Every year as the new year dawns, we get ready to start fresh. Gyms fill up for a month, the collective waistline of America gets smaller for a few weeks, and we make big promises to ourselves.
When it comes to lasting change in the new year, the missing component for many is developing habits. Habits are the foundation of how we function as humans. You’d be amazed how much of your life happens with very little brain activity. Everything from how you brush your teeth to how you drive to work, and a million other things become habits. Habits make us tick and keep us on task. (Read about the science behind habits in Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit. It’s fascinating and practical.).
I figured as we gear up to launch into a new year, we’d discuss a few thoughts on developing some Godly habits. Today we’ll talk about Bible reading tips. Next week, we’ll discuss prayer.
It’s time to train.
First of all, know this: 1 Timothy 4:7 says to “train yourself for godliness.” This verse is the premise of Kent Hughes’ book, Disciplines of a Godly Man. Describing the word “train,” he says, it’s “a word with the smell of the gym in it – the sweat of a good workout. ‘Gymnasticize (exercise, work out, train) yourself for the purpose of godliness’ conveys the feel of what Paul is saying.”
Here’s the point: good intentions never changed anyone’s life. If you want positive change in your life, it’s going to take work. (tweet this) Exercise, determination, time, and plenty of sweat.
Here are some key components I’ve found useful as I train myself to read God’s Word daily:
You won’t find time to read the Bible. You have to make time. Get up early. Stay up late. Say no to some things so you can say yes to God’s Word.
Enjoyable Bible translation
Thou wiltst haveth a very challenging experience whence thou readest from an outdated, old school translation. If old KJV floats your boat, go for it, but otherwise, try out the ESV, NKJV, NLT, or Message. You’ll be refreshed and you’ll find it a lot easier to keep reading!
Since the Bible is the primary way God speaks to us, you should come ready to take notes. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible. You’ll remember it better, and you’ll love looking back in years to come as you revisit what God spoke to you.
Call it spiritual ADD or just being prone to distraction, but when I’m reading the Bible (especially in the morning), my brain is often going 100mph. Hit the brakes on your to do list by writing things down when they come to mind, then get back to reading.
Bible reading plan
I use YouVersion’s reading plans daily. I’m currently working on 4 different ones (Advent, parenting, reading through the Bible, and one for the whole family). When I wake up in the morning, I check my daily reading, then keep my phone in my bedroom while I head to my office (or front porch, when weather allows) to read.