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If we’re being honest, we have to admit sometimes it is hard to dive into the Bible. Even I as a Pastor struggle with this one, then often can feel guilty that I do.

Where to start can be confusing. The vocabulary can be hard to understand.  We resort to “Magic 8 Ball Reading,” of scripture, more often than we want to admit. You know what I’m talking about. Ask God to speak, shake open your Bible, and blindly point at a verse.

Here are 5 practical ways to set up your Bible reading for success, and begin to enjoy Scripture the way you were always supposed to.

1. Set a Consistent Time

Where do you start? A better question is when do you start?

The first way to grow your Bible Reading is by scheduling it. Pick a time every day when you know you are at your best and decide that is when you will read. Plan for it like an appointment or meeting that matters to you.

Whether that’s in the morning, or the night doesn’t matter. My best time used to be at noon every day on my lunch break at work. Give God your best time, not your leftovers. Take out your phone right now, and put in a Jesus time.

If people ask to be with you then, say “Sorry, I have an appointment already.” They don’t need to know your appointment is with God.

The point is, if we just “hope” to read the Bible when we have free time, the devil is going to make sure we never get free time! The key is consistency.

I can’t wait until I need God to then turn to Scripture. I have to plan on NEEDING GOD EVERY DAY at the same time. Just like any relationship that is important to us, we must make alone time to be with God, even if it’s just 15 minutes.

2. Use a Physical Bible

I love using the Bibles on my phone. YouVersion and Blue Letter Bible are my favorites! It is so great to have the entire Bible at my fingertips at any moment! But, having it on our phone can also be a MAJOR distraction!

Have you ever noticed that the minute you started to read your Bible, you got a text, call, etc? Mom, or Roommate, or the Bossman called and you had to answer. Bad timing? I promise it’s like a law of gravity that will keep happening.

A physical bible won’t die on me, distract me, or notify me that I got 5 new comments on that post I was tagged in about a cute dog.

Try it out, get a physical Bible with you when you go to read at your consistent time. Put the phone away and on DND and start reading.

I suggest writing in your Bible. For one, it becomes personal. You will notice that you remember what you read more because you wrote a comment or prayer on it.

Secondly, because years later when you read that verse again, you will see what God spoke to you about that verse and you can go even deeper this time!

If your Bible is falling apart, there is a good chance you are not!

p.s. Try to find a version that is right for you! If you’re new to the scripture I suggest NLT(affiliate link), in my opinion, it’s a paraphrase, so it’s the easiest to pick up and understand. If you are looking for more of a word for word, my current Bible and favorite is the ESV (affiliate link).

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3. Set a Time Limit, Not a Chapter Limit

Read for quality, not for quantity. I am not impressed by how much of the Bible people have read. What impresses me is how transformed their life is by it.

The religious leaders in Jesus’ day knew the entire scriptures inside and out, and yet they completely missed God. This is why I don’t read just to read. I read to find God.

Many people set a goal of a chapter a day, and there is immense value in this! If this works for you great, keep it up! The problem for me, however, was that when I set a chapter goal for my Bible time with Jesus, it became more about finishing the chapter than about encountering Jesus’ heart.

I found my Bible time became a quota to reach rather than a relationship to grow. If I met my chapter quota I felt like a Christian Superhero. If I missed it, well… queue the condemnation playlist labeled, “Crappy Christian.” You know the one I’m talking about.

Practically, I began to set a time limit for how long to read for instead. I would set the alarm for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, and then put it away my phone and don’t look at it. I was shocked by how much freedom it brought!

I let myself redefine success.  I gave myself permission to just sit one verse the whole time if needed. I would read until I felt like God tugged on my heart, then I would stop there and stay awhile. I would read it again. Think about it. I often only got through 5-8 verses in a full 30 minutes of reading. But I realized I would rather dig a deep hole in one verse than a shallow one in many verses.

4. Pick a Spot & Stay There

More often then not, we have no idea where to start reading in the Bible. We spend the first half of our time flipping the Bible open and reading whatever page we see first. Though God can speak this way, if this is our only habit, we will never read the whole Bible.

I found that when I picked a spot, read for the time limit, and then picked back up where I left off the next day, Bible reading became way easier and more consistent.

Each day will build off the previous day and before you know it you’ll have read the whole Bible.

Also, if you are new to the Bible I suggest not just opening the first page and reading like a normal book. Pretty quickly you’ll run into the Old Covenant Laws, and will get confused without the context of the New Testament. Questions like, “Do I need to start sacrificing animals?” will come up. No, no, just keep reading, it will all be fine. I recommend starting in the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and read on from there.

5. Pray Read the Word

This final tip is the one that forever changed my Faith. I learned from a pastor named Mike Bickle. He suggests in his book Growing in Prayer, get it here, (affiliate link) that we “Pray Read the Word.” It is a practice that the Ancient Church Fathers called it “Lectio Divina.” 

He suggested to read a section of verses, then immediately stop, and pray what you just read back to God. “Pray God’s word back to God,” he would state. 

I found that this transfers what I am reading from head knowledge to heart connection with God. The scripture becomes a spring pad to talk with the Author of Life about his own words. Let me give you an example. 

Philippians 4:13 (NLT) says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

I can read that and think, “wow, that’s nice,” and move on. Or, I can stop and use it as a diving board into prayer with a personal God.

“God, thank you that I can do everything through you. Honestly, I feel weak and tired. Give me the strength to ______. Let me depend on you and not on my strength. I’m sorry for relying on _____when really I should turn to you….” and so on.

Tell Him how you feel about the verse. Is it hard for you? Ask for understanding. The Word of God was never meant to be read merely as a textbook, but rather as a letter from the lover of your soul.

Read it like you read that love note placed in your locker in high school. Memorize it like that text you screenshotted because it meant the world to you. Make it personal, because it is personal.

I know these tools may seem boring, and unspiritual, but I promise they will revitalize your faith. Sometimes the smallest piece of wood can ignite the fire of love once again. Try these out for a week and let me know how they help you!

What do you guys think?

Do you have any other practical tips that help you get into the word of God more? Please share with us so we can grow in God’s word as well!

Dive Deeper

Check out these other books and resources that will help you study the word even deeper.

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. (affiliate link)- This is the most popular daily devotion for decades. It gives daily verses and a small minute message surrounded that verse to inspire your day. 

The Passion Translation (affiliate link) by Brian Simmons- I love this Bible! It is one of the most unique translations I’ve seen. Pulling from both the Greek and Aramaic to give a fresh translation. 

How to Study the Bible by D.L. Moody (affiliate link)- D.L. Moody was a Master when it came to the Word. This is a great practical tool on how to study the Bible for all it’s worth.

Taylor Jensen

Author Taylor Jensen

Ignite the Fire of Your Faith

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