience. Sometimes we struggle with the task just because we don’t know how to get started. Here’s a simple plan to use as an “on ramp” to read the Scriptures more faithfully. Use it if you need it; if not, direct to this site others who might need it.
- Buy a good study Bible. This kind of Bible will give you just enough study notes to help you understand the Word without overwhelming you with additional reading. In the past few years, I’ve used the NIV Study Bible, the ESV Study Bible, and the HCSB Study Bible.
- Get a reading partner. Reading the Bible can feel like a lonely act if you read alone. Enlist somebody who will read the same passages you’re reading, and the accountability and encouragement can make a difference.
- Be comfortable with starting small. Many of us overcommit to reading the Word when we first get started. We set our sights high (e.g., “I’ll read every day, and I’ll finish the Bible in one year, even though I’ve never kept that commitment before”) and then get discouraged the first time we miss a day. If you already know you’re unlikely to keep a commitment, start smaller. You’ll never read more until you at least read some.
- Think consistency and quality more than quantity. I would much rather you read and devour one verse a day than read three chapters a day only superficially. My suggestion is to read one chapter per day – and read it well. You can always increase the reading once you’ve established a pattern.
- Keep a simple journal. If you’re not accustomed to journaling, don’t worry about writing a daily novella. Write only a one-sentence summary of what you read each day. Jot down any questions you have for your pastor or reading partner. When you get an answer, briefly note it as well.
- Tell somebody what you read. I do this step via email and the daily devotions on this website. To your reading partner and other family or friends, send a simple accountability report. This step won’t add more than a few minutes to the task, and it allows you to be an encouragement and witness to others.
- Thank God for a day of reading. With so many other options available to us, we can always choose to do something other than read the Word. When you’ve finished reading, thank God for helping you turn to the Scriptures.
- If you miss a day, start again the next day. Don’t fret over a missed day, and certainly don’t give up your commitment. Accept God’s renewed mercies and start again. The Word will still be the Word.
What other suggestions do you have?