Advice for Reading the Bible

Okay, maybe you have a sense that you should read your Bible. Nonetheless, it still seems like a daunting task.  Hanging with a plan for a year is a commitment.  So let me give you a couple pieces of advice that will help you out.

Find a bible translation that you like.  I like the New Living Translation.  It’s modern day language is engaging and easy to follow.  If selecting a translation makes you feel uncomfortable, remember that all Bibles are translations.  There is no one right version.  Having language that speaks to you is critical for this journey, and you can always read a different translation next year.

Find a plan.  If this is your first time through, I highly recommend a chronological Bible.  This puts the chapters of the Bible in the order in which they most likely occurred. This helps keep the story straight, especially in the Old Testament.  This does set up some days in which you’ll ask your self, “Didn’t I just read that yesterday?”  Well, yes, you may have, but there will be subtle differences to look for.

Amazon has lots of “year long” Bibles.  Or, Google “bible reading plans.” I could give you tons of resources, but if your committed, you can find options.  Dare I even say easily?   On my iPhone and iPad I use an application called Reading Plan.  It’s free and has 30 or 40 different choices.  For the industrious reader, you can even customize your own plan.  Each morning, you’ll get a reminder of what you need to read for the day.  Reading Plan even links to popular Bible applications like YouVersion and Olive Tree, so getting to my Bible is easy.

Find a time.  I can’t stress this one enough.  You need time each and every day for this.  I set aside 30 minutes in the morning.  Book it in your calendar.  Gradually, you will seek this time out.  But, sometimes you have to MAKE yourself do this. I guarantee that if you don’t intentionally make the time, you won’t complete a plan. If you are intentional with a time, you will read the whole Bible in a year.

Tell someone.  Tell several people. And ask them to ask you how it is going through the year.  Tell them honestly how it is going.  Ask them to encourage you.

Accept the fact that you will fall behind. Last year I fell behind by a week two or three times.  The year before that, I fell behind by 2 weeks once.   Life happens.  God knows this, and He has given us all clever minds to come up with plans to get back on track.  My general plan was to read an extra day on Saturday and Sunday until I was caught up.  And with a plan on a mobile device, a free 30 minutes at some point in the day was always an opportunity to catch up.  You don’t have to make it all up in one day.

Pray.  Spend five minutes each day before you start reading to pray.  Ask Him for guidance, and ask Him to show you what He wants you to know.  I spend the first few minutes simply reciting “Jesus” in my mind.  I use these first few minutes to rid myself of the worries of the world.  And when you are done reading, praise Him.  Thank Him for His Word.

If a passage really strikes you, reflect on it through the day.  This will bring His Word into your day.  And those will be really good days.

This may seem counterintuitive, but don’t read ahead.  If you get three our four days ahead, that will mean you’ll have three or four days you won’t have to do anything.  The point here is not that you have a free day, but that each and every day is spent reading His Word.  A few days being free will inevitably lead to a few days being behind.

Trust.  If you read something and it makes no sense, that’s okay.  It’s a lot to take in.  If you feel like you’re in a dry spell, that’s okay.  What the Bible is specifically saying may not be directly applicable to you right now.  Trust that He will speak to you.  Remember that you are reading to get the big ideas.  Don’t sweat the minutiae.

This a journey. Reading the Bible will have it’s ups and downs.  But most importantly, each and every day, you’ll be spending time letting God speak to you through His Word.

If you have not started a plan, you’re only two days behind at this point. With the weekend approaching, there’s time to catch up.