If you’re like me, you generally start the new year off with a bang. You’ve got goals. And you’re going to crush them.
Then a couple of months pass, March pops up out of nowhere, and some of your goals are collecting dust back in the third week of January. This year I was determined to keep one goal no matter what: read the Bible through in a year.
Some years I’ve tried to quickly get through it as if it were a big, ugly task on my to-do list that I needed to knock out. I’ve often failed to read it through after getting discouraged when I inevitably fall behind. Or, I’ve gotten frustrated with myself for viewing it as a checklist item, right along with laundry and meal-planning, and stopped my reading plan to dive deep into a Bible study. I could go on and on, but if there has been a reason for quitting my Bible reading plan, I’ve most likely thought of it before. Ha!
But, as I’ve said, this year I wanted it to be different. I didn’t want to face the same old tired thought processes or fall prey to the same old tired temptations. (The enemy sure does like to hit us with the same ones over and over!)
So this year I’ve implemented some new additions to my routine, and it has made all the difference. If you would like some fresh ideas for your Bible reading time, read below!
1. Check Your Motivations
If we are firmly rooted in why we’re doing something, that motivation will help us when it gets hard.
If we are reading the Bible because it’s something we feel like we “have” to do as a Christian, the passion can quickly wear out. If we’re doing it as just another line item in our checklist, we’re relegating it to the same position as housecleaning and bill paying.
Yet, if we’re doing it as a way to get closer to God, the daily task becomes a joy. God is infinitely knowable: we can never run out of things to learn about Him. We could never read enough to exhaust the knowledge of His greatness.
Pray that God clears your heart of any motivation except to reach His heart. Then when it becomes hard or you feel those old feelings of defeat or condemnation, go back to your “why.” Ask God to refresh your Bible reading time and show you a new piece of Himself that day in your reading. His desire is to show You His heart!
2. Tie It To A Routine
This may seem like the silliest of the items on the list, but it has been one of my biggest blessings this year!
For the past couple months, I have tied my Bible reading to my morning coffee. I don’t always read my Bible in the mornings, but as I prepare and brew my coffee I think back to the reading from the day before. I think about a verse that stood out to me, then I meditate on it for a bit.
Now, this is where the silly part comes in. Nearly every morning I post my morning coffee pour on Instagram and include my verse for the day. I post just a couple of sentences about what that verse or passage is speaking to me. I do feel a bit odd bringing Instagram Stories into a blog post about Bible reading, but it is what it is. Ha! The daily habit of posting it has encouraged me, and I’ve enjoyed creating the posts and sharing my heart. It also has this added benefit of accountability as I have a few friends reading the same Bible plan, and we often discuss our thoughts on Instagram.
That morning time has become so meaningful to me, and I’ve enjoyed choosing which verse stands out to me above the rest.
Linking your Bible reading to something already in your routine will help keep it fresh in your mind. Thoughtfully pray about how you can tie the Bible in to different points throughout your day. Maybe you would enjoy reading it during lunch, writing your favorite verse from the passage while your children do homework, or making a cup of tea and reading your passage before bedtime. You’re communing with the Most High God. I promise you that it will make your routines feel so much more lovely!
3. Plan Catch-Up Times
Make a plan for what to do if you fall behind. This has been one of my biggest stumbling blocks in the past. I would fall behind, get discouraged that I ruined it, and then stop. Has anyone else been there? However, setting up a plan ahead of time is a great way to keep yourself accountable!
I like to use Sundays to catch up. I *struggled* through parts of Leviticus and needed to regularly use my Sundays to keep myself on schedule. Maybe you could choose a day of the week, a date in the month, or another set point to remind yourself to catch up.
4. Lean Into The Discipline
Most days reading the Bible is full of light and glory and feels like an arrow of hope shot straight into my heart. Some days it feels like a hard task; I struggle to keep my mind focused, and it doesn’t seem enjoyable. Instead of beating myself up that I’m not “spiritual enough” to enjoy the begats, I’ve learned to recognize that this is part of the process.
Reading the Bible daily is a discipline. Reading the intricacies of sacrifices and temple details and genealogies will be tougher to get through than reading the Psalms or the gospels. Yet, we are doing this to draw closer to God--to learn more about Him--to search out the infinitely knowable. We don’t just want the lovely, easily digestible parts. We want every part.
Lean into the discipline of reading His Word even when it is tough. Know that God is working something into your heart behind the scenes. Every word you read is a step closer to His heart. Every verse shines a bit more light into Who He is and what He wants His people to know about Him. Every book reveals His nature.
Lean in, taste and see, and soak up His Word, dear friend. It is so worth it.
5. Add Variety
There isn’t one way to read the Bible--there are so many amazing options out there! This year I’m reading through in a different translation than normal, and it has been so fun to see the verses in a different light. My daughters are listening to the Bible through a speaker in their room each night. You can use a journaling Bible and make notes as you read or buy a special notebook to record your thoughts.
If your reading feels stale, just switch up what you are doing to add some variety!
It is also great to change up the way you read your Bible. Have your daily Bible reading plan, but you can also have a Bible study that you are doing simultaneously. Some days you just want to marinate in a verse or chapter, you know? Have options for your time with Him!
These are just a few things that have been a blessing to me as I’m working on my consistency in Bible reading. If you have some tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments on social media!
No matter how, where, or when you read the Word, I pray that God speaks to you in a new way this year.