My first attempt at a Bible reading plan was in 6th grade. Until then, I'd never read the Bible on a consistent basis. But when our funny, energetic, and all-around-cool youth pastor stood up and asked who wanted to read the entire Bible together over the summer, mine was one of the first hands in the air.
I remember pouring over the aggressive plan to read for an hour every day and feeling confident about all the check marks I was going to put in those little boxes that coincided with each day of the week.
Day 1 and 2 were a little harder than I imagined. Some of the words were hard to pronounce and understanding them wasn't any easier. But the stories were interesting. Although, I did wonder why my parents always fast-forwarded through the scenes where the couple was getting too affectionate on screen when that kind of stuff seemed to be all over the Bible.
By Day 3, my eyes started to blur when I tried to focus on the small print. I found myself shaking my head to stay awake and eventually, woke up in a daze with my cheek pressed against the pages and drool hanging from my mouth.
It was years later before I attempted another Bible reading plan. But thankfully, I did. Spending time with God by reading His Word is a practice that has opened my eyes to the relationship He wants to have with me and given me the tools I need to become the person He designed me to be.
While it might sound dramatic, my habit of reading the Bible every day has been life transforming. I believe it will be that same way for you. With full confidence, I can tell you that this year will exceed all your expectations if you devote yourself to not just reading the Bible but letting it read you.
Like a vehicle that transports us to our destination, the Bible takes us on a journey of drawing closer to God and understanding His plan for our lives.
If you're ready to make this the year you become passionate about reading your Bible then these practical steps will help you along the way:
1. Choose a Bible Reading Plan
YouVersion has some great reading plans. You can choose one based on a topic or go through the Bible in a year. I tend to do a combination of both depending on the season I'm in. Here's a couple of great options to check out...
Help Me! I Need to Change My Life (a 7-day plan)
All Things New (a 15-day plan)
2. Choose a time
Don't do what I did and try to tackle an hour right off the bat. Instead, work on developing the habit of being consistent every day. You might start with 20 minutes so you have time to read and journal a few thoughts.
Having a set time also helps. I read my Bible as soon as I wake up and make myself a cup of coffee. Other people I know read just before going to bed so that the last thing they think about before drifting to sleep is the Word of God.
The important thing is finding what works for you.
3. Create a group
YouVersion offers the ability to connect with friends, share what you're reading, and encourage each other. Grab a couple friends and go to another level in your relationship with God, together!
4. Get a new Bible
If you've never owned a physical Bible, now's a good time to start. There's something about being able to highlight and make notes in the margin that feels personal. And I love reading back through my Bibles to see the things that stood out to me over the years.
5. Don't give up! If you miss a day, just pick up again tomorrow and keep going.
At some point, we all face discouragement in developing this habit. Whether it's reading passages that are hard to understand or bumping up against things that convict us and call for a change in our lives, it's easy to let the difficult parts stop us in our tracks. Stay focused on the destination of drawing closer to God and it will help motivate you to not get off track on the journey.
2018 is going to be a great year! Remember to join us for our current sermon series, It Is Written, on Sundays during the month of January to be further inspired in your Bible reading.