Two previous posts addressed the benefits and goals of daily Bible reading. With this final essay, let us consider the mechanics of daily Bible reading. What are some practical tips that can help us to read God’s word each day?
Select a good location. We often pride ourselves on being able to multi-task. But when it comes to ingesting the word of God, we should not divide our attention between that and lesser things. Turn off the television. Silence the music. Mute your phone. Find a place with adequate light and a comfortable seat that will allow you not only to read, but also to take notes.
Read systematically. Instead of picking up the Bible each day and randomly opening to a section, utilize a plan. Perhaps you want to start in Genesis and work your way through the whole Bible. Maybe you want to start in Matthew and read the New Testament. Maybe you want to read the Bible chronologically. Reading plans are abundant on the Internet or in Bible study software. Many of them are customizable. Choose a plan that interests you and stick with it.
Focus on quality over quantity. While there is nothing wrong with setting a goal of reading through the Bible in a set amount of time, make sure that you are not reading merely to finish in a set amount of time. Read at a pace that allows you to understand, think about, and apply what you learn. I would rather read and digest the message of five verses than read five chapters without understanding them.
Meditate on what you read. This admonition goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. To meditate is to let your mind dwell on what you’ve read. It is to contemplate the meaning of scripture. It is to consider ways to apply and use what you learn. The Bible places a premium on meditation (Psa. 1:2; 119:15, 98-99). If you are going to set aside 30 minutes, for example, to read the Bible each day, I would encourage you to read for 15 minutes and meditate for 15 minutes. Write down your thoughts in a journal (lessons you learn, promises you need to claim, commands you need to keep, sins you need to confess, etc.). Then pray about those things.
Utilize audio recordings. This suggestion may not be for everyone, but some may benefit from not only reading but also hearing the Bible being read. Bible Gateway (biblegateway.com) offers free audio recordings of the Bible being professionally read from a variety of translations. Listening while you read engages both the eyes and ears in the process.
I hope this brief series of articles has spurred you on to be a more consistent reader of the sacred writings. There is much to be gained by spending time with God in his word. “Blessed is he who reads…” (Rev. 1:3).