As I write this post, I must admit--being the ever-stumbling Christian I am--I have not done well enough with my Bible reading over the summer to claim I now read it EVERY day, but I have gotten better!
My last two blog posts explored why it's important to read the Bible often and consistently, as well as what the Bible is all about. Today, far overdue, is my final installment which is meant to explore how to read the Bible everyday.
As with anything, I find that the only way I can stick to anything is if I actually have a plan. When I "dabble" in the Bible I find it easier to be drop off and be inconsistent in my reading. Right now I have the YouVersion Bible app on my iPhone and tablet and I use the "Reading God's Story: One-Year Chronological Plan". It prompts me to read 6 days a week and tells me which passages to read. The fact that I have the Bible on my phone and tablet leaves me no excuse when it comes to reading. I carry my phone on my all the time. I should be able to pick it up and explore the Lord's letter in any idle moment! If I lapse in my reading, the app will automatically email me and encourage me to get back at it! (Isn't it amazing when technology is used for something holy?)
The problem with a one-year plan is that it can be very overwhelming and daunting to a person just starting in on their bible. One-year plans often require a person to read 4-6 chapters of the bible per day. If you're new to the daily bible reading thing, I would suggest starting where you can. It's more important that you're consistent and getting a bit each day than it is to be reading the whole thing through in a year. When I was younger my first steps into reading the bible involved reading the New Testament, little-by-little, each day. I've also thoroughly enjoyed reading a Psalms or Proverbs per day. These areas of the Bible are full of relevance and hope! They are a great place to start! (But don't forget to expand out and move on later on! Always challenge yourself!)
As with most reading plans, mine has had me starting in the Old Testament. I always find my foray into Leviticus is especially difficult. It brings up all kinds of tough ideas and cultural norms that are entirely foreign to me and often offensive to me! (But I suppose that's a post for another day!) However, I know that being challenged by the bible is a good thing. It has opened the dialogue daily with God and it has pushed me to truly try and understand Him.
As a wise pastor once told me, the thing to remember in reading any part of the bible is to read with the joy Christ's grace has given us. The bible points to Jesus' redemption. The "heavy", difficult parts of the bible are there to remind us of the legalism we've been freed from, thanks to Christ's sacrifice.
So, however you choose to start, remember to:
a) have a plan and stick to it daily
b) reflect on what you read and talk to God about it. What are you thankful for in this passage? What confused you or angered you about this passage? Seek further understanding.
c) remember that all you read points towards Christ's grace. Read with the freedom of hope/forgiveness, not the guilt of legalism.
Honestly, fellow Stumblers, reading the Bible on a daily basis makes all the difference in my life. It's like exercise for the soul. It strengthens my faith "muscles" and keeps my spirit healthy. I have always been able to trace the darkest times in my life to a non-existent devotional life. I refused to read God's word, and often my prayers also ceased in those times. A life without God's Words becomes hopeless and lonesome and meaningless.
God created our bodies with the essential need for daily maintenance--food, water, exercise, rest-- what makes us think that our souls are any different? Remember to tend to your hungry soul. Nourish with God's word daily. Feed your spirit. Don't deprive your soul of a conversation with your Maker.