One of the most sacred spaces in life is intentionally spending time with God each day. This is personal devotion time. It a portion of the day when everything is set aside to personally and intimately connect with God. I know that when I miss this time in my day, everything else seems to be off. It is a keystone discipline from which everything else flows.
Hearing from God is critical to living the full and abundant life he has prepared for us. The most effective way we hear from God is through his Word which we find in the Bible. There is no substitute to reading the Bible for ourselves. There is nothing that will move us forward spiritually and help us experience consistent breakthroughs.
I make it a goal each year to read through the Bible. But ultimately the goal must be about more than simply reading the Bible. The goal is ultimately to connect with God on a daily basis. It is about seeking to hear from God about what he wants me to learn, to do, to avoid, or to imitate. It is striving to discover what God is saying by asking “what does this mean?”
The Bible is more readily available than at any time in history. And yet with such a great blessing, we are more ignorant of what is contained in that book than ever before. We sit in the pews Sunday after Sunday, but have failed to learn some of the most basic stories in the Bible. Like many people, you may have tried to read the Bible, but gave up somewhere along the way. It is something you would like to do, but have never been able to find the discipline. Here are some ideas about how successfully make Bible reading a regular part of your day.
- Write down you goal to do it. Don’t just think it. Write it down. Stop reading this, and write it down. Don’t wait.
- Have a Bible reading plan. A great plan is the One-year Bible. You can purchase the One-Year Bible or you can download the One-Year Bible Reading Plan on our website.
- Don’t plan to read the Bible cover to cover. The Bible is more than a book. It is a library of 66 books. The Bible was never really intended to read cover to cover. This is why the One-year Bible is great. It has an Old Testament Reading, a Psalm, a Proverb, and a New Testament reading each day. If you have difficulty connecting with one part of the Scripture you can connect with another part in the separate readings.
- Find an accountability partner. This is someone who will encourage you and hold you accountable. Ideally this is someone who shares the same goal.
- Use a modern, easy to read translation. The New Living Translation (NLT) is a great one. You might also consider the New International Version (NIV) or the English Standard Version (ESV).
- Start with the New Testament only. Next year add the Old Testament to your reading plan. Make your reading plan a two year reading plan. No one ever said you need to read the Bible in a year.
- Make use of technology. Put the reading plan on your phone. There is an app for that! YouVersion, Bible Gateway, and Biblia are all great Bible sites. There are many down times throughout the day you can spend reading the Bible instead of checking Facebook.
- Eliminate distractions! If you are the type of person who has trouble focusing, make sure you find a quiet place away from the phone and computer to spend in silence with God. This is good for everyone. Not just those who have trouble focusing.
- If you get behind, don’t try to catch up. Just cross off the missing days. Skip to the current day’s reading. It gets frustrating when you get behind and many people give up if they get too far behind. Remember it is not about completing the reading plan as much as it is about spending time with God. Ultimately this is not a one year task, but a lifestyle we are developing. If we miss a reading this year, we can catch it next year.
- Start now. No one ever said you have to start on January 1. In fact if you start now and have a goal to complete by December 31, 2015, you will have built a two week margin into your reading schedule.
- It’s ok to skim. When you get into the first part of 1 Chronicles the readings can get long and boring since they are made up of many lists. Rather than focusing on the specifics of each verse, consider why it is important to have a record of that information and what lesson it teaches us today.
- Know the Bible does not offer instant gratification. You don’t read it and everything is all of a sudden better. There is a process of learning the Word, internalizing the Word, living out the Word, and then reaping the harvest. The Bible brings us lifetime benefits and not necessarily immediate results.
- Journal your thoughts and prayers as you read. Journalling better helps you to apply the Word to your life. Pastor Wayne Cordiero has a great book on Bible Journaling called The Divine Mentor.
I pray that you will consider joining me this next year reading through the Scriptures and seeking God. I pray it will be a life-changing endeavor. The Bible is unlike any other Book we will read. The Bible contains the living word of God. The Words have power to change your life for the better. They are words that bring healing and hope. They offer reconciliation and peace. They convict us in our sin yet they offer compassion and forgiveness. As Peter says:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life …" John 6:68 ESV