I love to read the Bible, but nothing makes my eyes glaze faster than trying to read 4 to 5 chapters of it each day. My mind goes to auto-pilot, and instead of getting anything out of it, I end up trying to get through it. Even thinking about it makes me feel like a failure already! Surely there is hope for people like me.
What to do if you can’t read the Bible in a year?
The main advantage of reading through the Bible in a year is to get a broad overview of Scripture, but my personal goal as I read the Bible is to hear God’s voice speaking to me through His Word. I want to think more deeply about what I read, so I’ve always read shorter passages.
If you can’t read the Bible in a year, you can still develop a practice of reading it daily. In the long run, finishing the whole Bible in one year is not as important seeking to let God transform us as we read His Word regularly. You can develop a habit of daily Scripture reading by starting with one of the gospels and reading a chapter (or less) each day.
Tips to Help you Get More out of Reading the Bible:
Begin by Remembering God’s Presence
Sit quietly for a few minutes and turn your thoughts to Emmanuel, the God who is with you at all times. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.
Ask God to Speak
Pray that God will help you discern His voice as you read. Echo the words of Samuel: “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Ask God, “What do I need to know today?”
Read the Scripture Attentively
As you read slowly, look for main ideas, repeated words or phrases, commands to obey, promises to hold on to, or encouragements your heart needs.
Choose One Verse or Idea and Write it Down
Each day, choose the verse that impacts you most and write it in your journal. Writing it out will help you remember it. Keeping a record gives you a broader view of how God is speaking to you over the long run and builds your faith during times of discouragement.
After reading Scripture, keeping a journal is one of the most impactful practices I know. (Read more here.)
Make it Your Prayer
Write a one-sentence prayer in response to the verse you wrote in your journal. Try to carry that prayer with you into your day. Be intentional to recall your prayer and offer it to God again later in the day, maybe at lunchtime; alternatively set a chiming alarm on your phone for a convenient time.
Consider a Two-Year Reading Plan
If you are looking for a challenge or if trying something new refreshes you spiritually, consider a 2-year Bible reading plan. Last year I tried a plan that takes readers through the New Testament, Psalms, and half of the Old Testament by reading 2 chapters a day during year one.
This gave me gave me an opportunity to increase my intake of God’s Word without getting overwhelmed. On year two, I’ll be reading the New Testament and Psalms again, as well as the second half of the Old Testament. (This plan is by Riverside Church on the YouVersion app.)
More Tips for Bible Reading Plans:
Read an Extra Day on Sundays
If you have time on Sunday, read ahead one day. This will help you focus on Sunday as a time of Sabbath, and it also gives you a little “insurance” for those days when life happens and you’re just not able to read your Bible.
Flip the Script on Failure
Some of us shy away from Bible reading plans because we’ve failed so many times before. Of course, we will miss days, but rather than get derailed, we can always just begin again the following day. I’ve adopted a phrase from St. Benedict with regard to spiritual practices: “Always we begin again.”
In the long run, reading the whole Bible, or half the Bible, in one year is not as important as developing a daily habit of Scripture reading. Missing one day (or week) is an opportunity to begin again tomorrow. Whether we finish a reading plan in 365 days or 450 days, let’s seek to develop a love for God’s Word and let Him transform us we read it.
Now it’s your turn: What has been your experience with Bible reading plans? Have you ever read the Bible in one year?
Need ideas on how to get more out of your quiet time? I wrote More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times to help overwhelmed and distracted women recover a fresh sense of God’s presence, learn to hear His voice, and grow their prayer lives. Click on the image below for more info:
Are you facing the challenges of life on an empty tank? Need help renewing your relationship with God?
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