Many Christians struggle with reading their Bible.
A recent study found that only 22% of American Christians have a daily reading plan, and 35% admit to not even picking up their Bibles once during the year!
If you feel like God is calling you to spend more time in his Word, here are 5 effective strategies to get you back on track.
1. Assess the Situation
You first need to take account of how much time you spend watching movies, TV, Netflix, reading non-Christian books, playing video games, watching or reading the news, etc.
We might not take Bible reading seriously until we realize that we spend a ridiculous amount of time doing everything else but reading Scripture.
Once I understood that for myself, reading a couple chapters a day did not seem too difficult.
It takes about 15-20 minutes a day to read through the entire Bible in one year. So skip an episode of ‘The Office’ and see what God has to say to you today.
I strongly suggest finding an actual study Bible.
The Thompson Chain and Ryrie Study Bibles are pretty good (just remember that whichever you use, the notes are written by men and men are fallible).
I found a Bible app by YouVersion on my phone and looked for a “Bible in a year” plan.
After my first read-through, I actually marked my physical study Bible so that I could follow the one-year plan without needing the app. I would suggest skipping reading on the app and just mark down the plan in your Bible.
3. Choose a Strategy
If reading the Bible from start to finish is too difficult (because Leviticus-Deuteronomy can get tedious), I would suggest starting with Genesis, Proverbs, and Romans through Jude (which is essentially the basis of Christian doctrine) until you get comfortable with the language and style of the Scriptures.
Most Bible apps also provide free devotion or topic plans. These might include just a few verses and an application to life. They are designed to help you engage with Scripture in a meaningful way.
There is no shame in starting small, so long as you start soon!
4. Pick a Time of Day
Choose a time of day that suits you.
I prefer first thing in the morning as it seems to put me in a better frame of mind throughout the day. This might not work for you. Unwinding after work or preparing for bed are also viable times.
I would advise sticking to the same time every day, because repetition becomes habit. Strive to make this time of day such a regular thing that you feel weird missing it.
During your time with God, pray for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the Scripture you read and try to apply what God is teaching you as you go through life.
This is perhaps the most important part because there is nothing like experiencing those moments when God’s Word is speaking directly about something you are currently facing.
When the bit of scripture you read that morning is referencing something you are facing that afternoon, you know you are in a relationship with the Lord and He is with you!
5. Find an Accountability Partner
Read with your spouse, your children, or a friend.
Find a weekly small group for Bible study.
You will find that being around other Christians who are trying to read the Bible every day will motivate you to read and participate as well.
Bonus: Read Additional Christian Literature
After your daily study, follow up with reading a chapter of a Christian book on whatever subject interests you.
If your church has a bookstore or library, pick up something from there. You can also ask your pastor for recommendations.
Reading additional material really helps for application of Scripture on topics you might encounter in a random conversation or will help you master discussing otherwise confusing subjects.
Do the same the next day, then the next, then the next . . .
Do not be discouraged if you still struggle to recall exact references or stories. The more time you spend reading and studying, the quicker you will improve your ability to remember where a story is, and eventually you’ll be able to pinpoint its exact location in Scripture with ease.
It takes a little while to get into the groove, but once you fully engage with the Bible, you will find that God will increase your interest in getting to know Him and will feel a strong conviction to connect with Christ when you miss a few consecutive days of study.
It takes about 15-20 minutes a day to read through the Bible in a year, so will you commit today to putting these strategies into place and spending more time with God?