Reading through the Bible is one goal many Christians add to their list for the new year, and it’s a good one. We talk a lot around here about how faith is about relationship. There is no better way to build relationship with the Lord than to get to know Him through His Word.
But wanting to read through the Bible and actually doing it can be two different things. So if reading the Bible–either through all 66 books in 365 days, or just establishing the habit of reading something from Scripture on a daily basis–is your goal for the year, here are some tips to help you reach that goal.
Read the Bible with a plan in mind
This could be a plan you create yourself–I’m going to start in Genesis and read a chapter a day and just go until I reach the back cover–or one someone else has created.
Personally I tend to be motivated by check boxes or plans that have already divided the reading up for me. The goal here is to find a plan that works for you and your goals for reading this year.
Do you want to read through the entire Bible? A chapter a day? Do you want to read in chronological order? Do you want to focus on one book at a time or read a little bit in a couple of different books at the same time?
There are a TON of plans out there, but don’t get bogged down. Decide your purpose or goal in reading and go from there.
If you’re wanting to read chronologically–in the order the events of Scripture took place–I’ve got a free downloadable undated plan in my resource library. You can get access to that here. Already have access to the library, here’s an easy link for ya.
Biblegateway is another good resource for free studies of all sorts and durations of reading.
She Reads Truth has both free and paid reading plans. These plans cover a variety of topics and books of the Bible.
Living By Design Ministries hosts several free, email-based studies throughout the year.
And if you’re looking to read the Bible this year, but reading the whole thing sounds overwhelming, how about starting with just one book. If you’re looking for an easy place to start and for a little more guidance about how to study the Bible as you read, I wrote a Bible study on the names of Jesus in the Gospel of John called Name Above All Names. This 31 day study will help you set a good foundation for daily reading, Bible study, and help you remember who Jesus really is.
Whether you use Bible studies, a reading plan, or craft your own plan, get a plan together and commit to sticking to it.
Read the Bible actively, not passively
In the past one thing that has caused me to fall off the Bible reading bandwagon was getting bored. There would be a point where I was just reading for the sake of checking off a box and I wasn’t paying attention to what I was actually reading. To combat that, I started to make the move from just reading passively to actively studying scripture.
Despite how it sounds, Bible study isn’t just for academics, and it certainly isn’t outside of your reach. You are perfectly capable of studying the Bible. It just takes a little intentionality.
The easiest way to study is to simply grab a pen and a journal or notebook. Mark words that stick out to you, underline verses, journal your thoughts and questions about what you read. Allow your Bible reading to become what it was meant to be all along: a conversation between God and you.
Don’t just read the words. Engage in conversation. Listen to what God says and respond.
If you’re engaged on a daily level, getting to your goal of reading this year will be well within your reach!
Find a community
We grow best in community, and community keeps us accountable. So find a buddy or get involved with a small group. Tell them about your goal of reading the Bible this year and your plan for tackling that goal. Then give them permission to follow up with you. Ask them to ask you how the reading is going, what you’re currently reading, and what you’re learning.
You can even invite them to read along with you. Whether this is a friend you meet each week for coffee or a small group you’re meeting with to study together, finding someone to study with or be accountable to can be helpful.
Read the Bible as a way to build relationship
Every time you dive into Scripture you have an opportunity to get to know God a little better. Goals lose their luster, but relationship is something we’re willing to fight for.
So fight for your relationship with God this year. Let your goal to read the Bible be an opportunity to build relationship with God.
The best way to know God is through His Word, but remember you don’t earn a badge for finishing a reading plan. God doesn’t give out gold stars. Yes, read through the Bible, set that goal, but don’t make reaching that goal your driving force.
Also give yourself some freedom to allow your goal or plans to change–to allow God to change your plans. There have been times when I’ve started off with one reading plan and set it aside for something different because God nudged me a different direction.
That’s the beauty of this being relationship, of it being an exchange with God. The possibilities are limitless.
You’ve already taken the first step by deciding you want to read the Bible this year and I’m so proud of you. Now go figure out that plan, find your community, mark the pages and journal your thoughts while you read, and invest in your relationship with the Lord.
How are you reading the Bible this year? Any tools, plans, or studies you’re especially fond of?
Related: Engaging in God’s Word
Live in His love!