In May of 2008 I was inconsistent with my Bible reading at best. I’ve already recounted some of that story in a previous post, but suffice to say that I was too proud and too lazy to read the Bible every day.
One day I challenged myself to see how many days in a row I could read the Bible. A week went by, then a month, then 6 months, then a year, and now, by God’s grace, it’s been a full decade of reading the Bible every single day. I don’t write this post from the mountaintop looking down on everyone else wishing they would come up here with me. I write this from the perspective of a Christian, husband, father of 5, and a pastor who still wrestles with the flesh. I am need of the Lord’s grace and reminders of His glorious gospel on a daily basis.
Therefore, what I want to do in this post is to encourage and challenge readers to be daily, habitual, bible readers. I hope to offer some things I’ve learned along the way that will hopefully help you on this journey of knowing Christ more fully.
Before I offer my reflections, let me say this: We are tremendously blessed with Bibles in the English language.
There are arguments about what is the “best” English translation, and I get that. There are translations that are better than others. And while I don’t prefer translations like the New Living, I still say a day in the NLT is better than a day in the NOT (as in not reading).
The gist here is that the access Americans have to a Bible is unhindered. The internet, cell phones, and bookstores have a vast array of Bibles that are free, almost free, or worth the investment. Don’t get so caught up in a translation debate (which I do agree is worth having) that you simply fail to read.
So, with that being said, here are 5 reflections from 10 years of Daily Bible Reading. There’s so much more that could be said! But here’s a few thoughts for today: (and I’m supposed to keep this under 1200 words!)
Actually, it’s too easy. With such access to God’s Word it’s so easy to read it every day that sometimes you might find yourself “doing it just to do it.” There have been days over the last decade that I have sadly done that. By God’s grace, there have been days that I have picked up the Bible with that mentality only to have God grip my heart by His Word and lead me out of that state.
You see, some people argue “Well, I don’t want to read the Bible just to read it.” And I get that. And that’s good. But if you are in that state, what do you think might pull you out of it? That’s right: the Bible. You may expose yourself to God’s Word with the wrong motivations, but it’s through that very exposure to His Word that He may just alter your heart!
There is no real excuse that we can offer for not picking up the Bible and reading it every day.
There is Not a One Size Fits All Plan
Bible reading plans are great. But if your friend is reading 10 chapters a day, that doesn’t mean you have to do that too. Start with a chapter or two. Find a book like Philippians or 1 John and read it over and over again. Read a chapter or two a day until you’re finished and start over. Keep doing that until you know the book.
For others, you might want to read the Bible cover to cover every year. I’m in this camp (although I also mix in the above with it). You can start in Genesis 1:1 and read every day until you make it all the way to Revelation 22:21. Or you can use various plans out there. M’Cheyne’s is a good one. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the Discipleship Journal Plan over the years. There’s also a helpful iPhone app out there that you can use for keeping a record of where you are at.
But the most important thing is to read. Don’t let the plethora of plans distract you from what’s most important: getting in God’s Word daily.
Other Spiritual Disciplines are Greatly Benefited by Daily Reading
Particularly I will highlight meditation, memorization, and prayer. You might be surprised how much you can memorize and meditate on simply by reading the Bible every day. I am not suggesting that extra time should not be spent in these disciplines because I think it should (see here). But many Christians could get a very healthy dose of these disciplines simply by reading the Bible with intention every day. Don’t just breeze through to get through but pick a verse or two in your reading to meditate on. You will be surprised how much will stick in your mind and heart.
Also, prayer should be fueled by Scripture. We are never more praying in line with God’s will than when we are praying His Word back to Him. Reading the Bible every day helps us to be robustly biblical in our prayers.
You Will Find God when You Seek Him in His Word
If anyone were to ever ask me what is “the key” to growing in the Lord, I would hands down tell them that it is daily exposure to Scripture. Daily. Every single day. Seek the Lord in His Word and what you will find is that you will find Him!
The Bible is a beautiful book. It is a fascinating book. It is a living book. And it is a book that points us to the glories of a God who is worthy of our worship and delight. In fact, one of the reasons you need to read the Bible every day is because you need the Bible to read you every day! You need the Holy Spirit to use it in uncovering your sins and failures so that He will then lead you to repentance and point you to Jesus from the very pages you are reading.
You Can Do It, and a Journal Can Help
You really can read the Bible every day. I’ve been in situations where I was working multiple jobs but still able to read every day. One reason was because I had accountability in a journal. I didn’t want a day to go by where I had to miss writing down the chapters I had read. That may sound silly to some, but the accountability really helps me.
Buy yourself an inexpensive journal and keep track of your reading. Write a few thoughts down from what you read or what’s going on in your life. When you finish one journal, start another. You’ll be amazed to see how God has grown you through daily Bible reading over the years. You really can do it. And it’s worth it. Start today. Start now. I’d rather you read the Bible every day of your life than I would have you read another blog post from me!
Soli Deo Gloria.