If you are a Christian, you can probably relate to this struggle: You know you are supposed to read your bible to help you in your walk with Jesus, but you’re just not sure where to start. Or, perhaps, you just don’t like reading.
For this instant-satisfaction generation, learning to study your bible can be one of the hardest things to do.
You’re a Christian. You believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. You believe it is the most essential collection of writings you could ever possess. You know it has plenty of God-given principles that could inspire you and lead you to the life you were always meant to live. Yet you don’t really read it. And you’re really not sure why all that information I just listed isn’t enough to inspire you to.
Hashtag the struggle is real.
So when exactly in my walk with Jesus will a true hunger for God’s Word arise? Answer: it probably won’t. The only way to get a hunger for God’s Word is to start reading it, applying it to your life, and seeing the power it has for you. If you do it right, it will leave you wanting more.
So let me help you with three practical tips that may just ignite within you a desire to read God’s Word.
1. Get A Paper Bible.
We live in a digital age. We hold the whole world in the palm of our hands these days. Technology is fantastic. I am just about as addicted as you would expect a millennial to be. But the greatest thing I have ever done is get a bible that I can truly hold in my hands. A paper bible – something that won’t die because I left my charger in the other room.
There are a few reasons why a paper bible can help you. Psychologically, getting a bible that feels good in your hands might just make you want to open it up and get involved in it. Secondly, there are so many temptations with the digital bible. You could be interrupted in countless different ways – texts, phone calls, facebook, twitter, sports updates, etc. Lastly, there is something miraculous about holding a bible in your hands – physically feeling whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end. It truly helps you understand which books are near Ephesians, Matthew, Isaiah, or Genesis.
A true paper bible brings to life so many aspects of God’s Word that you can’t get from the digital versions.
P.S. One of my favorite ways to study the bible is to read my paper bible, but have my iPad with the digital bible right next to it. I like to double check different versions and compare (a great use for your digital bible).
2. Mark It Up!
For whatever reason, I used to fear the thought of any sort of marking in my bible. I didn’t want to highlight, underline, or anything of the sort. Perhaps this is because of the embarrassment I suffered from the ridiculous markings I had in my previous bible that I had owned for years (I got it when I was 9 – and wrote crazy stuff in it). I got my first “grown man Bible,” as I called it when I was 19. I treated this one differently for several years. I didn’t underline ANYTHING. I didn’t highlight ANYTHING. And for some reason, when verses spoke to me, I usually couldn’t remember where they were later. If I wanted to go back to them, I very rarely found them again.
Marking in your bible can be one of the best things you could do for your spiritual growth. Underline passages that mean something to you. Highlight scriptures that speak to your soul. You will be surprised how much of it you retain. And just in case you didn’t retain it, if you highlighted something, you can usually go back and find it.
And if for no other reason, I love the thought of my son one day receiving my Bible as a gift to keep after I pass. I want to make it very clear that it did not just sit on my nightstand, but that I was in it and enjoyed it.
P.S. I love just a regular highlighter in my bible. To me it looks great, and as long as I don’t push down too hard while highlighting, it won’t bleed through. But if you are the super OCD type and can’t bear the thought of a highlighter bleeding through the page, there are plenty of options! There are highlighters specifically made for bibles – including some that are similar to colored pencils.
3. Have A Plan.
If you really want to be successful at studying your bible and retaining what you read, it’s good to follow a plan of some sort. There are plenty of resources online for specific reading plans. Some will even take you through the entire bible in a year.
But what I have found to be the best method for me has been to read entire books at a time. Just recently I read through the entire books of Genesis and Exodus. But eventually, I needed a taste of the new Testament again. So I read through 1 Corinthians, Colossians, Philippians. This is one of my favorite ways to read the bible. To pick a book and read the entire book over the course of a week or two (depending on the length).
However, several other plans follow the calendar and are super easy to remember where you are in your plan.
– You can read through all of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in a month by simply reading 3 chapters every single day.
– You can read through the entire book of Psalms in a month by reading 5 chapters per day. Plus, most are very short.
– Lastly, one of my favorite plans. Want to grow in wisdom? Proverbs is the greatest book of wisdom in the Bible. Proverbs has 31 chapters. Most months have either 30 or 31 days. Read the chapter in Proverbs that correlates with the day of the month. On the 17th, read chapter 17. Super easy. And you will grow tremendously.
Finally, in closing, don’t beat yourself up for missing a day. Remember that you are saved by grace through faith alone in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). No amount of Bible reading could ever get you into Heaven. If you miss a day, simply pick that thing back up and keep going. I promise you will grow in every way to be more like Christ. There is power in His Word. We ought to do our best to fall in love with it.