Do you ever have a hard time making yourself read your Bible? Or do you start out reading, only to find yourself reading the same passage over and over again because you can’t make yourself concentrate?
I spent twenty years of my Christian life struggling to have a daily quiet time. I’d do fine when I was in a church Bible study but when I was on my own, I just didn’t have the discipline to read my Bible. And even with church studies, you’d often find me rushing through all the lessons one hour before class!
Back in those days, I would have loved to have someone take me by the hand and help me develop a daily quiet time habit. Following are some of the things that helped me develop a now 20+ year daily quiet time habit.
Tips to Help You Become Consistent with Bible Reading
- Remember your why. Authors of books on goal setting tell us the first thing we need to do is know our “why.” In other words, why do we want to develop this habit? Take a minute and write down as many reasons as possible of why you want to develop a Bible reading habit, then refer back to that list each morning you don’t feel like reading! Here are some reasons I thought of: to grow closer to God, be conformed to His image, find insight for current life, see how Jesus lived life, learn from other believers’ stories, store up truth to combat the world’s lies, gain comfort and strength, find good verses to memorize and meditate on, gain counsel for everyday life. For more ideas, check out Psalm 119!
- Start small. Habit experts tell us our best chance of developing a habit is to start small. So instead of saying, “I’ll read my Bible for one hour a day,” set a smaller goal. 15 minutes a day, maybe. Or even 5 minutes a day. Whatever you think you can make yourself follow through on. You can always up the time after your habit is established.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. Because I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to quiet times, it surprised me when women told me they feel they need to spend at least an hour in quiet time for it to be legitimate. I often spend an hour in quiet time, but if I felt like I had to, it might make me procrastinate or skip my quiet time! Try to remember that your Bible reading time is relationship-with-God time. And all amounts of time are good!
- Find something that engages your mind. This was one of my problems back in my can’t-make-myself-read-my-Bible years. I read through the whole Bible after becoming a Christian in 7th grade, but then I wasn’t sure what to do next. I thought, I’ve already read the Bible. Now, what do I do? Well, obviously the answer was, “Read it again!” but at that time, I’d lost my motivation to read the Bible again. When that happens to you, look for a Bible study that will engage your mind. One that makes you think. I actually wrote the questions in my new Bible study on James during one of my own quiet times when I couldn’t make myself focus on the Bible. I love Bible studies that make me think, whether they are topical or a book-of-the-Bible study.
- Focus on fellowshipping with God rather than checking “read Bible” off the list. If you view your relationships with people as duties rather than fun times to be with them, you won’t want to get together with them. It’s the same with Bible reading. If you view it as a duty, rather than time to fellowship with God, you won’t want to do it. Take time when you’re reading to visit with God about anything that pops up in your reading. I like to read small portions of Scripture each day so I have plenty of time to think about it, see how it interacts with my life, and talk to God about it.
- Don’t feel like your Bible reading has to be in the morning. My husband does his Bible reading at night because he is like a walking zombie in the morning. He likes to wake up, start his coffee, then sit in the dark drinking it. Rather than trying to force his mind to wake up that early, he does his Bible reading at night.
- Join a group study or find an accountability partner. Group studies really helped me in the old days when I didn’t have much discipline. It can also help to have an accountability partner. This blog post will give you ideas on how to set that up: Christian Accountability Partner: A Beginner’s Guide.
- Expect opposition. Often we stumble because we expect habits to be easy. So when we miss Bible reading for a couple of days, we think, I’m not capable of this, and give up. We’ll be more likely to succeed if we expect it to be hard. Because here’s the truth: It is hard! Not only do we have our flesh saying, “Let me sleep just a little longer!” we also have an enemy who doesn’t want us to read our Bibles. Satan is the father of lies and he doesn’t want you to develop a Bible reading habit. Here is a podcast episode that will help you defeat those lies: Consistent Quiet Times: 10 Lies That Get in the Way.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you fail. Not only does Satan lie to us, but he also condemns us. So when we beat ourselves up for not following through on Bible reading, we’re playing into his condemning tactics. God is a God of grace and He is for us. He knows what it’s like to be tempted so He’s not a bit surprised when we don’t follow through on things He wants us to do. Know that you won’t be able to do this perfectly but just continue to persevere to make it a habit. Look at the tips in today’s post to see if one of those might help you follow through with daily Bible reading.
That’s about it. I tried to come up with one more tip so it would be an even ten, but I couldn’t think of one! My prayer is that you will be able to develop a Bible reading habit that fills your soul and draws you closer to God. If you’d like help with a study that will engage your mind, check out my latest book below.
James Bible Study
This is a Bible study I didn’t set out to write. It came out of one of my own quiet times when I couldn’t make myself focus on the Bible. After several times reading the same paragraph over and over because I couldn’t concentrate, I thought, Maybe if I write some questions down first, it will be easier to concentrate.
I did that and I loved the process. Not only did the questions help me apply the passage to my life at the moment, they also drew me closer to God as I used that Bible passage to visit with Him about what was going on in my life.
If you’d like to see a sample of two of the 20 lessons in James, check out these blog posts (you’ll find the lessons at the end of each blog post):
Other Resources Mentioned on the Podcast
- How to Truth Journal
- Christian Accountability Partner: A Beginner’s Guide
- Consistent Quiet Times: 10 Lies That Get in the Way
- How to Use the Bible for Help with Real-Life Problems
- Rally Bible Study – a Bible study on trials that helps you learn truth journaling
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