How hard can this be?
I signed up for one of those experiential coaching programs at Mr. 4-Ever’s urging. He’d taken the training and could not stop talking about it. “Wonderful” and all its synonyms gushed forth from him. So I signed up. Three months of in-depth coaching and accountability.
I had to set a professional goal and a personal goal. For the professional goal, I pledged to write 1,000 words a day to establish a writing discipline and complete the manuscript for my book, The Widow Wore Pink—my story of transformation from Playboy Bunny and club dancer to Jesus follower. And just for good measure, I committed to making 100 sales calls a week to find places to tell that story.
Since my professional goals were a stretch, I needed an easy personal goal. “I’ll read through the Bible,” I announced to the class. How hard could that be?
I bought a large-print, two-column, red-letter New International Version with 2,036 pages. Divide that by 84 days, and all I had to read was 25 pages a day.
Lord, have mercy!
If you miss just one day, it becomes 50 pages a day. Miss another day, and it’s now 75!
Thirty days in, I was wishing I’d chosen something easier, like learning Chinese or running a marathon. I made it, but it took all the fun out of reading the Bible, and it put a real damper on my desire to do so.
God, you are so sneaky!
About a year later, I was invited to speak at a women’s retreat. They wanted me to teach the women how to read the Bible on a regular basis.
I taught a variety of ways to read the Bible for pleasure and rediscovered my first love:
Read one chapter a day. Start at the beginning of the Old or New Testament and read one chapter a day till you’re through the whole book.
Use a chronological Bible. If your Bible reading needs freshening up, try reading it in the order of events. Chronological Bibles switch things up from what you’re used to, making all the stories seem new.
Read one book over and over. Proverbs is handy since it has 31 chapters but it can be any book of the Bible. I’m doing the Summoned Bible study right now and the author, Megan Brown asks us to read the same chapter of Esther every day for a week. It’s amazing what new thing pops every time I read the chapter.
Read only the Gospels. Start with Matthew and read through John then start over and do it again.
- Focus reading only the red letters (words of Jesus). This is Dave’s go-to reading plan. He says, “If I know what Jesus said then, I’ll discern what he’s saying now.” Reading the red letters is a great way to learn the heart of the Savior.
- Read for a set time each day. Read for 10 minutes a day, or 30 or 5. Set a timer, start reading and quit when the timer goes off.
Listen to dramatized audio recordings of the Bible. You can buy the digital version or the Bible Gateway app will read you the Bible. Listen to it in the car, while you make dinner or by candlelight in the tub.
- Read the stories (David and Goliath, Jonah, Ruth, Jesus feeding the 5,000, Paul’s conversion, and so on).
Without being pressured to fly through the text, I rediscovered the character, kindness, and compassion of God through his Word.
Reading the Bible to gain bragging rights, to check a box on your to-do list, or to memorize the genealogy of Jesus will not lead you to his love, peace, or magnificence.
There are times when the Bible is a textbook, but I’ve found that when I use it as a conduit to knowing the heart of God, it’s so much better.
What’s your system for reading the Bible with consistency? Leave me a comment. I read every single one and I’m always looking for new ideas.
Verse for today: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” – 2 Timothy 3:16
Prayer: Jesus, help me want to read your word so I can know you better and become more like you. Amen.
PS This post is part of a very fun article I wrote for Rapt Interviews. I get honest about spiritual growth, daily spiritual practices, and favorite resources that equip me to follow Jesus more closely. These questions aren’t ones you’ve heard asked and answered a thousand times. You just might be surprised. Click here to read the entire article.