Maintaining a daily habit of reading the Bible is the foundation of understanding God’s Holy Word. However, knowing where to start or how to start can use a little guidance. Today, we look into practical steps on reading the Bible. You may not be able to cultivate all steps, so choose to stick to a few which you feel meets your needs and capabilities.
- Pray for strength and guidance.
When we pray for strength and guidance, what we’re looking for is to taste the sweetness of the Gospel. We want to be able to experience joy each time we open the Bible, and to feel this sense of euphoria, we simply ask God for it. We pray for us to hunger his Word. Reading the Bible isn’t the same as reading a storybook, where you want to continue reading until you finish the story because you’re so engrossed in it. The Bible offers a different kind of satisfaction, one that relates to a deeper connection with God. A little prayer every day to give you strength and guidance will surely be something God would be delighted to answer.
- Setting a definite time
Having a scheduled time set aside to read the Bible is one of the most helpful things you could do for yourself. It’s just like setting aside many other things you do on a daily basis, such as studying, exercising, reading, and eating. Everyone has different times that they find suitable for reading the Bible. An excellent time for reading the Bible would be before or after the busyness of the day. Maybe for you, it’s better to read the Bible in the morning because you have this time to yourself when things are still quiet, and there’s not much noise around. Or, it could also be at night when the family has gone to sleep, and you usually have a cup of tea before calling it a day. Designating a time helps us to incorporate reading the Bible into our routine.
- Read the Bible consecutively.
You may have started reading the Bible before, and you probably started off with reading a passage here or a passage there. If you want to read the Bible regularly, then a better strategy is to read the Word of God consecutively, chapter by charter, book by book. How many chapters, verses, and words are in the Bible? Reading consecutively will give you an entire understanding of chapters and verses, too. As we read the Bible chapter by chapter, we’ll have a bigger picture of how cohesive the Bible is.
- Be open and mindful.
Before we begin to read the Bible, say a simple prayer to open up your mind and heart. Part of reading the Bible is also being enlightened by its Word, and there may be a lot of things you don’t know or words that may sound confusing. Saying a prayer will help you to allow the Lord to speak to you through his Word.
- Plan and track your Bible reading.
Using a planner here would help track your progress. Using a planner will help you determine exactly how much time you have to read the Bible by its verse or by chapter, so it will be easier to delegate or set aside a time for that. Planning your Bible reading journey allows you to keep track of what you last read, and it will help you stay on top of things and minimize that feeling of being overwhelmed. The more in control you feel, the less likely you’ll feel like reading the Bible is a chore. You can also check off each book in the table of contents as you progress.
- Starting small is the way to go.
Sometimes, we may feel discouraged when reading the Bible because we feel we don’t understand the full meaning. The minute you start to feel overwhelmed is the minute you lose any motivation. Just like anything in life, starting small is one of the best ways to cultivate a habit. Break down your Bible reading goals into smaller goals and segments. Instead of reading one chapter, read a short verse. Break it down into smaller segments, and set a goal for yourself each day how much you want to accomplish.
- Reduce distractions.
The reason why you need to read the Bible at a quieter time isn’t only to immerse yourself in the Word of God, but to also reduce your distractions. As Christians, it’s important to read the Bible daily, so we need to treasure this moment we’ve set aside for God’s Word. No doubt, our modern lives are full of distractions and interruptions, which is why we need to guard our time for reading the Bible.
Silence your phone, turn off notifications, let someone at home know you’re taking some alone time to read the Bible (especially important if you have kids), and go into a quiet space, maybe your room or the garden.
- Setting up a reading space
Just like how you start a meditation session by reducing the amount of noise and distractions around you, or preparing your workspace in time for a Zoom meeting, or even laying out the ingredients and utensils to bake a cake, you need to make some preparations when it comes to reading the Bible. You know yourself better than anyone, and you know exactly what can distract you easily from your Bible reading. Create a comfortable space for yourself that’s free from distractions of any kind, so you won’t be tempted while you concentrate.
Find an area where you feel the most comfortable and relaxed, a place where you wouldn’t mind spending a couple of hours getting some reading and reflection done. Spruce it up in any way you can, as long as it ends up being an environment that motivates you and inspires you to want to do your best.
Reading the Bible daily forms a good foundation for Christian life, strengthening your faith and helping you get to know God in a more connected and more profound way.