We're getting ready to turn the calendar and on most of our lists or resolutions is to start a daily Bible reading habit. This is a good thing. What better discipline to develop as a believer than to desire to sit at the feet of Jesus daily and hear from Him through His Word and for us to speak to Him through prayer.We're getting ready to turn the calendar and on most of our lists or resolutions is to start a daily Bible reading habit.
Picking a Plan:
There are so many options out there of various Bible reading plans, and Justin Taylor, Michelle Lesley, and Ligonier have helpful lists but please remember there is no perfect Bible reading plan out there you just need to pick one and use the plan you choose.Please remember there is no perfect Bible reading plan out there you just need to pick one and use the plan you choose.
I'm going to use the plan by Robert Murray M'Cheyne this year using this Bible along with D.A. Carson's book For the Love of God, Volume 2. My husband and I went through Volume One of Carson's book a couple of years ago.
Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same. ~ Jonathan Edwards
Making the Time:
So, you've picked the plan and gathered the resources you will need to sit with Jesus daily. Now you need to make the time.
The time just won't happen on its own. You need to plan. I'm naturally a morning person, so this one is easy for me. Maybe you want to read in the morning so you may need to set your alarm 20 minutes earlier to get up and make time to read. You may do better mid-morning or afternoon or evening. You need to determine this and get it on the schedule to make it happen. Good habits don't just occur by accident they take discipline to develop but are worth it long term.
When this habit becomes part of your day is the moment it turns as John Piper would say, from “duty to delight.”
I have found it helpful to begin my day by systematically reading the Bible and giving God the opportunity to direct my attention to certain truths. These truths become the springboard to begin speaking to the Lord. ~ Bill Thrasher
Keeping track of your reading is helpful to see where you've read and what you've missed from year to year. If you use the same Bible, take the time to mark the date or make some kind of note (or highlight) of the chapters you've read.
If you're comfortable writing in your bible, mark notes or reflections or prayers in the margins, there are some great journaling bibles available if you'd like more room to do this.
If you'd like to keep a journal along with your reading instead of making notes in your bible read this post on Elisabeth Elliot's Hints for a Quiet Time.
The other reality is you're probably going to fall behind. If it's just a day, you may desire to catch up but if it's more than a day I recommend from experience to just start on the current days reading. This is where marking the chapters read comes in handy. You can see your progress from year to year, and in a few years, you will have read every chapter and verse. Don't quit friend, just pick it back up and keep going. You'll be glad you did.
Reviewing the notes and reflections you've made over the years is encouraging to see where the Lord has been at work in your life and to see your spiritual growth.
The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives. ~ D.L. Moody
Praying the Word:
You can incorporate your prayer time right in your daily reading by praying through the Word. Two good resources to read on this are Donald Whitney's book, Praying the Bible and D.A. Carson's, Praying with Paul.
Learn to distill what a passage is saying, and pray it back to the Lord—whether in petition, thanksgiving, praise, or frank uncertainty. In time your Bible reading will so be linked with your praying that the two will not always be differentiable.” ~ D.A. Carson, For the Love of God, Volume 1
Benefits of Reading the Word:
I want to share two verses we recite together as a church family before we delve into our scripture memory verses each week:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. ~ Colossians 3:16
How are we continually filled with the Spirit? By letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. This is a choice we will make to determine to let God's Word fill our minds and hearts. It is a diligent, prayerful reading of the Bible.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ~ Psalm 119:11
It doesn't get any simpler than this verse. We take the treasured gift of God's Word, keep it in our hearts by reading, studying and meditating on it, and the outcome is we will not sin against Him.
No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture… Therefore if we would know God and be Godly, we must know the Word of God intimately. ~ Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life