Knowing God · Study · The Word of God

How to Stick to Daily Bible Reading

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Many people begin the year intending to read their Bible in a year, eventually fizzling out around Leviticus or March. Daily Bible Reading is not always easy to maintain as this habit can be upset by dramatic changes to your daily routine. So how do we get into the word and remain in it daily?

Here are some suggestions:

Start With a Plan

I don’t mean you have to actually use a plan; rather, I suggest you have a “plan of campaign,” for how you will accomplish daily reading:

  • When will you read?
  • What are you aiming to accomplish?
  • Do you want to read the Bible in chronological order, a little of Old Testament and New Testament, or just a little each day?
  • How long will you read each day?

 

Having a strategy for approaching your reading will get you farther than, “I hope to read the Bible this year…”

If you are wanting to use a pre-established Bible Reading Plan, there are several ways to approach it:

#1: Read the entire Bible in a year.

  • For a Chronological approach:
    • The Daily Bible by F. LaGard SmithOne thing I like about this Bible is it has notes before many of the readings so that if you are enmeshed in the prophets for example, the commentator gives a little background to what is going on in that time frame or updates you on the context. I enjoy having the historical context, particularly when it comes to the harder passages.
    • As It Happened, via the YouVersion Bible App which goes through the Bible in a year in chronological order. One thing I love about the app is I can listen to the Bible, making it easier to get my Bible time in each day. I will update you all later this year with my assessment on this plan!
  • For a daily reading that includes Old and New Testament:

#2: Go for the Absorption approach.

This is an approach I came up with a few years ago, and it is one of my favorites because it’s not about getting through the entire bible in a set period of time, but rather absorbing the text book by book, chapter by chapter. To do this approach, have a calendar or daily to-do list with your “Bible Reading” as a check-off box. Make time every day to read or listen to a minimum of one chapter. If you read something, but it doesn’t make sense, read it again. Don’t hesitate to re-read a chapter or an entire book several times to get a good grasp on the book’s theme and each chapter’s context.

#3: Take a Chapter-per-day approach.

If you are struggling to get in the habit of daily reading and the above plans seem overwhelming, then this is where I suggest you begin. The primary goal is to read from the Bible each day. Like prayer, I suggest you start with meal times. People don’t typically skip meals. When you sit down with your family for dinner, read a chapter aloud after the meal. Make it part of your daily routine. Begin in January, with Proverbs. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs—one for each day of the month. After that, move on to the Psalms. From there, go to the New Testament and read from Matthew to Revelation. Once that is completed, start in Genesis. One chapter a day isn’t that daunting until you get to Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible. Make sure that you make a little more time for that one.

Set a reminder

I hear people slamming technology all the time, but it can be a great tool if used properly. Set an alarm or reminder on your phone around the time each day you hope to read. One of my friends put the Bible app next to the Facebook App on her phone, and each time she wanted to use Facebook, she resolved to read from her Bible first. The result was she used Facebook less and read from the Bible more!

Set your wake-up alarm 15-20 minutes earlier to read before starting your daily routine. Early mornings are often the best times to accomplish tasks because I’m usually the only one awake (less distractions!). Of course, you can’t keep hitting snooze if you actually hope to read. If you go to bed around the same time, that can also be a good time to get your reading in. Know Thyself!

Make Reading as Vital as Eating

It’s funny how many tasks—Bible Reading, exercise, prayer—go undone due to lack of time, and yet we always manage to find time to eat. Even if you do intermittent fasting for your health, eventually you’ll need to eat. God’s Word is like food for the soul—just as the body cannot thrive without food, the soul will not thrive without the Word. If you make time to eat, then read the Bible at those times. Read with your family at a meal time when you are all together. Read on your lunch break. Read before you sit down to watch Netflix.

Get an Accountability Partner

Sometimes we just need some accountability. Find a friend to read the same plan and check in with each other regularly to discuss what you’ve read or to do a progress update. Meet for coffee once a week or simply text each other every day to stay on track.

Change plans if you’re stuck

I’ve started plans and fizzled out either because I couldn’t keep up or because I just couldn’t get into it. If an approach isn’t working, try a different one! Remember, your ultimate goal is to be in the Word every single day to know God more. This isn’t about checking a box, but growing closer to God. If what you’re doing isn’t working, it’s time to switch gears!

For more on this, read “Why I ditched my Bible Reading Plan.”

Remember why you want to get through the Bible. The goal of Bible Reading is to know the Lord and be transformed by Him. As you read, look for what the Bible reveals about it’s true author. God wants us to seek Him and He has provided these ancient words to us. So many people in history did not have this complete text that we have been given. We have a great gift—let’s not take it for granted.

What approach are you using in 2018? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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48 thoughts on “How to Stick to Daily Bible Reading

  1. Love this! I was challenged by a young man in his 20s about 5-6 years ago. Even though I was reading my Bible daily. He asked who checks their Facebook or Twitter feed before they check with their maker, their Lird and Savior? That’s all it took. I made an agreement-no social media Lord before we commune! So now, first thing, as soon as I’m awake, I thank God then dive into His Word via YouVersion. I’m usually awake before hubby. I can lay still and not wake him up while I can get in 15 to 30 minutes of private time with the Lord. My husband and I also read our Bible together at breakfast time. We’ve gone through the entire NT and five OT books this way in the past two years-when we started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! I like that challenge about checking with God before checking social media! It’s also great that you and your husband read together. I’m still trying to get my husband on board with that.

      I started “As it happened” this year, inspired by you! So far I really like it. I enjoyed reading and re-reading, but I wanted to try something different this year. We’ll see how it goes!

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Debbie! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read As It Happened for a few years. Then I found out the Pastor where we attend when “home” reads it as well! I’m reading another Chronological version this year which is just slightly different. I’m just hooked on reading it this way. I also do a few other things but just love the “order” of the chronological version.

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      2. The chronological style puts things in perspective, particularly with the major and minor prophets. Apocalyptic language can be a real challenge because much of the symbolism is derived from the eastern (and ancient) culture.

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      3. Yes, you are right! That is why I learned to appreciate Pastors and Bible Teachers who always went back to the original Greek and Hebrew and explained the culture at the time! I’m thankful for a good foundation. Which Bible version do you prefer? I’ve been reading ESV but am being challenged by the “updated” versions. A friend is trying to get me to try NLT. No sure I like either ones as they are so updated – or is that a bad thing?

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      4. I have really enjoyed the ESV. It’s easier to read through and I don’t feel like it abuses the original intent of the passages. I grew up reading NKJV and still like it, though it’s no longer my primary version. The NASB is also excellent and if I recall correctly is a literal rather than interpretive translation. I never really liked the NLT, RSV, or the Message; it seems like it takes too many interpretive liberties. That’s just my preference though—some people really like them. I too appreciate teachers who can expand on original Greek and Hebrew as it deepens (and sometimes corrects) my understanding of a passage. 😊

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      5. I actually had a small NASB I could carry easily when I was working. I used it as a reference mainly – I could remember where the passages were but needed to get the actual chapters and verses. I liked it whenever I read the scriptures. It was just too small of print to use for daily reading! Using YouVersion means I can try it again!

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  2. I’m love the I SPY method of learning. I am looking for the face of God’s sweetness, kindness, generousity, joy on each page. Taking this approach my Bible becomes the map with clues to finding the One who loves to play hide and seek! We love Him because He first loved us. He asks us to love and serve others because that is who He is and what He does.

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    1. I really like this, Jan—it really gives focus to your study! Knowing God and seeing His care and love throughout history is an excellent motivator for imitating Him. Great comment! Thank you for sharing your method. 😊 May the Lord bless you as you draw nearer to Him.

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  3. Wow! I’ve done about all of these. I’ve been in an absorption mode for a few years now. For a while, it was a few verses in a few different translations. At one point, I realized that I’d never read all of the Bible in The Message. So, I’m doing a blend of absorption and a chapter per day through the OT history section (all I had left). Thanks for putting all of ideas in one place. My spreadsheet is my means of tracking and my ‘partner’ if you will.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent! I’m a huge excel user. It’s one of my favorite ways to look at things and track. I believe tracking is extremely helpful to keep one motivated. I started to get a little discouraged last year when it took me 12 months to get through the Books of Moses, but it was a most enlightening 12 months! May the Lord bless you in your study! 😊

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  4. When I was younger, I read a shorter passage of the Bible each day and wrote a page in my journal about what it said. About ten years ago I devised a plan to read the entire Bible in a year, and it has served me well. Instead of going from front cover to back cover, I alternate books–January includes Genesis and Matthew, February includes Exodus, Hebrews, and Romans, and so on. I read about three chapters a day along with about two Psalms (completing the book of Psalms five times in a year). I also read some pages of a devotional book each day. J.

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    1. That’s a great method! It probably helps you to avoid getting bogged down in certain segments. I had thought that reading Deuteronomy and Hebrews side by side would be pretty awesome. So much language and so many themes from the Pentateuch are also used or referenced in Hebrews. Thank you for sharing your method!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your link. I love having lots of resources. I hope you achieve your goal of reading cover to cover. I am hoping to do the same this year. God be with you!

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  5. Elihu, I love this! I sent it to my son and daughter-in-law who asked me for advice on reading plans.
    I use the “SOAK method of Bible journaling.” It’s an acronym. S is for Scripture (hand-write it out in the journal) O is observation, A is for application, and K is Kneeling in prayer. I pick a book of the Bible and work my way through it each day (writing out the above) for 30 minutes. Once I’m done with the book I then move on to another book. My goal is not to read the Bible in a year, but to “soak” in as much a possible. Sort of like the “absorption” method you mention. My friend and I actually wrote a devotional journal based on the book of 2 Timothy using this method. https://beckielindsey.com/legacy-bible-study/

    Thanks again for this post that is chock-full of practical advice.
    Blessings in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Love the soak method. It’s more important to glean wisdom and application than to check the box! Thank you for sharing this article. I hope they find it helpful. May the Lord bless you in your endeavors, Beckie! 😊

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  6. Elihu, I love your absorption plan and a chapter a day… I think if more people simply started there, they would eventually have read the entirety of Scripture. When we set a year as a deadline, it is easy to get discouraged and give up if we miss a day a long the way. That’s the problem with resolutions. They seem to be all or nothing sort of things. Better just to keep moving in the right direction and not get so hung up over whether we meet an artificial time limit. Excellent advice, Elihu. But then, you are so wise that I would expect nothing less.<3

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. You said that so beautifully. We are too much all or nothing. Reading the Bible is more of a long-distance journey rather than a sprint. Thank you for your encouraging comment! God be with you.

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  7. Very nice site and great article! Thanks for liking my article so I could connect with you. Question do you host guest authors? I do time to time and would be honored if you could write a fresh article to be published on my site with your bio and site link information! Happy 2018 ~Grace & Peace

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeffrey! So glad I stumbled on your blog. It’s always great to connect with other Christian bloggers! I don’t typically host guest bloggers, but I would be honored to do an article for your site. It may be a couple weeks, but if you have posting guidelines, let me know! May the Lord bless you in your work for Him!

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    1. I know what you mean! I often do the same thing if I do a one-year plan. I prefer to just read and absorb, so it typically takes me 2-3 years to get through the whole bible. This year, I’m going for the whole thing in a year or less. So far I like the plan I’m on.

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