Developing healthy habits is an integral part of living well. The beginning of each year gives us an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to change our habits from unhealthy ones to healthy ones. Don’t worry, this is not a blog to get you to eat well, stop smoking or start exercising. Whew!
My purpose is to get you to do something even more significant, a personal habit that will have even greater results than cutting calories or getting your heart pumping faster. I am referring to the habit of daily Bible reading.
No doubt, the importance of daily reading the Scriptures is not a novel idea that I came up with. To the contrary, the Bible, itself, exhorts us to read and mediate on God’s Word.
Joshua 1:8 – This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
I Peter 2:2 – Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.
Quite frankly, many of us have the best of intentions. We begin the new year with a passionate determination, but then life happens, our determination wanes, every day turns into every other day, and soon we are more inconsistent than we are consistent. Can you relate with that?
How can we change the yearly cycle of starting well and finishing poorly? How can we break the habit of not having a Bible reading habit? Here are a few tips that I trust will be a help and an encouragement to you.
1. Make a daily appointment with God.
Psalm 1:2 – But his (blessed man) delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Notice that the man or woman who desires to be blessed by God read and medites on God’s word “day and night.” In other words, there is an urgency and a daily priority in reading God’s Word. Quite frankly, an action does not become a habit overnight. Your daily time with the Lord must be so important to you, that you actually schedule it into your routine.
Some are morning people and others are night owls. I am a morning person, so I meet with the Lord first thing every morning. That may not work for you. Select whatever time of day best fits into your personality and your schedule, and make the determination and the commitment to be consistent. You will not regret it!
2. Have a Bible reading plan.
To read the Bible effectively you must have a plan to read it systematically. In other words, you cannot haphazardly read Scripture and hope to understand it and expect it to make a difference in your life. It was not written with the design to be read randomly. In order to comprehend it and be changed by it, you must have a Bible reading plan.
There are a variety of practical ways you can read the Bible.
Begin in Genesis 1 and read progressively until you finish in Revelation. This seems like the most normal way to read the Bible. If you read 3-4 chapters a day, you can read through the whole Bible in a year.
Read a chapter from the Old Testament, a chapter from the New Testament and a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs.
Use an online Bible reading plan. I would recommend two specific plans that will give you a daily Scripture reading game plan.
www.journeyonword.com – This is a unique Bible reading plan specifically designed for 2021. It is formulated in a way that practically allows for reading days and reflection days. I would highly recommend it.
mywordhabit.com – This is a plan designed by a local pastor that gives a passage of Scripture to read, along with four reflective questions that will help you to understand and apply the passage.
Use a popular Bible reading app. There are many Bible reading apps that will give you a schedule and help you to remain consistent. Here are a few of the most popular ones: (YouVersion; Bible in One Year; Bible App by Olive Tree).
3. Think and meditate upon what you have read.
Pastor Jon Elswick in his #WORDHABIT Bible reading plan recommends four questions to ask. He calls this the S.O.A.P. method.
- Scripture – What verse(s) jumped out at me, spoke to me, challenged me or comforted me?
- Observation – In your own words, what does this verse say? What is the big idea these verses are communicating?
- Application – How should I respond to these verses? What is something I can do in obedience to these verses?
- Prayer – What do I need to ask the Lord in response to what I have read?
Although we are in the second week of January, it is not too late to begin. Every day is a good day to begin a life-changing habit. I am praying for you this year, that the truth of God’s word will instruct you, convict you, encourage you, and transform you.
Psalm 105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.