Have you ever subscribed to a reading plan on your Bible app and not finished it?
Do you ever get frustrated reading the Old Testament and just put the Bible down?
Do you skip Leviticus every year?
Does the thought of reading the entire Bible overwhelm you?
Do you find yourself not wanting to read at all?
If you’re like me, you might be a little discouraged after answering those questions. But don’t quit reading, it’s about to get better. I want to answer two general questions; why do we struggle with reading the Bible and what can you do about it.
I have subscribed to several plans on my Bible app and have probably finished three. I always just said maybe it’s that I’m not big on technology when it comes to Bible reading and study. I’m sure you have been in conversations like I have where something like the following has been said. “I just can’t find the time to read the Bible”, “It’s boring”, “I don’t understand it” and probably many other reasons as to why many of us don’t read our Bibles.
Pastors have preached series on how to study the Bible, how to get the most out of reading your Bible and plenty of books, articles and blog posts have been written discussing the topic. I’m definitely not saying anything ground breaking today but I do want to ask a question many of us don’t want to ask ourselves, Why do I struggle with reading the Bible?
Many would say they don’t have time but the reality is all of us make time for things we don’t have time for, we’re all experts at rearranging our schedules. There are parts of the Bible we will never fully understand this side of heaven and there are other parts we can gain understanding of with a little more time put in.
Maybe the foundational issue with the struggle to read the Bible isn’t about a lack of time or not understanding the text. What if it’s as simple as we never trained ourselves? Think about this, depending on when you became a Christian you may have years of established routine behind you. Bible reading isn’t part of that routine and when you’re first trying to fit it in, you’re probably going to miss some days. Chances are, when that happened you got discouraged and started to feel guilty as time went on the habit of reading the Bible never took hold.
You may be thinking, duh, everyone knows you have to develop the habit. The problem is, most of us don’t take time to develop the habit and that’s what the rest of this post is about.
I know lots of people start with the Gospel of John or jump into reading the Bible through in a year but I think one of the most helpful ways to understand the Bible is by going through the book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders. Spending fifteen minutes everyday going through this workbook will give you a really good overview of the Bible. When you have a good overview of the Bible it will help you when you take the next step of reading the Bible through in a year.
Now, in reading through the Bible in a year I encourage you to use a physical Bible that you can write in and take notes, maybe even leave your phone in the other room to help you focus on your reading.
The Christian Standard Bible has an edition called the He Reads Truth Bible that I just got and I think it would be a great resource in getting to know your Bible. It has wide margins, book introductions, key Scriptures, charts, maps and two Bible reading plans. One plan takes you through the Bible in a year and each book has its own week by week reading plan with a going deeper section. A friend of mine has the She Reads Truth Bible, instead of charts and maps it includes devotions and she really likes it and enjoys the space for notes. I definitely recommend them to help you get into the Word.
It’s also helpful to use multiple translations such as the Christian Standard Bible, English Standard Version and New Living Translation (for devotional reading and clarity).
After you have done the 30 day overview and read through the Bible in a year I suggest studying through the New Testament one book at a time. This takes about three years and a couple of months. The idea is to spend a month in each book (splitting larger books equally over several months) to help you go deeper into understanding Jesus and the Christian life. I actually just started the three year plan and will be making and updating it monthly with resources I’m using to study. I will also be adding things to my Instagram stories during my studies.
As simple as it sounds, developing a pattern of Bible reading is the key. Set aside a specific time each day and stick with it. Take thirty days and go through the workbook then read through the Bible in a year and then deep dive into the New Testament over the course of three years.
I know that sounds like a lot, just take it one day at a time. I hope this has helped encourage you to develop a daily habit of reading the Bible and that the suggestions given will be useful in your walk with the Lord.