How are you doing on your daily Bible reading this year?
Hear me through. Don’t click out on me yet. Because I’m not doing so well myself.
Maybe you don’t want to talk about it because, the truth is, you are woefully behind. You’re following one of those “Read through the Bible in a year” programs, you’re supposed to midway through the New Testament, and you’re still stuck somewhere in Jeremiah. Or Leviticus.
Maybe, like me, your gut fills with guilt every time you read the Bible. Guilt that you aren’t getting anything out of your reading. Ashamed because you know your mindset. You’re reading just to get through the prescribed chapters for the day and that’s all you are doing – reading.
Let me ease your anxiety and mine. Maybe the problem is not you, but the method you are using. It may not be the right approach for you at this time.
Find the Daily Bible Reading Plan that works best for you.
Let’s look at eight approaches to daily Bible reading and the pros and cons to each method.
Read Through The Bible in a Year
- Pros: Gives the big picture of the Bible message.
- Cons: Too big of a daily chunk to absorb, understand, and apply.
Easy to lose interest and not remember what you’ve read.
- Solution: Try a Read the Bible Through In A Year program that has you reading from several sections of the Bible at a time. Read the Old Testament section and a Psalm in the morning, then a portion of the New Testament in the evening.
Don’t feel you have to do this plan every year. Choose to do another type of daily Bible reading every other year. Keep reading for some suggestions.
Open the Bible at random and let the Holy Spirit guide you.
- Pros: Um, what can I say? The Holy Spirit can lead you but . . .
- Cons: Too easy to take verses out of context.
Too easy to be led by your emotions at the moment instead of the Holy Spirit.
- Solution: Yes, the Holy Spirit can use this method, but I wouldn’t depend on it for regular disciplined reading. Find yourself a more structured program where you are reading consecutive passages and searching for deeper understanding.
Life Application Method
Select a book. Read until something hits you and stop.
- Pros: Manageable chunks of Scripture.
Encourages you to personally engage with and apply the Scripture to daily life.
- Cons: Easy to base application only on what you are currently facing in your life.
Temptation to seek comfort, not conviction.
Some sections of the Bible are for understanding. Not every verse or section has a life application.
- Solution: This method is fine as long as you balance it with other kinds of Bible study. If you are getting theological teaching or big picture study through sermons, Sunday School, or your small group, this method might be best for you in your daily private reading. It fuels your tank for the day.
There are so many devotional guides out there. How do you choose? Shouldn’t you just be reading the Bible?
- Pros: If you are a new Christian, this is a great method to guide your thoughts on a single topic.
- Cons: If you are a new Christian, it’s tough to wisely choose which devotional guide is best.
- Solution: A good devotional guide should drive you toward the Bible, not away from it. Select a guide that gives you more than just one verse to read, asks questions, and references other passages on the topic within the text of the devotion. A good devotional will lead you to say, “The Bible says . . .” not, “Karen Wingate says . . .”
Bible study guides
- Pros: Gets you deeper into the Word of God on a particular topic.
Engages you in Scripture by asking questions.
- Cons: Time consuming
The quality depends on the study guide
- Solution: I have absolutely no problem using my quiet time to answer two or three questions a day for my small group Bible study. from the study guide. In fact, this is the method that works best for me. I don’t have the time or energy to devote one or two hours during my week to complete my small group preparation. This method gets me to think and apply what I’m reading in Scripture all week long and forces me to apply Scripture to my own life instead of thinking only how I will teach it to others.
Read the same passage of Scripture every day for a week. Record what you learn each day.
- Pros: Great for delving into more difficult passages of Scripture.
Divides study of weightier topics into more manageable chunks.
Avoids the “read it and forget it” temptation.
- Cons: Can get stuck without moving forward.
- Solution: Vary your study by reading the same passage in different versions of the Bible.
Read commentaries and study notes about the passage you are studying. Use other resources such as a Bible Atlas, Bible Dictionary, Manners and Customs of the Bible resource, or a word search resource such as Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament.
Choose a topic and read verses in the Bible that pertain to that topic.
- Pros: Great for learning about a subject you want to know more about.
- Cons: Time consuming. It’s easy to lose track of time.
- Solution: Keep a notebook. Using a concordance, spend one or two days writing down all the verses you can find on that topic. Then, during your daily Bible reading time, select two or three passages to read, recording what you learn from each verse. I recently did this method with the topics sight and light. What a wonderful study!.
Select a book. Before you start, ask questions you want answered.
Job: Who is the main character of Job? (It’s not what you think!) John: What evidence does John give to show Jesus is the Son of God?
- Pros: Makes reading intentional.
Narrow your focus and keeps you from reading haphazardly.
- Cons: Can get time consuming and go deep – but what’s wrong with that?
- Solution: Again, break your reading into manageable chunks. Read only a section, not an entire chapter. Keep notes brief.
Which method is best?
The one that is best for you at this moment. No Bible reading is bad; we just want to make it better. God promises that His Word will accomplish what He sends it to do. When you read the Bible, you plant the Word of God in your mind and soul which gives the Holy Spirit within you something to work with when you need that insight or verse. The important thing, no matter which method you choose, is that you just do it.
Looking for a digital reading plan? Check out these links:
What method of Bible reading do you currently use? Do you use a method other what we’ve covered here? A combination of several from the above list? Share in the comments below or on my Facebook page.