Ever wondered if it really matters whether or not you read your Bible? How to make time for it or even how to read your Bible? This is an important topic I think we skip over far too often. So lets unpack it a bit. *Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links which support this blog. You can find my full disclosure statement here.
For most of us, reading the Bible is one of those things we know we should do. We don’t need to debate the details, it just makes sense. Like comparing a bacon burger and french fries with a spinach salad, we don’t need a detailed dietary analysis to know which option is healthier for us. It’s fairly obvious.
Research seems to agree. According to a Barna Group poll, even in this mixed up and messy world we live in, 66% of Americans still agree that the Bible “contains everything you need to know to live a meaningful life”.
But there is one hang up – we don’t read it. Just like that spinach salad we pass over more often than not, knowing something is a wise choice and becoming committed to that wise choice are about 5 miles apart.
I want to crack that dilemma open a little bit by digging into why we should be reading our Bibles and then get practical with some ideas on how we can make this a priority and habit in our lives.
We need to remember who God is.
God does not change.
God is immutable, unchanging. I realize that is a bit of a weird word, but only because there are so few things in our world that we can even apply it to. Everything changes.
Recently I was thinking about how change is imminent and how often I just don’t like it. And I realized most of us don’t like it. We don’t always like the changing seasons or the changing algorithms on social media. We don’t like changes in government policy or leadership, changes in family dynamics, growing kids, and aging parents. Sure there are some favorable changes but the pendulum seems to just as quickly swing the other way and things are new, different, uncomfortable.
Could this tension, this discomfort, be because we are made to deeply know, be fully tethered, to the One who is unchanging?
Our hearts yearn for that kind of consistency. He is that consistency.
So what does that have to do with the Bible?
The God we read about in the ancient stories is 100% the same today. The God that led the Israelites out of captivity and answered Hannah’s prayers, the One who smote Sodom and Gammorah and stood beside some crazy brave men in a fiery furnace – those aren’t just old stories. That’s Him. Our very real, right now God.
Kind of crazy when you think about it, right? When I crack open my Bible and I get to meet Him.
I need to remember what God has done.
I recently read that the average attention span of Americans is 9 seconds. Isn’t that incredible? Part of me hates to believe it and the other part knows it is true. We cannot survive half a minute without a siren of notifications on our phone or watches. We cannot get gas without commercials entertaining us. We’ve trained our brains for continual input and giving our full attention to something is becoming harder than ever.
The same is true of our souls.
I often live high on the mountain top when life goes as I think it should but one sharp turn, one heavy dose of normal even, and I trip so easily. Not surprisingly, I am a short-sighted Israelite wondering if He brought me to the desert to die.
I desperately need to remember.
In the last year, the more I have read through scripture the more I am amazed by how the New Testament authors repeated those of the Old Testament. “For it is written” is a frequently repeated phrase. Just this morning I read Romans 9 and Paul was quoting from Genesis, Exodus, Hosea and Isaiah – all in one chapter! These men knew the Word. They soaked it up and repeated it when they had doubts and questions. They forced themselves to remember.
The Psalmist does this as well, recounting the events of the Exodus and remembering God’s faithfulness.
It’s a simple strategy, right? This is our God. This is what He has done. Pick up the Bible and be reminded.
I need to submit myself to Truth.
When I got married one of my first arguments with my new husband was how we should keep our butter. Yes, butter. He believed butter should be kept in the cupboard, while I was convinced that butter should be properly stored in the refrigerator. As is the case with most newlyweds, much of our reasoning was tied to the way our parents either did or did not do it. (Inquiring minds who like rabbit trails, our butter is properly stored in one of these today.)
We are quick to pass off tradition as truth.
How do we know Truth if we aren’t reading it, continually weighing our hearts and aligning them with the Word? We become susceptible to versions of the truth, spinoffs if you will.
It’s concerning to me how many “Christian” books today, how many social media scripture quotes and graphics don’t even align with scripture.
But how do we know Truth if we are not seeking it? There are a host of wonderful resources available to us today but none of them should replace our own careful reading of God’s Word. This is both our responsibility and our privilege.
We grow slow.
Four or five years ago I began to really think about the leading women in my life – the ones who were wise mentors, ones I considered prayer warriors, ones who seemed to have scripture on the tip of their tongues and lived it. How do I get there? I wondered. That kind of wisdom seemed unattainable.
I’m still working on the getting there part, but I can tell you this, nothing has changed my life and heart as much as faithfully being in the Word. Nothing.
It’s a process, a slow and quiet daily decision. It’s a mustard seed (Mark 5:31-32), but He meets me here. He himself is teaching me here. (Psalm 119:102).
If you are nodding your head and stilling reading, congratulations your attention span must be greater than the 9 second average! But often we are left with the question of how? How do I make time when I’m a busy mom? Where can I find time when I am tired and maxed out?
If this is something you want to make time for, the legacy you want for your life, here are a few ideas on how to make it happen.
Let go of your expectations.
I read this book this year and one of the opening recommendations is to cut your goals in half. Whatever you are trying to achieve just cut the whole thing in half. Brilliant.
Often we fail because we reach too far too fast. Start small; it is enough.
Put the power of habit to work for you.
Another great book on that here. Like exercising or eating well, once we form a habit loop it becomes easier to maintain. We see results and our motivation increases. The same is true of reading the Bible. We read, we learn and we grow. And the Holy Spirit meets us here! (Romans 8:26) This Bible of ours is living and active and you will not read long before you will start to see stories and scriptures anew. Read a story you have read 20 times before and you will find something you never noticed before. It’s incredible. Force the habit and it gets easier.
Mix it up.
Last summer, a friend whose dedication to reading the Bible I admire, asked how I was currently studying the Word. She was looking for ideas because she makes an effort to mix up her study methods every few months to keep things fresh and different. What a great idea!
I do this somewhat naturally when my study times wane, but had never been intentional about making sure I mix things up until she helped me think through this. There are an endless supply of study books and guides out there. (This book is brilliant in helping you learn to study on your own.) This year I am reading through the Bible in one year – a hefty goal that might not be the best when you are beginning – but don’t be afraid to mix up your methods.
Last summer I met a woman who reads through a Psalm every single day. She puts a little tally mark by the Psalm she read and she showed me how her Bible was full of tally marks. It was an excellent visual testament of faithfulness and reminder to herself and the generations that may peek in her Bible after her.
Honestly, I have ignored the Psalms most of my life. Of course I had read a few here and there, but somehow I often skipped over reading Psalms for other story-driven or, in my mind, meatier books. What a mistake! Reading through the Psalms last year was incredible. One simple chapter a day had me seeking to know more, changing how I pray and exposing my own heart. My goal is to have the book of Psalms in my Bible full of tally marks some day.
Here are a few more simple ideas:
- Listen to the Bible on audio.
- Read a Proverb a day.
- Write out a few verses in a notebook every morning. (I have my kids doing this as well!)
- Download an app (like this one) to send you daily readings.
- Ask a friend to read through a book with you. (Accountability is helpful.)
- Attend a Bible study at your church or start one with a few friends.
- Begin memorizing scripture. (Again, remember to start small.)
- Work through adoration with my friend Sara over here.
These are just ideas, friend. Please don’t dare to do them all. Pick one. Start small.
It’s doesn’t have to be complicated. Our goal is to be faithful – faithfully hiding His word in our hearts, prioritizing what we profess to be true. This is our prevention against sin and our exposure of it. The Word is our proper alignment, helping us understand who He is and who we are created to be. This is our light and our lamp (Ps 119:105) when the road ahead is cloudy.
Make time for it, friend. It is vital. Develop a habit, an appetite, that will become your lifeline, one daily step at a time.