You’re probably familiar with the seemingly never-ending cycle of feeling guilty for not reading your Bible, so you avoid it as if you’re avoiding the wrath of God, which in turn makes you feel even guiltier, and so on and so forth. Some of you may even feel like it’s been so long you wouldn’t know how to start if you even tried. If this sounds familiar, I have some encouragement for you today. You’re certainly not alone in your struggle to read the Word of God.
All it takes to break that cycle of guilt is to open up your Bible and dive right in. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit guiding us, which means we have the ability to understand scripture, as well as the ability to ask for and receive forgiveness.
If you’re ready to get back on track with reading your Bible but don’t know where to start, I have a few helpful tips.
1. Have a Plan
The first step is to have a plan. A lot of us have good intentions to study the Bible more but rarely do we make it more than a few weeks before falling into the same pattern of not reading our Bible.
Part of the issue is not having a plan. Saying you want to read the Bible more and making an intention to read it “at some point in the day,” often ends in disappointment. Instead, plan out the time, location, and duration of your Bible study. Maybe you’re a morning person who wants to start the day off with 15 minutes in the Bible. Maybe you’re like me and it takes all of your energy just to get out of bed in the morning. In which case, plan for a few minutes of your lunch break or before bed.
Remember, you don’t have to jump right into an hour of Bible study right away, and in fact, I wouldn’t suggest this. If you’re currently not doing any Bible study and suddenly have to find an extra hour in your day, you’ll probably get discouraged and stop after a week. Instead, start with 10 or 15 minutes a day and work your way up.
2. Do a Topical Study
Now that you have a plan in place, let’s get down to the Bible study! If you’re just getting back into the habit of doing daily devotions or if you’ve never been consistent with your devotions, I’d suggest starting off with a topical study. This can be something like baptism, the Holy Spirit, women in the Bible, or the names of God. Check out this list of Bible study plans from Ebible!
3. Go Through a Book of the Bible
If you’re ready to take your study a little deeper, you can pick a book of the Bible to go through. These kinds of studies are usually a little more intense, especially if you’re going through an Old Testament book with a lot of historical contexts to consider.
Going book by book is a great way to incorporate some discipline into your study, as there will be parts of the book you’ll likely want to skip. However, I think you’ll find even these difficult to navigate passages are full of little gems you might have missed.
4. Take Notes
This is key to getting the most out of your Bible study! Taking notes is not only a great way to cement what you’ve learned in your mind and heart, but you’ll have your notes for future reference.
There are lots of ways to take notes. You can make an outline of the passage you’re reading, copy down certain verses word for word, or even rewrite important paragraphs in your own words to help you understand them better.
If you want more of a challenge, you can study the words and phrases in the Bible, going back to the original Greek or Hebrew. There are other study materials that can help deepen your study, such as concordances and commentaries.
5. Be Consistent
One of the most important things you can do to help solidify your new Bible study is to be consistent. This means not only taking time to be in the Word every day, but keep to the same schedule and plan in step one.
If you decided to have 15 minutes of prayer and Bible reading at your kitchen table in the morning with a cup of coffee, then stick to that plan! When you’re first starting out building any habit, consistency is key. You’d be surprised at how helpful it is to have an established time, place, and goal for your Bible reading.
I hope this has been an encouragement for those struggling to form a daily habit of spending time with God!
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