2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.”(version?)
#1 Daily Bible reading is extremely common in the lives of men greatly used by God
A few quick examples:
Of George Washington the first US President: “Mr. Lewis said he had accidentally witnessed [the general’s private devotions in his library both morning and evening”
Of William Wilberforce the defeater of the slave trade in England: “Wilberforce prayed and read the scriptures everyday… He also memorized a lot of scripture”
Of Eric Liddel a great missionary to China and Olympic athlete “They all urged people to have a daily ‘quiet time’ where they would read a portion of the Scriptures, pray, and listen quietly for God’s leading”
-From Eric Metaxas’ 7 Men and the Secret of their Greatness
After I came into a relationship with Christ one of the first things the man who had taught me the gospel did was introduce the idea of daily Bible reading. He introduced this book to me called How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur. While there was a lot of good practical knowledge in this small book the thing that has stuck with me was MacArthur’s comment that men used of God are always men who are reading the Bible daily, a claim I have yet to find one counter example. This amazed me, and caused me to pause and consider if it was really a possibility for me to take on this habit.
#2 God will Draw nearer to us as we begin
“Draw near to God and he will come near to you.”
When we take time to get closer to God, God promises He will draw nearer to us. This should give us confidence that time taken to engage with God is never wasted time. In fact we have a sort of money back guarantee that if we are sincerely drawing near to Him we will be blessed.
#3 Daily Bible Time does not have to be Difficult
One objection people have to daily time reading the Bible is that it must be difficult, something only theologians or pastors can reasonably engage in. While it is a reasonable expectation you will have questions there are two encouragements for a Christian.
1. The Holy Spirit is our teacher.
John 14:26 and 1 John 2:27
As Christians we can be confident that we don’t study the Word of God alone, instead we have the guarantee the Holy Spirit will come alongside us and teach us.
2. We live in the age of commentaries.
While I don’t recommend always having a commentary open beside you while you read there are an abundance of Bible commentaries anytime you have a question. The Blue Letter Bible App particularly brings these resources together, by just clicking a verse you are confused about you can connect to multiple commentaries and other cool resources.
3. Our questions draw us closer to God.
Lastly sometimes a question may simply be a chance to pray to God about it and to discover a deeper truth. I have found that the things that have stuck with me the longest have been those unresolved questions. (one by the way was what does it mean to abide in Christ? ;D)
#4 It’s about Regularity and Spending Time with God
With the number of things that influence us daily: TV, Online Videos, our news feed and the views of coworkers we can really use a daily influence that brings God’s perspective into view. Even something as simple as reading for 5-10 minutes a day can be a great start.
It also isn’t just a check in the box. You get to know someone by time with them and it’s the same with God.
#5 The Word has an Amazing Effect
During my first few years of daily Bible reading I immediately began seeing the effects. God would remind me during the day of something I had read that morning. Or when I sat down and read a section of scripture for that day, I would suddenly be convicted of how I treated my coworker the day before. The Word became a gauge that let me know how I was doing and where I needed prayer and support in growing. I felt glad when I saw real progress in areas of struggle like honesty or patience. As 2 Timothy 3:16 says God’s Word was active in training me and developing me. Today I can honestly say I would not have the same heart broken by God if I had not dwelled there regularly in His Word.
#6 Some simple steps will get you started
I could say so much more about this! But I won’t because you probably have somewhere to be. Let’s get to the practical steps:
1. What book should I read next?
Planning out how you will go from book to book is very important to easily transition once you have finished the current book you are on. This is one of the main reasons people take extended breaks from scripture and it shouldn’t be because it’s pretty simple.
Bible plans are extremely easy to find, the YouVersion Bible App has plenty and you favorite ministry probably does as well. For me I like to keep it simple and repeatable so I begin in Genesis and read a little each day until I finish the Old Testament then I simply start again, when I met Anne she did the same with the New Testament.
Another way is to follow the Bible chronologically, this is what Anne and I do for our New Testament reading these days,l. This approach gives you the added benefit of seeing how each book flows from the events that were happening in the early church.
Because “all scripture is breathed out by God” I would encourage you to prayerfully consider having a plan for working through both the New and Old Testament. This will give you the benefit of constantly reviewing the whole counsel of God. I normally read a little New Testament (around 10 verses) in the morning and listen to a few chapter of the Old Testament during dinner.
2. When should I read?
The scriptures say a lot about seeking God “early in the morning” but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Anytime when you reguarly have free time would work but normally before bed or first thing in the morning are best. When I started I would wake up 30 minutes earlier, this was a joy for me even though my job started early because it gave me a refresher with God before I went out to the “battleground” of sorts.
3. How much should I read?
This really depends on you. Some try to read through the Bible once a year. For others praying over specific truths are important so they do smaller portions and try to meditate on the truth there. More on plans in a later blog post…