It is a sad fact that American Christians spend little time reading the Bible. They make excuses such as, “I don’t like to read,” “I don’t have enough time,” or “It’s too hard to understand.” They fail to make it a priority or give it the time and attention it deserves. It is as if they expect to all of a sudden and automatically begin reading it someday.
Reading the Bible is a habit to be formed; it requires discipline and persistence. If you are willing to develop this habit, God will reward your efforts. He will use your time in His Word to grant you deeper intimacy with Him and greater insight into His will for your life. You can read the Bible every day; here’s how:
Find a Version
There are many English versions of the Bible; they range from strict, word-for-word translations to loose paraphrases. Find a version that is easy and natural for you to read. A popular version is called The Story. It contains selections from the New International Version arranged in chronological order to tell the Bible as one seamless story.
Find a Plan
We tend to read what the Bible says about certain subjects or topics that interest us. But unless you have read the entire Bible, it is best to follow a reading plan that will help you become familiar with all of its contents. Bible reading plans abound. Find one that requires a reasonable pace and amount of reading that will increase your knowledge of the Bible.
You will not understand everything that you read in the Bible; it is essential that you build a library of simple, helpful resources. Bible resources include charts, maps, timelines, geographies, dictionaries, articles, concordances, and commentaries. A Bible Handbook, Study Bible, or software program/application will contain many of these features.
A teacher can give guidance, answer questions, and help when you get stuck. There are pastors, elders, and volunteers in the church who are gifted and sometimes trained to teach. Small-group studies often include teaching segments from a DVD. Sermons are available online, on the radio, or from podcasts. Sit regularly under the teaching of someone who explains the Bible clearly and in all its fullness.
Bible reading doesn’t just happen. You could find a readable version, a realistic plan, useful resources, and skillful teachers and still not read the Bible. Ultimately, it’s up to you; you will either read it or you won’t. There will be days when you forget, when you choose not to, or when you don’t feel like it. But don’t quit! The more you read the Bible, the more enjoyable and productive it will be. Remember that it is a habit to be formed like any other habit; it takes determination and commitment.
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