Six years ago I was a new mama, wanting to read my Bible regularly (or rather, wanting to want to read it) and struggling to concentrate or know where I should begin. I had read the Bible on my own since I was a teenager- but usually with some kind of youth magazine or scripture notes that were directing me to certain verses. I had done the Bible in a year over half of the way through and given up because I was just skimming the words to get them in. I didn’t want to start and Genesis and get worn out by Exodus (I’ve done that before too!) but it was hard to connect and know where to start- and keep myself on track.
Now I know that the Bible is our bread, our food, and to save ourselves from becoming spiritually dry and lacking we need to be spending time getting to know and with our creator and Father God. It doesn’t always seem appealing or fun but sitting at Jesus’ feet and soaking in truth is always worthwhile however hard it can be to set up the habit.
Thankfully at the same time I was struggling with this, an amazing resource and website called She Reads Truth launched. Their aim is just simply to encourage women to be in the word- and they do Bible reading plans on the website which you can follow along with. It meant I could be reading books of the Bible, with accountability, community and extra resources to help me, instead of being stuck to work it out alone. You can now get lots of great plans on the you version Bible app too, and you can also invite friends to do them at the same time.
After a while I realised, however, that reading the Bible on my phone whilst convenient, wasn’t the best way for me to do it- I’m a visual person and love just seeing where the words are on an actual page, so I got a new Bible (or two) and did it that way. After starting the habit of Bible reading I was eventually able to do the Bible in a Year successfully (chronologically I found much easier than jumping from old to New Testament).
Here’s some things I’ve learned about Bible reading and making it a habit!
- whether this is church friend or family or reading alongside a spouse or friend, having a community with you however big or small makes a big difference. When She Reads Truth launched there was a bunch of other women reading the same parts of the Bible with me and reading the devotional content produced by them too. Sometimes I do plans on the youversion bible app with friends via text or now you can invite people directly in the app. Do it!
- linked to the above- doing things in isolation makes us vulnerable and easily discouraged. One of Satan’s sneakiest tricks is to make us feel like we are alone because then we can often feel far from God too. We need to be part of community and keep each other accountable. When I did the bible in a year the first time a handful of us from church met up every month or so- and it was great to text and keep each other in check with how it was going. Something I wish I had been better at this year in fact! Find someone who will ask you how it’s going- and be that for someone else.
- sometimes it’s great to read a Psalm a day. Sometimes a couple of verses to run through your head over and over through the day is enough: other times you’ll want to get to grips with the span of the whole story of God’s love- from Genesis to revelation and how he rescues and pursues his people over and over. Walking with Jesus through the gospels never gets old.
- Equally there’s a time when reading someone else’s reflections on a passage is great and helps you see different thing. Sometimes you need a highlighter and to underline things and look up words. Other times listening our loud works or writing verse out in your own writing. Try different approaches and ways- what works now might not work in a couple of years, or tomorrow even, so be willing to play and explore. What I love (bible journaling and painting verses) might not work for you, that’s fine!
Find a way that works for you, and stick to it. Create the habit – it doesn’t have to be in the morning or in the evening or even while you’re sitting down. It is one of the best investments of your time- even if you think you are too busy it needs to be the first priority, because it’s so vital to our spiritual wellbeing.
A lot of days I didn’t feel like I wanted to read the Bible, but I knew that I wanted to want to. I wanted to cultivate the love of it, and persevering honestly opened up so much riches. God’s word never returns void and even though sometimes it seems to take a long time for the water to permeate and the crops to start growing you will see the reward in the end.
I still don’t love it every day- until I actually do it! but I know that I can come to the Bible and whether on an intellectual, personal or emotional level it will always leave me better than I was when I came to it.