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For many Christians, reading the Bible consistently is a challenge.
In 2017, the American Bible Society reported that only 20% of Americans read their Bibles at least four times each week. This means that 80% of Americans read Scripture less frequently than that, if at all.
But God says his words are like food—“Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3). And no human can survive without food. If we’re not eating, we starve.
And if we aren’t feeding on God’s Word consistently, so will our souls.
Read Your Bible, Feed Your Soul
When our newborn baby entered the world, everything changed—especially our sleep patterns. There were mornings when my husband and I struggled to peel ourselves out of bed to meet with the Lord in his Word. But the struggle was worth it. Most mornings, we fought the temptation to keep sleeping (only by God’s grace) and were extremely grateful we did, as it meant starting our day in communion with him through Scripture and prayer.
It meant feeding our souls.
Hearing God speak through our Bibles was a game-changer for us:
- He hid his Word in our hearts and would bring it to mind by his Spirit.
- He renewed our minds, setting them on eternal matters, and gave us eyes to see through this perspective moment-by-moment.
- He gave us his armor to help us fight sin and temptation.
- He reminded us that Christ is our highest joy and our most valued treasure.
I’ve heard it said, you don’t remember every meal you’ve eaten, but the meals you’ve eaten have sustained you. We may not recall every Scripture we’ve read, but God sustains our trust in him as we choose to consistently feed on his Word.
14 Ideas to Make Your Reading More Consistent
There’s no one way to open Scripture—everybody’s devotional time will look different—but there is a right way to pursue it: consistently.
As you seek God in his Word, ask him to give you an ever-deepening desire for this pursuit. Ask him to help you put away the distractions of tiredness, tasks, and trivialities. Ask him for eyes to see the glory of Christ in Scripture, and for ears to hear the good news of the gospel in everything you read.
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Then, commit to reading every day—even if only for five minutes at first—and pursue specific ways to make this reading a habit. Here are several ideas for you, in no particular order:
1. Put your phone away!
Our phones are wonderful tools, but can be incredibly distracting. Leave your phone in another room while you read so you aren’t tempted to check messages or scroll social media.
2. Get a new Bible.
A brand new Bible can be a great motivator to build a reading habit. With clean pages, you have a fresh template on which to mark up passages, take notes, and apply what you read.
3. Use helpful tools.
On a similar note, helpful tools can also motivate regular reading. Bleedless pens (like Micron), colored pencils, commentaries, Scripture journals, and Bible software (like Logos) promote active reading.
4. Schedule it.
Scheduling your Bible reading can seem cold and heartless. But don’t we schedule what’s important to us, like family outings, dates with our spouses, and our kids’ school events? Our delight in people motivates this—how much more our delight in God? Schedule your Bible reading time as a divine appointment you don’t want to miss.
5. Read in the same place every day.
A habit sticks the stickier we make it, so choose one location for your Bible reading. For me, this is the couch in our living room. Perhaps for you it’s on the train as you commute to work, during nap time, or at your kitchen table. You’ll be less likely to skip your time of communion with the Lord if it’s in the same place every day.
6. Remove distractions.
Besides your phone, what distracts you from reading Scripture? Is it the laundry pile? The dirty dish tower? Your full inbox and schedule? The research paper due next week? Whatever the task, it will be there after your Bible reading is done, and you’ll be more likely to engage with these tasks in a Godward manner as a result of temporarily setting them aside.
7. Start small.
It can be easy, especially for Type-A personalities, to immediately go full-throttle. But it’s important not to overreach, or you risk falling behind and feeling defeated (unless it’s most helpful for you to go full-throttle!). Start with what you know you can handle: Read five minutes a day the first week; 10 minutes a day the second week; and 15 minutes a day the third week. Increase your reading time each week until you get into a routine that works for you.
8. Join/complete a Bible study.
I’ve found that going through a guided Bible study helps me stay consistent in God’s Word. You might join a group through your church, or choose a study to do by yourself.
9. Sign up for daily devotional emails.
Be intentional about reading throughout the day by signing up for a devotional or two online. You’re more likely to sow God’s Word into your heart if you read these as they arrive in your inbox, rather than intending to read them later. Some of my favorites are LifeKEYS, Solid Joys, and Morning and Evening.
10. Ask for accountability.
Who might you ask to check in with you every so often about how your Bible reading is going? Recruit a trusted friend in the Lord to routinely ask you about your time in Scripture.
11. Use a Bible reading plan.
Similar to choosing the right tools, a reading plan can help you form a regular habit of opening your Bible. There’s no pressure to complete the plan in a year, as most of them encourage (mine has taken me three years to finish!). But a plan will give you guidance through Scripture and prevent the discouragement that can come from feeling lost in possibilities.
12. Involve your family.
While time alone with the Lord is important, family Bible reading is another eternally significant habit to form. Read a verse or passage of Scripture during dinnertime; read to your kids before bed; or invite them to sit with you as your read in the morning.
13. Sit under sound, biblical preaching.
What does this have to do with reading your Bible consistently? Everything. You will learn from your pastor how to study your Bible as you listen to him unfold God’s Word each weekend. Take note of how he comprehends, interprets, and applies the text, and ask God to help you do this each day when you read.
14. Remember God’s grace.
Whether you spent five minutes or five hours in God’s Word yesterday, or you didn’t make it into Scripture at all, God’s grace in Jesus Christ has the final say on your acceptance in his sight.
His grace covers you when you forget, fail, and choose other pursuits—but he doesn’t intend to leave you there. The promise of his grace is to change your heart and therefore your desires, through the blood-bought, finished work of his Son. And the outcome of this grace is consistent communion with God in his Word, for the praise and glory of Jesus Christ and your highest joy.