7 Tips for Reading the Bible Consistently

1. Pick a time and place

A game-changer for me beginning to read my Bible consistently was to pick a sacred time and place. When I say sacred I don’t mean that it has to be some holy shrine of a room where you burn incense and try to connect with the divine on a profound level. I mean a time and a place that is SET-APART. I’ve never heard of anyone who has consistently read the Bible and NOT done this. You’ve probably tried the old adage, “I’ll get around to it.” What happens? You never do. You have to pick a time that is consistent every day and a place that becomes YOUR place to read your Bible. For me, I have a chair in a sitting room/area of our house that is right by our back deck windows. If you’ve been to my house you’ll know it’s the chair that has the pillow on it marked “His” (thanks to my creative and decorative wife). The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is grab a cup of coffee and read my Bible in that chair.

2. Get a Bible you can understand

Getting a translation that I could understand helped me immensely. It doesn’t matter what translation of the Bible you read (NIV, NLT, ESV, NRSV, ASB, PB&J); it just matters THAT you read. Even if you start by reading The Message version of the Bible (which is more of a commentary on the Bible than a translation) that is totally fine. Just get something you can understand! I would suggest either an NIV (New International Version) or an NLT (New Living Translation). I personally read an ESV (English Standard Version) during my time with Jesus but when I’m sermon writing I’ll look at multiple translations of the same passage.

3. Get a pen and a journal

This is very beneficial for jotting down notes. Sometimes something will jump off the page at me and I want to write it down (when you write something down you REMEMBER it better). Sometimes I’m really confused by something I read and I write a question in my journal that I want to later ask someone who may know the answer. Sometimes I write down my prayers. I have a tendency to let my thoughts run away with me when I pray. I’ll start out praying and completely space out! It helps me to focus if I write down my prayers. It’s also REALLY cool to go back later and see how God has responded to your prayers!

4. Get a reading plan

The hardest part for me was knowing where to start reading. Now I just read through the Bible in order (maybe 2-3 chapters a day). This is the best thing for ME to do and usually God speaks to me in season in the place I’m reading in scripture. But I haven’t always done this. I used to find reading plans and follow them. There are some EXCELLENT reading plans on the YouVersion Bible App if you want to check those out. We also have reading plans at Guest Services you can pick up on a Sunday.

5. Establish accountability

When I first started reading my Bible I followed the same plan as one of my close friends. We would then come together once a week and talk about what we were reading and how God was speaking to us through our reading. This REALLY helped keep me stay accountable to read each and every day.

6. Get a notepad

This is KEY!! I also keep a notepad nearby that is separate from my journal. The sole reason for this notepad is to write down any random to-do’s that come to mind while I’m reading and praying. So often I start reading and wind up thinking about the bag of dog food that I need to pick up later that day on the way home from work, the email I need to send, the phone call I need to make, and the agenda for a meeting I have later. If I write those down in my notepad when they pop into my mind, I don’t have to dwell on those to-do’s. I can approach my reading with a clear mind and be open to hearing God’s voice.

7. Don’t give up

Because I’m so Type-A, I tend to want to do things in a particular order and perform them perfectly. I used to miss a day of my reading, and it would totally derail my plan! I would stop reading for weeks! What changed the game for me was learning to be a little bit more flexible. Now, if I miss a day, I just pick right back up where I left off the next day. Don’t give up! Soon it will be not only a habit, but something you CRAVE everyday!!