In a previous post, we saw the benefits of reading the Bible daily and why it’s an excellent habit for every Christian to develop. But how do we get started? What can we do to develop this healthy and necessary habit?
Here are seven practical points to help you build up a daily habit of reading the Bible:
1. Pray for a hunger for God’s Word
In Psalms 119 we can see the psalmist’s love and hunger for God’s word. In verse 103 he overflows with his joyous experience of God’s word: “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” We, too, can have this kind of joy in God’s Word; we can simply ask God to give us a hunger and a taste for His Word. Surely this is a prayer God would like to answer.
2. Choose a set time to read
It helps to schedule a set time for reading the Bible. Morning is an excellent time, before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. Other times like during lunch or before going to bed can also be good. A scheduled time helps us remember to read the Word and makes it a part of our daily routine.
3. Read consecutively
Perhaps we’ve read the Bible occasionally, reading here and there in the Scriptures. But a good way to help us regularly and consistently read the Word is to read it consecutively, chapter after chapter and book after book. This way we don’t have to decide what to read each time, and as we read the Bible cover to cover we’ll begin to see what a cohesive book it is.
4. Turn your heart to the Lord before reading
Every time we come to the Word, it’s good to turn our heart to the Lord Jesus. Before we start our Bible reading, we can pray a simple prayer like this:
“Lord, as I come to Your Word, I turn my heart to you. I open to You and to Your speaking. Speak to me, wash me, and shine more light from Your Word on me today. Dear Lord, there is so much more for me to see in Your Word. Enlighten me more as I read today.”
Praying a simple prayer like this will help us be open to anything the Lord would like to speak to us in His Word. By opening our heart and spirit, we’ll contact the Lord Jesus in His Word and His Word will be food to us.
5. Pray over what you read
Sometimes as we’re reading the Bible, a certain verse stands out to us. It may comfort us, convict us, or apply exactly to our situation. Other times, a verse may perplex us. Whatever our reaction, we can stop and pray what we’ve read back to the Lord. We might thank the Lord or praise Him for certain portions, we might ask Him to show us the meaning of a certain verse, or we might just talk with Him about a verse.
In this way the Bible can be a prayer book to us, helping us to spend time with the Lord. As we practice this, the Bible will become more than words on a page to us; it will become a place where we meet with our dear Lord Jesus.
6. Keep track of your Bible reading
Keeping track of what you’ve read is helpful, and there are many ways to do so. You can check off what chapter or book you’ve finished in your Bible. You can use a blank page or the table of contents to check off each book as you read it. You can also mark the number of times you’ve read the whole New Testament and the whole Old Testament.
Keeping track encourages us in our habit. For example, you may think you’re going too slowly if you read one chapter per day. But even if you only read one chapter per day, you’ll finish the entire New Testament in under one year. After five years of reading the Bible daily, you might look at your record and find you’ve read the whole New Testament seven times! Seeing this kind of progress really encourages us to continue on.
7. Treasure your daily Bible reading time
Reading the Bible daily is so important for us as Christians, so we must treasure and guard the time we’ve set aside to enjoy the Word of the Lord. Our lives are full of things that can interrupt or distract us, so we really have to be active to guard the time we set.
For example, you may want to silence your phone during your set time for reading the Bible so incoming calls, texts, and notifications don’t interrupt you. Resolving not to respond to these alerts will keep the time you’ve reserved for the Word from being eaten into. Some people find reading the Bible using an electronic device is less than ideal because of the distractions that are only a click away. In this case, so you can focus your whole attention on God’s Word, you could try using a print version of the Bible instead.
A daily Bible reading habit will lay a foundation for our Christian life, strengthen our Christian faith, and help us to know the Lord Jesus in a deeper way. May God grant us all His grace to daily read His Word so that we can be brought on to the full knowledge of the truth!