In December of 1999, the world was going nuts over something called Y2K. People were worried that computers wouldn’t handle the switch to a new millennia, the market would crash, and the world would basically come to an end. Some people stockpiled and withdrew their savings and prepared for the worst. It was like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie except . . . it was real. (And of course, there were no zombies!)
Well, as you know, since you are reading this blog post, nothing fantastical or catastrophic happened the moment the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2000. But something major took place in my life that stands out to me more than the stockpiles and headlines.
In February of that year, my dad gave me my own personal One Year Bible. My parents each had a copy, and for years I watched their bookmarks move forward a little each day as they worked their way through another year in the Word. Now I had my own, and I was determined to begin the habit I had seen modeled so well.
While I did not make it through the entire Bible that first year, I did pretty well for a ten-year-old. The next year was a little better, but those Old Testament passages seemed sooo looong, and I struggled to get in each day’s full reading assignment. But that third year as I started fresh again in Genesis 1, something just clicked. I got into a rhythm and made it through to the end, and I have never missed a year since.
Creating New Rhythms
I tell you this story not to brag on myself, but to show how a simple tool helped get me into the Word and the Word into me.
God didn’t write this Book so that it would sit on a shelf or in the pew rack.
Creating rhythms and forming new habits are common New Year’s resolutions, but they take time and intentionality. Having an organized system with accountability helps to keep you on track. That’s what the One Year Bible was for me. As a young girl who had never read a book thicker than 200 pages, this was a huge undertaking. But when my parents gave me this Bible, they gave me a tool that took a lofty goal and divided it up into manageable, bite-sized pieces.
If you grew up in a Christian family, you likely know the general synopsis of Scripture thanks to Sunday school teachers, pastors, and family members. But hearing these stories secondhand is not enough. God didn’t write this Book so that it would sit on a shelf or in the pew rack. He wrote it for you so that you would read it and find answers to questions like:
- Who is God? Is He real? What is He like?
- How was I created? Do I have a purpose in this life?
- Where will I spend eternity?
- Is it possible to know and be with God?
- How can I become like Christ?
Are you ready to form a new habit and dive into God’s Word? Here are four things you’ll need to unlock the treasure trove of promises awaiting you.
1. You need desire.
After reading my story, you may think I enthusiastically begin each day with an eager reading of Scripture, filled to the brim with exuberant joy and satisfaction on a daily basis. Hardly.
I’ll be honest: While I’m very thankful God gave me a desire to read His Word at such a young age, there are numerous days—perhaps most days—that I struggle to concentrate or even comprehend what I’m reading. In fact, I often feel dry or uninterested. That’s why I daily need grace from the Lord to find desire.
If you’ve never read the Bible for yourself or you’ve been on a long hiatus, ask Him to give you the desire to pick it up and begin today. And then ask again tomorrow. Because lacking in desire is no excuse to quit. That’s why . . .
2. You need a tool.
Having a system did wonders for my ability to stick with reading God’s Word faithfully. I bet you’ve heard it said that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
What I like about the One Year Bible is that it divides Scripture into 365 fifteen-minute readings from the Old and New Testaments as well as Psalms and Proverbs. So you get a taste of a variety of passages each day with a built-in calendar right on the page. I know when I miss a day, because the date on the page I left off tells me so. But this is not your only option. There are plenty of other really good reading plans out there that I’ve used throughout the years, such as chronological plans like this one or this one, or a host of others to choose from.
Your phone also makes it super simple to be consistent with apps like this one or this one and read or listen on the go. Take advantage of modern technology; find something that works for you, and stick with it!
3. You need accountability.
No one ever accomplished great things by going at it alone. Christopher Columbus never would’ve made it to America. The Wright brothers would’ve never felt the wind under their wings. And you will never make it to Revelation 22 if no one knows you’re even trying. Share your plan with a friend or family member and ask them to check in with you every few weeks. Better yet, partner up with someone and embark on this challenge together.
4. You need prayer.
Quiet time, devos, or whatever you may call your set-aside time with the Lord is not exclusive to Bible reading. It must begin, end, and be saturated with prayer. For example, begin your reading time with a quick prayer for hunger for the Word. Throughout your reading, ask God to open your eyes and soften your heart to what He wants to show you in His Word. And close your time with a prayer of thanksgiving for giving us the revelation of His Word, and for humble faith to follow through in obedience to what you just read.
Now, this is not a pattern I follow perfectly or consistently, but it’s a model I try to follow. Your quiet time won’t look exactly like mine, and neither will your prayers. That’s okay. The point is to spend time with Jesus in order to be more like Jesus.
When Will You Begin?
I hope you embark on 2017 with a plan to read God’s Word. Not because you have to or are supposed to or feel pressured to, but because it is a means of getting to know God. You will never regret time spent in the Word, so why not begin today?
Do you have a plan for getting into the Word this year? Tell me about it in the comment section—I’d love to hear about it!
Further resources for having a more meaningful Bible reading experience: