I tend to fail whenever I attempt a yearly Bible reading plan. I know I’m not the only one who struggles to spend meaningful daily time in the Word, and today I hope to offer some encouragement to those who have trouble in this area.
If you battle perfectionism (giving up on a plan, because you get so far behind you’ll never catch up) or distraction (trouble focusing on what you’re reading), perhaps the following Bible reading tips will help you. I know they’ve helped me a lot!
Use a Plan…But Not a Date-Based Plan
I truly believe that following a plan when reading the Bible is a good thing. Without a plan, how many of us would skip reading books like Leviticus and Lamentations? I know I would! I’d spend most of my time in Paul’s epistles. We tend to gravitate toward our favorite passages.
However, the entire Bible is important, so it’s essential that we don’t skip the parts that are “boring.” Really, they’re not. I was amazed at how much I learned from Leviticus when our pastors did a sermon series on Leviticus last year! When you learn about some of the laws put forth in Leviticus, other parts of the Bible can make a lot more sense!
In choosing your plan, though, don’t choose a date-based plan if you struggle with perfectionism. There will be days when you don’t do your Bible reading. Pick a reading plan where you can just pick up where you left off if you miss a day or two. Give yourself grace when you miss your daily reading. I find that I am much more likely to jump back into my Bible reading when I don’t have to do three days of catch up reading.
Use a Plan with Some Variation
Last week I explained why I get so distracted using Bible reading plans that start in Genesis and Matthew. When you’ve read the same books over and over, you can develop a tendency to skim over the words without absorbing the details.
In December I began using Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System (PDF). Hear me out while I explain this, because the reading plan is ambitious, but I don’t want you to get discouraged.
His system involves reading 10 chapters a day from 10 different lists. So though you start in Genesis and Matthew, you also start in Joshua, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Acts, Romans, and 1 Thessalonians. When I read from so many different parts of the Bible at once, I begin seeing connections between different books of the Bible that I missed before. It’s really exciting!
If you can’t manage 10 chapters a day, that’s OK. Take a look at Professor Horner’s system and see if you can modify it. Some people create four lists. Some people divide the readings into morning and evening sections.
Even if Professor Horner’s system isn’t for you, look into other non-traditional Bible reading plans. Read the Bible chronologically (PDF). Or read the Bible in the order it was written (PDF). You could even read the Bible straight through, but beginning in a book you haven’t studied in a while (Ezra anyone?) Just find a plan that is new to you, so you will be excited about learning new things.Do you get distracted while reading the Bible? Read these tips! #Bible #QuietTime Click To Tweet
Read with a Purpose
*This post contains affiliate links*
Reading with a purpose is perhaps the most important tip I can give those of you who are easily distracted. How do you read with a purpose? Look for specifics.
For instance, read through the Bible and highlight every promise of God (I got that idea from a friend). Or pick five topics you’d like to become more knowledgeable about and highlight references to those topics in different colors. That idea came from an Elisabeth George book I read a while back. Unfortunately I can’t remember the title.
I use an idea I came across at JeffRandleman.com. Jeff uses different colors to highlight different references, and he provides his readers with a free printable bookmark to remember which colors go with which references. I keep that bookmark in my Bible, and I underline passages in different colors as I read. I’ve tweaked his color coding system a bit to fit my needs a little better. I love looking through my Bible, seeing the colors I’ve used for underlining, and immediately knowing what the passages are about!
Furthermore, by actively looking for references to creation, prayer, relationships, and a host of other things, I am mentally engaged in my Bible reading. I honestly can’t remember the last time I started to doze off while reading my Bible. (Surely I’m not the only one!)
I hope these tips have helped you as much as they have helped me. And rather than looking at these tips as a system that needs to be followed to the letter, tweak these ideas to fit your own life. The important thing is that you spend regular time in the Word. And the cool thing is, once you start spending quality time in the Bible, you can’t get enough! At least that’s how it turned out for me.
Do you have any tips for people who have trouble spending regular time in the Word? I’d love to hear them!