Friday, January 22, 2016

6 Things That Will Help You Read The Bible Every Day

So it's the new year.
You've probably started working out more, trying to drink more water, or maybe you're trying to spend less time in front of the tv and more time with your nose in a book.
Maybe you have decided to start a Bible reading plan, and spend time in God's Word every day.

But, have you found yourself struggling with all of these things recently? I know I am not the best at keeping New Years resolutions. In fact, I hardly set them.
The stigma of New Years Resolutions actually sometimes works in the opposite way, and leaves people failing three weeks in, like me.

I tweeted a while back about how my husband and I read the whole Bible last year, and there's been people since, that ask me for tips on how to help them do just that.
So, in an effort to guide those who want to read the Bible more this year, I want to give you some advice on what I found helped me stay committed and fall in love with reading God's Word every day.

I think if there is one major thing I learned after completing the whole Bible, it is the crucial importance of it for every believer, or anyone who wants to know more about Jesus, God, or the reason for your existence in this world.
I think sometimes people hear the world "Bible" and think rules and religion.
I promise, it's not.
Don't be scared of it!
Here are 5 things that my husband and I have learned were super helpful in reading the Bible every day.

1. Strive for quality time in the Word

Last year, before my husband and I got married, we started reading the Bible every day.
We found a plan (a list of what to read every day, month by month) and stuck to it.
The next December (as in last month) we finally finished the whole Bible.
We took a break on Sundays; we would go to church, or I would go to church if Ken was at the field and Ken would usually listen to a podcast of some sort.
We also weren't super religious about if we skipped a day.
For example, if we had a 4 am wake up call to be on a flight across the country, then Ken had to go directly to the field, we didn't read.
Super busy days would come where we were just absolutely exhausted and knew that the only reason we would read the Bible was to say we did... we didn't want that to be the reason.
We wanted to spend quality time in the Word; that was our focus.
I'm not saying that when we "didn't feel like it" we just didn't read the Bible.
We did it even when we would rather go do something else first, but we found that through being disciplined in putting God and time with Him first, it became a want and desire to read the Word above everything else.

2. Don't start with Genesis.

I think every time I have tried to read the Bible in the past and failed, I had started with Genesis. I guess it might just be how my brain works. This time, we started off in the middle of the Bible.
I think the reason I would say don't start in Genesis is that one, it can be pretty hard to get into, and two it can remind you of past times were you failed and didn't pick up the Bible as much as you wanted to. I would suggest starting with the life of Jesus in the New Testament (we started in Luke)... which leads me to my next point.

3. Don't be intimidated by the Old Testament.

In our plan, we read two New Testament passages and two Old Testament passages.
I'll be honest, some parts of the Old Testament are so dry.
I'm telling you, IT IS OKAY to skim some chapters in the Old Testament as long as you are getting fed through the other passages that are being paired with it. Some parts I don't understand, and that's okay. I know the more I read, the more God will reveal. He doesn't expect you to ever understand the whole Bible the first time you read it (or even the tenth time! that's what makes it so great! I feel like I'm constantly learning NEW things in the same passages I've read before!)
Anyways, don't feel guilty for thinking the Old Testament is a bit dry and boring.
 It will come alive, just like the rest of the Bible does, when the time is right.

4. Journal every day. 

This is so important and a key thing I think people miss out on.
We aren't just supposed to read the Bible then go about our day.
The Bible actually tells us to meditate on the Word.
So here is what Ken and I do.
We read the passage, and as we go, we write down the verses that stick out to us.
After you write it down, write out WHY you like it, for example:
What about God's character did you learn?
How does it apply to a certain situation you're facing now?
The more I have just written out what I think God is trying to teach me or tell me, the more it actually applies to my life; after practice, you'll start noticing that you're actually memorizing and remembering the Scripture you're reading.
After this, we always spend time writing out prayers. I will tell you, there have been so many times I have looked back through my journal and I see prayers answered, and see how God moved in my life with various situations I was facing.
It's amazing.
This can be as long or short of a process and you want.
It could be one or two verses or there could be ten! There are no rules!
Just make sure to remember the helpful tip number one I gave you- you're looking to spend QUALITY time with the Lord, not just go through the motions.
Here are is a sample (I blurred out my entries) of how I format my Bible reading/prayer journal.
You can see, I highlight the verse in my bible, then highlight it written out in my journal; the bottom portion of the page is where I write out my prayer.



5. Be accountable to another person, and ask them what he/she liked in the reading.

This was a big one for my husband and I, especially when we first started out.
I always knew that if I didn't read that day, Ken would read and ask me how my reading went or vice versa.
Another thing that has been really powerful is that we don't just ask, "did you do it?", but we actually talk and discuss what we learned that day in the Word. Even if he was on the road one week, or I went home to visit family, we would text or call one another every day about what we each liked in the reading.
Sometimes, it's just a simple verse we liked, other times it leads to one of us being so overwhelmed by the gospel that it brings us to tears.
This time becomes a time where you are eager to share what God is speaking to you.
It becomes real, alive, and personal.

6. Get in a practical routine.

I'm not saying wake up early before you go to work.
I'm not saying wait until right before bed.
I am not really even giving you a time!
I will say, find a time (and this may change through various seasons you go through!) where you are awake, alert, and attentive to what God wants to speak to you.
Don't use this time as a time to wind down and get sleepy, and don't use this time as a time to just check it off the list before you go to work.
Sometimes when I read, I spend hours in the Word, other times it's 30 minutes (again, you may start out with ten minutes!). All I am saying is that this should be a time you specifically set aside to spend time with God.
Remember, quality time!
For us, during season is different than off season.
In the off season, we have been reading first thing when we wake up, but in season we may read right before Ken goes to the field. Other times I wait to have my own quiet time (especially when we are traveling and staying in hotels), until after Ken leaves for the field. This will be a constant change for those with not as set schedules (like us!) and for other people, it may be easier to find the time that works perfectly for you. The key is sticking to that time as much as possible.



I can't explain how much our marriage has grown through this, and how important being in God's Word every day is.
Before, I would read books or do random devotions.
 I was in the Word, but definitely not every day and in the routine of hearing from God.
Now that I have been, I don't understand how I went through life without it!
It seriously makes so much of a difference.
I hope this helps you and encourages you!
If you have any questions PLEASE reach out!
I want to be here to help people get interested in God's Word.
It really does change the outlook of your life, and brings a lot of encouragement and hope.

If you want me to send you our plan, let me know!
I would love to share that with you! 

2 comments:

  1. I love your dedication to the word and you had some amazing tips and ideas here! Can you send me the plan that you use? pamela.hubbard@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete