By: Logan Bennett
I've read blog after blog condemning Christians for a lack of Bible reading. Startling statistic after startling statistic about the number times the normal Christian could read through the Bible in a year attempt to shame the reader into dedicated time in the Word. These statistics have their place, and I certainly believe the lack of Bible intake in professing Christians today is serious sin needing to be repented of. Unfortunately, many articles on this subject stop here. They start with shame, end with guilt and never offer any aid. In this short blog, I want to provide a few simple methods that can increase both the quality and quantity of your Biblical intake.
Note: These ideas are not original to me. Most of these concepts have been gleaned from Donald S. Whitney's book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.
Read in Multiple Books
Year after year I see Christians begin their Bible reading plan to chronologically travel through the Bible and fizzle out somewhere between Leviticus and Deuteronomy. These books are absolutely beautiful and play a huge role in redemptive history. They are part of the full inspired counsel of God. I encourage you to read them and read them again. And there is nothing wrong with Bible reading plans that begin in Genesis and work through Revelation. However, I encourage people to read in multiple places of the Bible at once. At the least one book of the Old Testament and one book of the New Testament. Every day if you will resolve to read multiple chapters of at least one book from both the New and Old Testament it will help with seeing how the Old and New Testament work together in telling the most wonderful story ever told. Begin with books of relatively the same length so that you finish them at roughly the same time (ex. Luke and Joshua). The variety of different books will help with reading fatigue.
Chances are there is an unused or slightly used notebook somewhere in your home. If not you can buy them fairly cheap, or if you are a nerd like me you can spend some money on a journaling Bible. I encourage people at the least to read in two different places in the Bible, but I will usually encourage them to read from three. Read through multiple chapters of two books daily, and then pick another book that you study more in depth at your own pace. This is where you will be doing most of your journaling. As you work your way through the other two books you will make notes, and mark things of significance, but in the book that you study more in-depth is where your primary meditation and biblical meditation will take place. Journaling will help retain what you've read. Journaling doesn't allow us to swiftly read over scripture and forget what we’ve read twenty minutes later. Journaling prevents what we've read from running through one ear and out the other like water through a pipe; leaving little residue for a moment but quickly evaporating. Instead, journaling forces us to think about what we've read, make notes, connect dots, and write God's word on our hearts.
Don't just Read before Bed
I'm not saying don't read your Bible before bed. I'm not even discouraging it. I'll even encourage it! There is never a bad time to read God's word! So, if you want to read before bed, read before bed. I just want to encourage you not to only read the Bible before bed. If reading the Bible before bed is the only time you read your Bible it becomes dangerously easy for a day to go by and your Bible never be opened. Spending time in God's word is easily sacrificed due to a long day at work, a little league baseball game that went into 3 extra innings, an argument with a loved one, or anything else physically, emotionally, or spiritually taxing. When these situations arise, the temptation is to skip the Bible and go straight for the bed. Donald Whitney gives two excellent reasons why Christians should discipline ourselves to find time in the day to read our Bibles besides just before bed.
“If possible, read the Bible at a time other than just before you go to sleep...There are at least two reasons for this. First, you will retain very little of what you read when you're so tired and sleepy. And second, you probably do very little evil when you sleep. You need to encounter Christ in the Scriptures when it will still have an impact on your day.”
– Donald S. Whitney
We must approach God's Word as just that, the very Word of God. It is worthy of our diligence and discipline. It is our nourishment (Matthew. 4:4) and our delight. It is our delight (Psalm 119:14).