9 Things I’ve Learned about Bible Reading

For five years, I’ve written a daily devotion available through this site for folks who want to read the Word together. Over those years, I’ve learned some realities of Bible reading that I hope are helpful to you:

  1. We in North America have incredible access to the scriptures in our language. I’ve been all over the world where believers have none of the Bible in their language—and they sacrifice greatly to hear the Word taught anytime they have opportunity. Many of us, though, have more Bibles than human beings in our homes.
  2. I need a reading plan. I wish I were disciplined enough to get up each morning, determine what I want to read, and let nothing get in the way of my reading. I can get sidetracked, though, so I need a plan.
  3. I need to know the night before what I’m going to read the next day. This point, of course, ties to the previous one. ANY time I spend in determining my reading each new day is an opportunity for something else to draw me away—so, I want my Bible open to my reading for the day when I wake up in the morning.
  4. I enjoy some reading plans better than others. I prefer, for example, reading both Old Testament and New Testament materials each day rather than reading straight through the Bible. For me, the latter approach makes it seem like Thanksgiving before you get to the New Testament.
  5. It’s not imperative that I read through the entire Bible in one year. I do, but I don’t feel obligated to do so. I do think we ought to read through the Scriptures at least every two years (a little less than two chapters a day), but it’s most important to me that we spend some time with God each day.
  6. Quantity of reading is not always best. I fear we’ve been taught that more reading is always better than less reading—that is, more chapters are always better than fewer chapters.This formula now reflects my thinking, however:

Consistency (reading regularly) + quality (reading with some depth; not just skimming the text) + accountability (letting someone else know what I’m learning) > quantity of material.

  1. Accountability matters. My writing daily devotions for this site began when I started holding myself accountable to a number of my own mentees. I needed them to know what I was reading, and I wanted to encourage them to read with me. All of us can send a quick email to others to let them know what the Lord’s teaching us through His Word.
  2. The Word is convictingly sweet. It really does penetrate deeply into the soul (Heb 4:12). It hurts and soothes at the same time—and I cannot imagine not reading it every day.
  3. I want to give the next generation worn-out, well-marked, intentionally highlighted Bibles that reflect my love for God and His Word. Even if young people don’t appreciate the gift until later in their lives, it seems to me that a used Bible’s a good gift to give.

If you want to know some practical ways to read the Word, check out these posts (“10 Practical Ways to Read the Bible More” and “4 Reasons Why Your Kids Need to See and Hear You Do Your Devotions). Then, tell us what you’ve learned about Bible reading.


  • Pete Pharis says:

    I remember very well how you described your annual reading plans in a seminar. Choosing a different study Bible or a different translation each year, you selected just a few topics to focus on for the year.

    When you said you had a shelf of Bibles marked with thoughts and insights I told myself that I wanted to know the Bible the way you approached it.

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