One of the most important habits to form as a Christian is daily Bible reading. It can seem almost oppressive, how often we are told “Read your Bible!”, but God never meant it to be that way. Jesus is His Word manifested in the flesh (John 1:1), and we love Jesus! He wants us to love His Word the way we love Him.
If you’re too busy to read the Bible, you’re too busy. If you can’t sustain a daily Bible habit, then you won’t be sustained by the Bible as He intended. You may need to make changes to your schedule to make room for daily Bible reading.
So, what do we do? First thing’s first, we have to….
Find a place where you will read Bible every day. Maybe it’s in your car on break at work. Maybe it’s your favorite spot on the couch. Wherever it is, use it daily and it will become your special place to meet with God. It’s helpful to maintain consistency to build a habit.
Before reading, take a minute to sit in silence. Prayer is communing with God, it doesn’t have to just be your words to Him. It’s important to let your spirit settle before God and adjust your focus before you dive into His Word. Next, pray for your reading time.
Use these 10 prayers to prepare before you read:
- Incline my heart to you, not for the prideful gain of false motive. (Psalm 119:36)
- Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your word. (Psalm 119:18)
- Unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
- Satisfy me with your steadfast love. (Psalm 90:14)
- Quiet my heart with your love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
- Take captive my straying thoughts. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
- Give me wisdom. (James 1:5)
- Remind me that I am your loved son. (Matthew 3:3)
- Empower me to obey. (Galatians 5:16)
- Help me abide in you and bear fruit. (John 15:5)
If you’re one of those people that just open the Bible anywhere and start reading randomly, you aren’t alone. But to get the most out of what you read, a plan is essential.
Some resources for finding Bible reading plans include:
- The YouVersion Bible app
- ESV Bible app
- Read Scripture app
- M’Cheyne reading plan – includes readings from the Old and New Testaments, as well as The Gospels and Psalms, daily. This is also available on the YouVersion Bible app.
Once you have chosen a plan, it’s time to read.
After reading, dwell on what you read. Don’t read and forget what you read (James 1:24). Use some holy curiosity, sanctified imagination and observe what’s going on.
What word or words stood out to you? Put yourself in the story and wonder how you would respond/react if you had been there.
Be patient with yourself. It takes time to develop habits. Trees become giants little by little, through seasons of staying close to water.
When you read scripture, stop to ask yourself a couple of key questions. These will help you understand the verses and God better. We read to get to know our Savior and the Bible has often been said to be His love letter to us.
First ask, what does this say about God? His character, nature, and actions, past, present, and future?
Next, ask, what does this say about humans? What does this say about/to me personally? Is it speaking to the church?
Finally ask, what does this say about Jesus, directly or indirectly?
Take time to observe what you read, journal, pray and discover. This is a grand adventure with our Creator.
Take time to dig deeper into your heart. What is God saying to you? Is there an attitude He is trying to adjust? Is there an opportunity for reconciliation with others? Scripture challenges us to change and God speaks through it to mold us into His likeness. Did what you read inspire you to share it with others, encourage someone, share your faith, or just be thankful?
Stop. Breathe. Drink in God’s presence and His Word. Summarize what you read or learned and let it be your prayer for the day.
The key to growth is consistency! Don’t be discouraged, sanctification takes time.
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law!” Psalm 119:18 ESV