The number one reason I hear for not getting into a daily Bible regiment is getting started. So today I’d like to share my story. I’ll cover my journey this past year, what has helped me catch back up when I got behind, and how reading daily has put me on a new path.
How My Approach Changed
I started listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast last year, This Is Your Life. Michael frequently talked about all the benefits he got from reading the Bible every morning. He spoke about how it helped him get mentally, and spiritually charged for the day.
Let me tell you about a story from my friend Scott. Scott was training for a marathon. After his workout was complete for the day he would grab a double quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds. His justification for this was that he works out hard so that he can eat however he wants.
A nutritionist told Scott the way he was eating was no way to train for a marathon. Much to his decree, a healthier diet was a necessary change he needed to make to align himself with what he wanted. At first, the new diet of vegetables, nuts and water was bland. Pushing through the first few weeks of eating healthier was rough, but its what had to be done. Scott not only began to develop a new taste for this healthy diet, he had more energy, a clear mind and an even more full heart. He actually started to enjoy the healthy food he was eating.
The process Scott used to create a positive change in his diet propelled his marathon training. The moral? If you want to form a habit of reading the Bible remember, no change worth making occurs without an adjustment period.
Thats how I feel it happened for me. Michael Hyatt’s blog convinced me to start the ESV Bible Reading Plan on my iPad. After a couple months of reading those 4 to 6 chapters a day I began looking forward to reading. It made my entire approach to reading the Bible change.
What Helped Make It Interesting
Before I looked at reading the Bible like it was a habit I needed to form, that I had to push through just to make it happen. This was because I didn’t have any structure around what I was reading.
Have you ever tried to read 1 Chronicles–or really any book in the Old Testament? Its tough to read and tough to follow. In my opinion, reading a book straight through from the Old Testament is a difficult task for absolutely anyone to do without taking a nap or two or ten. So what helped me form a habit and make reading the Bible interesting?
Once I set up a daily reading plan using the Holy Bible App I had a daily dose of 2 to 3 chapters from each the Old and New Testaments. A typical day comprised of one chapter from a Gospel, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and would finish with either a reading from either the book of Psalms or Proverbs.
This allowed me to have 4 stories–one for each book running through my mind at once. This was an essential necessity for someone with ADHD like myself. Some of the more dull books to read were now ok to work through because I could look forward to a book I was really excited for coming up! I never had a boring day of reading because no matter what I was getting fed.
Falling Behind Makes You Human
Don’t be hard on yourself when you forget a day of reading. Just be conscious about catching up the next day. Miss 5 days in a row? That doesn’t mean you have to quit altogether–or that you’ve failed to form the habit.
My high school track coach, the big man Coach Jepson, had a great take. “Get through the bad days and make the great days great.” I take that life lesson to heart with my reading. There are two ways I’ve found that help me get back on track.
The first option is to just declare bankruptcy and use the “Catch Me Up” feature to get you caught up to the current day on your reading plan. And don’t feel bad about it either, Jesus already forgave you for it 🙂
The second option is the one I use most frequently, and thats to use the audio Bible feature embedded in the Holy Bible App. You can play the audio from the days you’ve missed while you’re getting ready for the day, working out, cleaning the house or even running errands. But Heath, how can listening to the Bible when I’m concentrating on something else still feed me?
You’re still surrounding yourself with scripture, which is 1000% better than not surrounding yourself with scripture. You can pick up things subconsciously and you will. Its all part of forgiving yourself for being a busy student, employee, friend, Mom or Dad.
Every now and then I feel called the make a great day even better and I’ll read or listen to two, three, or even four days worth. If you feel called to read or listen ahead just use the “Catch Me Up” feature and your plan will reset to the current day.
Choosing The Reading Plan Right For You
I started my first 365 day reading plan in April of 2013 and finished in around 10 months. I’ve since started Professor Horton’s Bible Reading System. This is a 250 day plan where I read or listen to 10 chapters a day. The chapters are chronologically lined up to give the reader a fluent understanding of the scripture, and how different books and lessons relate to each other. A book mentioning a lesson from the book of Isaiah will fall on the same day as your reading of the actual lesson from Isaiah. Its pretty neat!
When I started this reading system I thought maybe I made a mistake. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced. One thing I did to help supplement my reading every day was to practice listening to the Bible while I get ready for the day. This has helped me get mindfully and spiritually charged for the day while I’m doing things I would have been doing anyway. I don’t always listen to the Bible, but I’ve found listening has been a tremendous help to me and my growth spiritually.
If this is your first time choosing a reading plan I recommend the ESV Bible Reading Plan. Its four to six chapters a day and will take a anyone with average reading speed about 10-15 minutes. Its the perfect amount of reading to get through over breakfast!
And Guess What Else?
Your reading speed is going to increase. You’re human, and your mind is going to adjust with absolutely any task you perform. Slowly but surely you will notice your “bigger picture” reading skills shining through and you’ll be able to skim through the Bible while still comprehending everything. Consistency in reading should be your most important focus when it comes to reading the Bible.
I look at my study of the scripture like the marathon of life. Constantly enveloping your mind with scripture throughout your week will do wonders for shifting your life towards a more holy path. To a chocolate lover the Bible is like the most nutrient-rich dark chocolate you’ve ever tasted. Its consistently good and you are allowed to take as many bites as you want and your only repercussion is filling yourself with more Jesus. Win the marathon and start your reading plan today.