The Bible is the bread of life, because it reveals the true Bread which has come down from heaven – Jesus. For many Christians the necessary habit and practice of feeding on the Word has been neglected. There are just too many references in the Bible to the importance of Bible reading, memorization, meditation, study, listening, etc. to not make a resolution to commit yourself to the Word. Here are just a few: Psalm 1; Joshua 1:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:15; Isaiah 8:20.
D.A. Carson writes, “On the night he was betrayed, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17) – and there will never be much sanctification apart from the Word of Truth. It is the entrance of God’s Word that brings light; it is constant meditation on God’s law that distinguishes the wise from the unwise, the just from the unjust (Ps. 1). I do not deny that certain kinds of Bible study can be singularly arid, skeptical, merely formal, just as certain approaches to the Lord’s Supper my do more harm than good (1 Cor. 11:17ff.). But the heavy stress in Scripture on understanding, absorbing, meditating upon, proclaiming, memorizing (“hiding it in one’s heart”), reading, and hearing the Word of God is so striking that it will be ignored at our peril. That is why the best of the evangelical heritage has always emphasized what might be called “the spirituality of the Word.” The Gagging of God, DA Carson, pp. 568-569.
Here are 17 ways you can nurture this necessary habit.
Pick up a new translation. ESV, NKJV, NASB, NIV.
Get a reading plan. YouVersion has many to choose from. It’s a very popular and good app. Do the plan. The App has a daily reminder. Use it!
Make an appointment to read; reading may not happen by happenstance. Read in the same place, same time, get a corner, discipline yourself. Turn off the TV. Turn off the phone. Turn off the computer. Turn off the kids. Pray that you will not be distracted. Be disciplined, 2 Timothy 4:7-8.
Get resources. The ESV Study Bible has excellent book introductions and notes. Watch the book summary videos on TheBibleProject web site. They also have an app to help in your reading. – more than once. TheBibleProject.com.
Attend a Bible study group, Life group, Community Group at your church that talks about what you are reading and what others are reading.
Read to understand God, John 5:39; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:1-5. Pray first and then read until you taste the sweetness of His thunder; read until you feel the sweetness and awe of God, Job 37:1-5; Psalm 119.
Read a book introduction from a study Bible. Context is essential. Remember the category of literature: poetry, narrative, figurative, prophecies of the future. Let the easier parts inform the harder parts.
It is ok to read and not understand everything, every time you read you will understand more.
Worship at your church regularly.
Mark your Bible, highlight it, make notes. The things that seem to be important to you as you read – ARE important. If we are asking the Spirit to open our eyes, then when He does, take note!
Keep a note pad close to keep a list of the things that need to be done that are distracting you from reading your Bible.
Actively read: pray, read, worship, give thanks, read, pray, confess, repent, trust, obey, John 14:21. Ask God to re-amaze you with the truths of the Gospel and the Bible. The Bible is not boring! If it appears to be stale it is not the bible’s fault – God is awesomely majestic in all His ways. His ways are seen in the Bible. Pray!!!
Read and remember the story and contemplate, Ephesians 3:4; 2 Timothy 2:7; 2 Corinthians 1:13.
Listen to the audio Bible. You Version. The ESV Study Bible app. has a listening mode. Use the slowest reading speed and listen. Listen and follow along in your Bible.
Read with other believers. Join a Bible reading group, Nehemiah 8.
Watch your life change. Attitude. Grades. Purpose. Satisfaction. Love for Jesus. Love for your spouse. The bible will revive your soul, refresh your bones, make you wise, sweeter than honey, Psalm 19; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Don’t stop reading until you are amazed at who God is. That’s the big idea of why we read. To be shocked at his love, power, authority, mercy, grace, sacrifice, etc. If you are not amazed you haven’t read rightly. Pray and then begin again if you are not properly shocked.