We're already one-quarter into the year. If your Bible reading has fallen off, here's five tips to jump back in.
1. Start anywhere you'd like.
For many people, starting in Genesis and working your way through Revelation won't be the best plan. Pick a book of the Bible you're interested in reading and begin reading there.
2. Keep a record of what you've read.
We all have favorite books in the Bible that we enjoy reading. That's great, but we also want to take in the whole counsel of God in all the Scriptures. To avoid reading the same books over and over again, keep a log of what you've read this year. I've been using this one from the Navigator's for nearly two decades.
3. Try listening while you read.
Does your mind ever wander as you read? One way to help stay focused is to listen to the Bible read as you read along. I especially like doing this with Old Testament narrative books. I use the ESV mobile app.
You'll notice that the app reads slower than what you can probably read. One trick I use is to speed up the audio. In the ESV app, I timed the Fast Speed at 250 words per minute, a pace that is still very easy to comprehend but keeps moving so that you'll stay with it.
One caution: as you listen, don't start doing something else (like checking your email). Have your Bible open and follow along. Your understanding of the text will increase, plus you'll learn how to say all those hard-to-pronounce names!
4. Make a plan, a place, and a space.
Without a plan, a place, and a space, the likelihood that you'll be consistent in Bible reading is slim. So, first, make a plan. Know before you go to bed what you'll be reading the next day. What chapter will you start with and where will you end? A Bible reading plan can be a great tool to help you read through the whole Bible regularly.
Next, know before you go to bed when you'll be reading your Bible. In other words, make a space in your calendar. Treat it like a doctor's appointment. You won't cancel those appointments unless it's an emergency. So make a commitment. This is a time to read God's very words, after all.
Finally, make a space where you'll go to read. Know exactly where you plan to read. Is it a favorite chair? A coffee shop? A park? Decide now and put it in your calendar. If it's in your home, make the space free of distractions the night before (e.g., take the laundry off the chair!).
5. Start fresh every day.
Let's say yesterday you got off schedule and didn't read what you'd planned. Start fresh today. Forget about trying to make up readings. That gets discouraging. Just start right back in today with a clean slate. His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23).
Keep at it. God has treasures stored in his word waiting for you to discover. Just imagine what he has in store for you as you read in 2016!