To illustrate, I want you to think of someone whose faith and relationship with Jesus you admire, whose example you would like to imitate. Perhaps your mother, father, brother, sister, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, small group member, pastor, teacher, or someone you know through their biography. Got that person in mind? I would say with certainty that if you were to pull back the curtains of their life, every single one of these people has/had a private history of regularly spending time communing with Jesus through reading the Bible!
There is great value in building the habit of regular Bible reading. In the same manner in which you have learned to eat natural food (and snacks!) with regularity, bathe and brush your teeth regularly, rest regularly, and enjoy leisure time regularly, I want to encourage you—for the sake of your physical, emotional, and spiritual health—to read the Bible regularly. Think of communing with Jesus through his word as part of your spiritual regimen for good health.
There are a number of different plans to approach reading the Bible regularly. Simply select one that suits your personality, schedule, and place and station in life.
- One-Year Plan
This approach gets you through the entire Old and New Testaments in one year. It requires about 30 minutes per day. While there are a number of 1-year plans, I have grown to really like the plan offered in the One-Year Bible. In this plan, you will read a portion of the Old, New, a Psalm and part of a Proverb every day. You can purchase a paper copy from Amazon here for $8.61. You can download the plan onto your mobile device or tablet from You Version for free here.
- Two-Year Plan
You read either the Old or the New portion of the 1-Year plan. This takes you through the entire Bible in 2 years,
A great option for reading the New Testament this year is available here for free.
- Three-Year Plan
You read the Old Testament in year one
The New Testament in year 2
The Psalms and Proverbs in year 3
For some of you who are more linear thinkers, this plan takes you through the 66 books of the Bible as they occurred chronologically. This approach forms more of a sequence of understandable events, but it does require some skipping around because the books of the Bible were not complied in chronological order.
- Children’s One-Year Bible
Some of you that have had difficulty reading may find a Children’s Bible just the answer to you. They are more highly edited, yet still contain the main points. The One-Year Children’s Bible is available here. Other good children’s Bibles are available here or here. Please understand there is no guilt or shame implied if using a Children’s Bible is the right fit for you.
There are a number of websites to which you can subscribe to receive a daily reminder of the verses to read every day.
Before you jump headlong into any reading, say a simple prayer. Every time you pray, you acknowledge dependence upon and faith in Jesus. After all, he wrote the book, and spending time with him reading it is his idea. Keep it really simple, like, “Lord, speak to me as I approach you through your word today.”
And so I approach it, not with the belief that more time in it means I master it, but that I am engaging in the search and questions. For example, in today’s reading in Genesis 2, when God forbade Adam and Eve from eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, did this mean that evil was already present in his original good creation, or would it become evil when/if they disobeyed. Hmmm.
Frankly, it is not realistic to expect the Bible to answer all of our questions or settle every issue or solve every complex problem. Rather than a how-to manual for life, let’s lean into this life-long journey of gleaning wisdom and courage from an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a better person of faith today.
- Use an easily readable translation
We recommend the New Living translation. However, you could also use the New International Version, the New American Standard, the Contemporary English Translation, or The Message.
- Have a writing utensil in your hand
You will not defile the Bible if you highlight or underline! Your comprehension will skyrocket if you actually underline or circle or highlight because it causes you to focus and reread!
- Have a notebook or journal accessible
Simply use something that allows you to make notes to yourself, write questions, jot observations, and interact with the text. I prefer a spiral bound notebook, but you could use a bound journal, a notepad, or your laptop or tablet to record your thoughts.
- Read at the same place and time
I think there is real merit to try reading the Bible in the same place at the same time every day. This routine is helpful in establishing a habit.
Sin to confess?
Promise to claim?
Attitude to change?
Command to obey?
Example to follow?
Prayer to pray?
Error to avoid?
Truth to believe?
Something to praise God for?
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)