Each year our church encourages everyone to read through the Bible in a year. It requires a lot of discipline and dedication over a very long period of time. Many begin with the intention to read all year long only to find their progress bogged down as they encounter the books of law in the Old Testament. This is unfortunate. And it doesn’t have to be this way. The Bible is unique and unlike any other book. Most books are read from front cover to back cover. But the Bible can be read in many other ways. Here are some alternate ways to read the Bible.
- Read the New Testament (The story of Jesus, the early church, and Revelation)
- Read a Proverb a day (There are 31 chapters. Read one each day of the month)
- Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This is the story of Jesus from 4 perspectives)
- Follow a unique Bible Reading Plan (Go to Bible.com/reading-plans for ideas)
The other issue that keeps people from sticking with a Bible reading plan is just failure to do it. There is a good book out called Atomic Habits by James Clear. James explains when we want to develop a habit, such as reading our Bible every day, we should connect that behavior with a time and a place. For example don’t just say, “I’m going to read my Bible this year.” Instead, decide that you will read your Bible every morning with coffee at the dining room table. Or maybe, “I will read my Bible every day at lunch break in my car.” This is called the “implementation intention.” The pattern is “I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].”
The other way to create a habit is by using a “stacking formula.” This is best understood by taking something you already do on a regular basis and connecting the new behavior or habit to it. Say, for example, you watch the evening news every night. You could have your Bible next to the remote control and right after the news is over, pick it up and read it for 15 minutes. The pattern is “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”
So, if reading the entire Bible cover to cover seems overwhelming, consider a shorter Bible reading plan. And to stick with your plan, remember to be intentional by selecting a time and location to read and/or attaching your habit to an existing habit.