I think that a large majority of the problems and confusions we have in our faith is a result of our lack of bible reading and study. Be honest with yourself for a minute, how many times in the past week have you opened up your bible and read it? Not counting when you’re at church. Most christians go days, weeks and even months without ever really reading the bible on their own. The bottom line is if we don’t read the bible then we have no idea what God expects, wants or is doing in our lives. We are essentially left wandering around lost ignoring the map that has the directions we need. For many people bible reading can be a challenge, maybe your not a good reader or maybe you don’t really know how or where to start. So let me give you some helpful suggestions….
1. Read your Bible not a devotional book
We need to hear from God, and one verse followed by a cute story might be encouraging but its not the same as the Word of God. Devotional books can be incredibly helpful and certainly have their place, but a good devotional is one that takes you into the scriptures. If you can complete the daily devotional without ever opening your bible then its not a good devotional book.
2. Read something new
Yes its tempting to always read the Psalms or the Gospels but try reading a book of the Bible that your not very familiar with. When’s the last time you read the book of Malachi? Have you ever read it? Every book of the Bible reveals more of who God is to us and each book has its own unique perspective, so don’t confine yourself to just a few favorites.
3. Read the bible from beginning to end
Not sure where to start? How about on page 1. Reading the bible through can be a great experience as you see the unfolding revelation of God.
4. Get a good study bible
It’s hard to enjoy what your reading if you don’t understand what your reading. So get a good study bible to help guide you through. A couple of good ones are The MacArthur Study Bible, The ESV Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible. Also use a translation that is easy to read but gives you word for word accuracy, like the ESV, NKVJ or the NASB.
5. Journal Through the Bible
One thing that has always been helpful to me is to keep a journal of my devotions. As I read a passage of Scripture I simply write down what God is teaching me in the journal. This helps me to process and think about what I’m reading and also helps me to apply it to my life. Bible reading isn’t like quickly scanning the paper, we should be learning and applying what we are reading to our hearts and lives.
6. Shoot for 5 days a week
Obviously reading your bible 7 days a week would be great, but if you can make it a goal to read at least 5 days a week it will change your life. If you miss a day don’t get discouraged, simply pick up where you left off the next day. Remember when it comes to reading your bible, something is better than nothing. It’s better to read and think about 3 verse’s then to not read any at all.
7. Have a Plan B for crazy days
Maybe you have decided your going to start journaling through the book of Isaiah, but that can be time consuming. On an average day it might take 20-30 minutes, so what do you do on days where you only have 5 minutes? Have a plan B, maybe your plan B is to read a chapter of Proverbs or to read 5 verses of Philippians.
No matter how you read your Bible the most important things is that you read it. The Bible is an exciting book, it is the book that makes us wise unto salvation, it reveals our God to us, it’s a book full of exciting stories, miracles and battles. If you still think its just a boring old book of rules its probably because you haven’t actually read it.