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When I was in high school, I heard about a young woman who faithfully read her Bible every single day for over two years. Since I was used to reading consistently myself, I decided to take on the unspoken challenge to see if I could read every day for two years as well.
Starting that day, I made sure to faithfully read a portion of Scripture daily. My aim was for 1-3 chapters per day, though occasionally I was only able to snag a few verses from Psalms or Proverbs. All through the rest of high school and well into college, I kept reading - even when I was sick, even on days I flew from California to Florida for school, even when I didn't feel like it, I read.
By the time I stopped, I had read my Bible every day for well over five years. And during that time, I learned a lot about myself, about spiritual growth, and about grace. Today, I want to share 5 lessons I learned from reading my Bible every day for 5 years.
It is possible to read your Bible every single day.
You've probably heard the old saying, "You can make time for anything you want to." While I do believe that, in most cases, this really is true, it's also true that sometimes, the things you want to do and the season of life you're in will make accomplishing those things very difficult.
When I read my Bible every day for over 5 years, I wasn't married and didn't have children. But I did travel a lot, completed several semesters of college, had sick days, and went on vacation. And I learned that it really is possible to read your Bible every day. I believe that it's possible even when you have a spouse and children, though admittedly it will be much harder than even the hardest day at college.
If you're going to read your Bible every day, several things will help:
- Make it a priority
- Set aside a specific time every day
- Choose a reading plan to follow
- Ask the Lord to help you
Every Christian needs to read through the entire Bible.
When I was young, my mom assigned Bible reading as part of my school day. Although this may seem to go against the freedom of letting me decide to read on my own, it was actually one of the best things she did to help my faith grow. Because it was an assignment, it became a habit. And that habit naturally translated into reading through the entire Bible many times over. I didn't always get through the Bible in a year, but by the time I was in college, I had read it cover-to-cover at least 5 times.
I assumed all Christians read through the entire Bible. But in a college Sunday school class once, the teacher asked everyone who had read the entire Bible to raise his hand. Although I expected the majority of the class to raise their hands, only a few did. I was stunned.
Reading through the whole Bible has been one of the best things for my walk with Christ. I love seeing the prophecies of the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New. If I didn't know about the sacrificial system that God laid out in the Old Testament, I wouldn't have understood as clearly why Christ came to be our Perfect Sacrificial Lamb. You can glean so much by reading the entire Bible!
Because of what I've learned by reading through the whole Bible, I'm convinced that reading through the entire Bible is something that every believer need to do. My friend Stacy Averette whole-heartedly agrees!
Reading the Bible isn't necessarily the same as studying it.
As wonderful as reading my Bible every day has been, I also realized that reading my Bible wasn't the same as studying it. Although I read faithfully every day, I often couldn't tell you what I'd read when I was done. My mind wandered as I read, and I frequently read from a sense of obligation rather than from a love for reading God's Word.
Developing the habit of daily Bible reading is an excellent start, and if you're not already in the habit, I would challenge you to begin. But once we have that habit down, we need to move forward and begin studying God's Word in addition to reading.
If studying the Bible is new to you (hey, I've been a Christian for a long time, and I'm still learning how to study!!!), I'd recommend Arabah Joy's new course, Bible Study Methods: 7 Ways in 7 Days. I just joined myself, so I'll be going through it with you!
Since 7 Ways in 7 Days won't fit everyone's budget, you can visit Bible Gateway for study ideas, ask your pastor for advice, or do a Google search for suggestions. Again, start with simply reading the Bible and branch out from there.
Reading your Bible every day can become an idol.
Although I only set out to read my Bible every day for 2 years, once I passed that goal, I began to notice something: daily Bible reading became an idol. I felt proud of my accomplishment. I thought this somehow validated myself as a "good" Christian. And even though I knew that works - including daily Scripture reading - didn't save me, it felt good to add each subsequent reading day to my track record.
Friends, even something as good as feasting on Scripture every day can become a stronghold if we aren't doing it for the right reasons or from the correct motivation. It always amazes me how the devil can take even good things in our Christian walk and use them to his own ugly end. And that sad discovery is what lead me to my 5th lesson from reading my Bible every day.
Obedience needs to be your motivating factor when reading your Bible every day.
If we're going to read our Bibles every day - and I definitely believe we should - obedience to God's commandments must be our only motivation. If we're doing it to make ourselves feel more spiritual or merely to achieve a goal, we're doing it for the wrong reasons.
I read my Bible every day for over 5 years, but I would say that 90% of the time I did it just so I could check off another day of reading. It became monotonous. And that's really sad. I took what could have been an amazing time spent with my Savior and treated it merely as another item on my "to do" list.
I knew I was reading for the wrong reasons the day I missed reading after 5 years. It didn't even phase me. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I was miffed that I'd broken my streak, but it didn't bother me that I'd missed that special time with God. How sad is that? Please, don't follow my example on this one!
Instead, read your Bible every day for the right reasons. Do it because God commands us to do it. Do it because you want to obey the Lord. Do it to help your spiritual growth. Do it to spend time in fellowship with our Heavenly Father. Do it as an act of worship.
I learned a lot from reading my Bible every day for over 5 years. I learned that it's possible to do. I learned the value of reading through the entire Bible. I learned that I needed to turn my reading into actual studying. I realized that daily reading became an idol because I was doing it from the wrong motivation.
These days, I still aim to read and study my Bible every day. I probably hit that goal five or six days a week. On the days that I miss, whether it's due to poor scheduling on my part or unforeseen circumstances I couldn't control, I have to remember to give myself grace. And I ask the Lord to help me improve as I continue on my reading journey.
Your turn: Do you make it a goal to read your Bible every day? If so, what things help you accomplish this goal? How do you keep the correct motivation? If not, what factors hinder you from daily Bible reading? Can you change things to help you incorporate daily reading and studying of God's Word? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!