2 Controversial Ideas for Reading the Bible More
If you’ve failed to build a Bible reading habit, then you are not alone. Here is what I did to develop the practice into my life, and you may find it a little out of the norm.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a guy confess to me, “You know I want to read the Bible, but I just don’t.”
And we all know that we don’t have a Bible shortage. The Bible is the most printed and best-selling book of all time. So, it’s not a printing shortage. What we have is a reading shortage. The Gallup and Barna organizations have studied Christian behaviors on this for years, and still, show that 64% of Bible-believing Christians find themselves too busy to read the Bible. So, we have a bit of a gap between Bible ownership and Bible use.
But I believe there a solution?
So here are two solutions I have found to read the Bible more, and they are a little out of the norm, but they have worked for me.
First | Stop Using a Traditional Bible Reading Plan
Honestly, traditional One-Year Bible Reading Plans seemed to promote all kinds of negative emotions for me after the first week. And I believe these feelings are not healthy to attach to a Bible reading habit or your relationship with God. They include feelings of guilt, disappointment, frustration, regret, and the like.
Here is how they manifest themselves in me. I often start well, then I eventually end up missing a day, or a week, and this produces guilt and I try to make up for my loses by reading more. And then I feel like I am failing. Or I start off well, and I just get lost and feel disconnected from the story, with all the flipping back and forth through the Old and New Testament. And these negative feelings start to bleed out and just reinforce all the reasons why I fail to build the habit. So, I confess, I quit using Traditional Bible Reading Plans years ago. Not because they don’t work, but because they don’t work for me.
Principle: Aim for Comprehension Not Completion
Today, I set my Bible reading process on comprehension, not completion. Rather than focusing on “daily reading that gets me through the Bible in one year” (completion), I now focus my process on “regular patterns of reading that deepen my love for God’s Word” (comprehension).
Here is how I do this. First, I read regularly, usually around five to seven-day sprints. And when I read, I set my focus on one book at a time, with no particular pace to my reading. I just read in each sprint until I have read enough. For me, this happens to be about 5-8 chapters a time. Second, within my reading, I identify a text or theme that challenges me. I usually spend a minute or two meditating on that passage considering how applying that will make me a better man. Third, throughout the day I find one way to share my reading or learning with someone else. Sharing could include telling someone the principle of the text, not the written text itself. But I find that every day, God gives me some opportunity to use His Word. And it is this three-step process that has reinforced a very gratifying experience in God’s Word rather than all the negative emotions I used to experience.
While this method may not get me through the Bible in one year, it is positive and addicting to see how this pattern can change you and transforms others as you use it daily. And it is this that has positively inspired me to continue with the habit. Reading has now become a positive habit that keeps me coming back for more.
Second | Don’t Set a Goal To Read The Bible
While in the new year we often set a goal to read the Bible, I don’t believe setting this as a goal is helpful. Reading the Bible is not the goal, Bible reading is a tool to discover the God of the Bible.
Principle: Set a Transformational Goal that Drives You to the Bible.
Today I don’t set Bible reading goals. I always fall short of them anyway. I have chosen to walk away from this because all this does is produce guilt and shame in my life. But I have exchanged this goal for one more lofty and motivational, and that is a goal that drives me toward reading the Bible.
For example, a goal I have had in past years was to “Become a more generous man.” So, to give more, I was forced to study the Bible on the topics of stewardship, giving, tithing, and generosity, which led me to write my first book. And I would say that this drove me into the Bible with great intensity. Like never before I discovered the “riches of God” through Bible study. And the impact on my life and others was profound.
After discovering that my goals may have been the problem, I have since aimed my vision higher to goals that force me to get in and stay in God’s Word on a regular basis. For you this might look like “Growing as a man of God this year by joining a Bible Study,” or it may look like, “Teaching other principles on leadership and business from the Bible.” Only you can decide what this might be depending on your passions and skills but direct the goal toward forcing you to be in God’s Word, and it will bring delight to your soul.
These are just two out of the norm ideas that have helped me, and I pray they will continue to excite spiritual growth for you this year as you dive into God’s Word.
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Vince Miller is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to men and has a deep passion for God’s Word. He has authored ten books and small group curriculum for men. He is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials