Most people struggle with reading the Bible consistently. If you already have a regular, life-giving time in the Word each day, feel free to check out one of the other posts on this blog. (Or better yet, forward this post to someone who could benefit!) However, if you’re like 90% of the Christians I meet who struggle with this, keep reading.
Any habit starts with small steps and small wins. Our brains are wired to experience something positive, then do it again. The more times we succeed, the more we’ll try. The more we try, the more we’ll add on to the positive experiences and grow. Small positive “wins” lead to consistent positive habits.
This week’s challenge is intentionally small. My goal is to give you something you can do, so it will be something you will do. When you succeed, my hope is you will repeat the challenge next week. Once you succeed for two weeks…well…you get the idea…
The Daily Reading Challenge
- Look at your calendar and pick a specific time every day where you can block out 15-30 minutes. Picking the same time every day will be huge in making this successful for you.
- Read the Bible (and nothing else) for 15-30 minutes. I’ll give you a few ideas of what to read below.
- Tell someone you’re doing it. There’s something powerful about saying it out loud. Better yet…have someone join you!
The Daily Reading Options
Option 1: Pick a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John). Start at the beginning and set a timer for 15-30 minutes. (This is helpful so you don’t keep looking at the clock.) When the timer goes off, finish the chapter you’re in and put a bookmark in it. Pick up where you left off the next day. When you finish the gospel, move on to the next gospel OR start over and reread the one you just finished.
Option 2: Soak in Ephesians. Ephesians 1-3 is 100% about identity. There’s nothing to “do.” Paul is simply reminding the Ephesians (and us) who they are, who God is, and what God has done for them. Ephesians 4-6 is all about what our lives should look like if we believe who we are. The whole book will take about 20 minutes to read – if you’re reading out loud at a normal rate of speed. If you’re only committing to 15 minutes, then focus your entire week on reading the first three chapters.
Option 3: A Different Letter Every Day. Take a different epistle (a fancy-schmancy word for “letter”) and read one each day. Here are the ones I recommend: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Peter, 2 Timothy, and 1 John.
Option 4: The Early Christians. This is basically the same as Option 1, but you’re going to entirely focus on the book of Acts. This comes right after the Gospel of John. It was written by Luke and walks through what happens in the lives of early Christians for the first 2-3 decades after Jesus’s earthly ministry.
Option 5: How It All Began. This one is for those of you willing to commit to either a bit more time during the seven days or you’re committing from the start to go for two weeks. This option is the same as Options 1 and 4, but you’ll focus on Genesis (the first book of the Bible). Reading out loud at a normal rate of speed, Genesis will take about four hours. So…you’ll either need to commit to a couple weeks or set your timer for 35-40 minutes instead of 15-30.
The Daily Reading Process
I recently ran across an extremely simple way of reading the Bible. I wish I could remember where I saw it so I could give the person credit. (If you know, please put it in the comments.) These three questions will help you process what you’re reading. You can simply ponder the answers, journal about them, or even use them to guide your discussion if you’re doing the challenge with someone else.
Question 1: What is the message for THEIR time? What context can you get about the original author or audience from what you’re reading? You might have a study Bible that could give you insight. Most study Bibles have an introduction before each book. Take five minutes before you start each book to get a feel for the background.
Question 2: What is the message for ALL time? Are there some timeless principles, truths, promises, guidelines, instructions, etc. that apply across time and across populations?
Question 3: What is the message for MY time? What is one nugget you will take with you each day? Does God have something you need to know? Or apply? Or share? Or believe? Does He have a promise or a word of comfort or encouragement?
Keep it simple. Remember: The goal is to make a small commitment and then succeed. If you haven’t been reading regularly and you commit to reading for 30 minutes, journaling for another 30, and praying for 30 – good luck making it past Day 2! But if you commit to 15-30 minutes total for the next seven days – and you write it in your calendar – you will succeed.
Then do it again next week. Then next week. Then next week…