Recently on my Twitter feed, I came across a statement from Christian author and speaker Richard Blackaby that sounds simple on the surface but is full of truth. He tweeted, “If you want a more peaceful, joyful year in 2019, watch the news less and read your Bible more!” Not only will reading the Bible on a regular basis give you more peace, it will also challenge you to grow, energize your passion for the Lord, and remind you of what is most important in life. So, maybe in 2019, you’ve decided to give reading the Bible more of your schedule. Where do you start? If this is a new endeavor for you, let me share some of the things that helped me when I started out on my own Bible reading journey.
1. When is the best time to read?
The answer is whenever you are least tired and most alert. For most of us, that would be early in the morning as we are getting the day started. If you wait until later in your day, you will have a tendency to allow other things, especially the unplanned things that pop up in all our schedules, to take its place. The mistake many well intentioned Bible readers make is that they bite off more than they can chew. The goal shouldn’t be quantity of scripture. The goal should be application. That might mean you get through one verse, one sentence, one paragraph, or one chapter of a Bible book before you stop reading.
2. Where should I start reading?
Let me give you two suggestions. The first is to read one Proverb per day and that will get you through the entire book in one month. Another is to begin reading in the gospel of John. Read one chapter each day and keep going (in order) through the other books of the New Testament after John and don’t stop until you finish Revelation.
3. What else should I be doing while I read?
Start with prayer and end with prayer. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding as you read and ask Him how you might apply the truths that you read to your own life. Sometimes you will be prompted to praise God for His character or thank God for His provision. Other times, you might be inspired to obey God in some area of your life. Or, you may be alerted to sin in your own life you need to talk with God about. As you read, feel free to underline or highlight key words, phrases, or verses and write notes in the margin of your Bible that you want to remember. If you use an electronic device, you can use a notebook or journal to record your thoughts. Maybe you only write a sentence each day. That’s ok. Our minds disentangle themselves when we put our thoughts in words. As you close your time in the Bible, have a time of praise, confession, thanksgiving, and petition. Be natural in your prayers. Saying your prayers aloud is even better. Keep a record of what you are prayer for so that you can see how God is answering your requests. Answered prayers are a great encouragement to your prayer life. If we forget what we have prayed for, we won’t know if God has answered them. The key to prayer? Keep it honest. Keep it simple. Keep it up. The same goes for Bible reading.
What happens if you miss a day? God still loves you just the same. Pick it again the next day but evaluate what caused you to miss and see if you can prevent it from happening next time. We will only get out of the Bible whatever time we put into the Bible. Let’s make 2019 a more peaceful year than 2018 – less news and more good news!