Written by Sandy Zhuang, China, originally in Simplified Chinese
When I first came to know the Lord, I was taught by older Christians about the importance of persevering in reading my Bible daily. It was the book of truth which told me how to live life according to how God intended, and it was applicable in every aspect of my life. I was reminded that it was too important to be neglected.
But persevering in reading the Bible is not an easy task, especially when there are so many other things vying for our attention. To overcome these obstacles, we can try different ways and means. It could be setting aside an allotted time to read the Bible, or using Bible study resources to help us press on in our reading.
Here are some of the ways that have helped me keep my Bible reading on track.
First, set a fixed time to read the Bible.
Make Bible reading a part of your daily routine so that it will become a habit, and it will not be easily disrupted or missed. There’s no hard and fast rule as to when is the best time to read your Bible. Some may feel that the best time is early in the morning, when their minds and hearts are fresh and clear; others may think that the best time is right before they sleep.
I was a “night owl” in my school days. Mornings were spent rushing for classes, and it was only at night that I felt more awake and alert. Naturally, I chose to read my Bible at night. After becoming a mother, however, I had to shift my Bible reading to the wee hours of the morning. That turned out to be a refreshing change.
It is up to every individual to decide which time of the day works best for them. Remember: it’s easier to fix a time to read the Bible every day, than scramble every day to find a suitable time to read the Bible.
Second, make good use of Bible study resources.
The Bible is filled with so much wisdom that it is impossible for us to comprehend it on our own. Without the help of Bible study resources or leaders at church, it’s easy to misinterpret the text or to miss out on key truths.
Nowadays, we have many Bible reading plans to choose from. You can follow a plan that will enable you to finish reading the entire Bible in a year, or finish reading the New Testament in three months, or even do an in-depth study on a particular book of the Bible. The key is to choose a plan that suits your current situation and will help you persist in reading the Bible.
When I was doing a study on the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), I used a Bible commentary. If not for it, I would probably have lost the patience to read about the laws of cleansing and the instructions about building the tabernacle.
Third, read the Bible together with like-minded friends.
No Christian can grow alone, apart from the community of believers. This applies to our reading of the Bible too. We need mutual support and encouragement as we embark on this journey of reading God’s word.
I’m a part of a 10-member Bible-reading group in which we share what we have learned from reading the Bible every day. We take turns to check that every single one of us has read the Bible. We even have a system of rewards and punishments to help us keep on track, which helps to keep us accountable to one another. It also serves as a great encouragement and reminder to us, especially in moments where we are tempted not to read the Bible (for whatever reason)—and it has helped me keep my Bible reading on track for more than three years.
Fourth, cut yourself some slack.
Sometimes—such as when we fall sick, have to work overtime, or attend to a sudden emergency—we may be unable to keep up our habit of reading our Bibles daily. Let’s not see this as a weakness or “sin”, or we might fall into the trap of treating the practice of reading the Bible like a legalistic ritual.
Bible reading should be an enjoyable process simply because it helps us grow in deeper intimacy with God. It’s not about clocking the hours.
Fifth, ask God to give you a thirst for His word.
One of the greatest hindrances to Bible reading for many is lethargy, especially after they have read the Bible for some time. During these moments, we can reflect and ask ourselves: Why do I not want to read the Bible? Let’s spend time talking to God about it and pray that He will give us a humble heart and a thirst for His words, and rekindle the fire in our hearts for His Word.
As it is said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” I believe God will answer our prayers to help us read His Word, because it is what He desires of us.
May God’s Word always be “a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalms 119:105)