Even though I was raised in a home where every child read the entire bible before they were eight years old — even though I have always been around bibles and bible believing people — even though I finished five years of seminary – I still struggle to read Scripture on a consistent daily basis.
Maybe you are not like me. Maybe you are a bible reading machine. You have no issue in reading it every single day. You have no distractions that haunt you and no notifications that delay you. You eat year-long reading plans for breakfast. You have Genesis and Revelation for lunch. I don’t even want to imagine what you are having for dinner. If this is you, I am getting nauseous just thinking about you. But let’s get back to the point of this post.
When Paul writes Timothy a letter, he tells him that all Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). He is literally saying that God wrote the bible, God created the bible, God would like for you to read the bible and God chose the bible as His primary way of communicating with you. I do not think you have an issue with that. The problem here is not with sufficiency but with consistency.
Why is it that every single item or task is vying for our attention and distracting us from the very source that gives us life the very minute we sit down to drink from it? The moment you sit down to read Scripture, there begins a deluge of disturbances. Your phone starts buzzing. Your notifications start blinking. Your food on the stove starts burning. Your friend just happened to have a melt-down the minute you poured yourself a nice cup of earl grey, about to start reading your NIV with the ribbon bookmark .
I can’t explain why this happens. All I know is that it does happen. This is why we must be in battle mode every single day. We must win the battle to read our bible every day. Our spiritual health depends on it. Our gospel fortitude is fueled with it. Our Christ-centered principles are empowered by it.
I want to share with you what has really helped me to read my bible on a consistent daily basis. I hope this will help you as well. The point here is not methodology (how I do things). The more important part here is consistency (actually doing it).
Principally, these items can be applied to anyone who wishes to read their bible on a more consistent basis. Functionally, they might look different in terms of how you fit them into your daily rhythm of life. Here are five items that help me stay consistent in reading Scripture every single day:
1. Location I do not mean whether you read in your living room or in the break room. What I mean is where is your bible located? Is it in a convenient location? Is it easy for you to retrieve at a moments notice? What specific apps do you use if you read your bible on your mobile phone?Are those apps helping or hindering your daily word intake? What has really helped me is when I incorporated my daily bible reading into the regular rhythm of my life. I currently subscribe to over one hundred different blogs using google reader. Since I am already accessing that particular program every single day, I went ahead and subscribed to the Through the Bible in a Year RSS feed. Every single day when I access google reader, the text for that current day is at the top of my RSS feeds. It is the first thing that I read before I read anything else. Each day includes a reading from the OT and the NT. Starting in Genesis and Matthew, the readings continue sequentially, and over the course of a year, I never read the same passage twice. There are twelve more plan types to choose from. You can check out that page by clicking here. Since I started doing this, my consistently has been unparalleled. Because I incorporated this into my daily rhythm of life, it is becoming a pattern that is seldom broken. Location is everything.
2. Practicality What are you using to read your bible? You might be using an app on your phone. But the app might freeze up constantly or it has difficulty switching seamlessly from chapter to chapter and from book to book. You might have a bulky ESV bible with which you will outsmart everyone at bible study. But how practical is it to take to work with you? You need to have multiple versions of the same bible. Find something that you will like holding and you like how it feels. If you have not switched over to reading everything exclusively on a screen, there is a plethora of choices. Find something that you like. Find something that is practical for you. If you need to get a bible with a camouflage cover or a cute pink kitty on it — go ahead and purchase it. It does not matter what you read it on — so long as you are reading — and being transformed into the image of Christ – with every text you read.
3. Variance I have never been a big fan of unrealistic bible reading plans. They make me read ten chapters of Genesis. Then I have to read another thirty chapters of 2 Chronicles. And this is just my morning reading. If I find myself trying to keep up, then this is not the plan for me. This is why I love the (realistic) plan that I am on right now. I read both the OT and the NT at the same time. One chapter I am worshiping with David over the satisfaction we have in the Word of God — the next chapter I am learning about the importance of being a cheerful giver from Paul. This provides variance. It gives my brain a chance to switch gears and be refreshed. Sustain the variance in what you read. This will help you keep up the consistency.
4. Schedule Often, our to-do lists, commitments and plates are so heavy laden that we forget to fit into our flawless schedule the infallible Scripture. Sometimes, we have the temptation to be productive before positioning ourselves in front of the word. This is why when you are creating a schedule for your day — or when you are still wrapped up in your five hundred thread count egyptian sheets, — create in your mind a slot for when you will without distraction, devote time to reading that which God would like for you to know for the day. Do not be legalistic about it. If you are not a morning person — and you concentrate better in the evening, then read it in the pm. Find what works for you. Find the pulse of reading that coincides with your daily rhythm.
5. Prayer One thing that has helped me keep up with my consistency in reading Scripture — is coupling my prayer time with reading Scripture. I literally pray through the text that I am reading. This accomplishes two things:
- It aids my prayer in being foused, specific and vigilante.
- I pray about items that I might not have even thought of — but because I just came across a particular text, I bring it to the attention of my Heavenly Father.
While you are pouring over your text, go ahead and pray through it.
The above is what helps me remain consistent. I experience an unquenchable desire to run to and read Scripture. Practically, these are small items that aid and stimulate me to do it consistently.
Question: In the comment section, please share with the rest of the commuinty — what specifically has helped you personally in consistently reading Scripture. What can you advise for others to do? What points from above personally resonated with you.