If you've never read through the entire Bible, let me encourage you to dedicate yourself to this task each new year. I promise—once you get started, you'll never be the same!
This article tackles many of the common struggles (and excuses) for not reading through the Bible, and offers simple, practical suggestions for succeeding in this worthwhile endeavor.
Why Read Through the Bible?
"But why?" I can already hear you asking. Spending time in God's Word, reading his revelation to mankind, is one of the most important essentials in the daily life of a Christian. It is how we get to know God personally and intimately. Just think about this: God the Father, Creator of the Universe, wrote a book to you. He wants to communicate with you on a daily basis!
Moreover, we gain a better understanding of God's purposes and his plan of salvation from beginning to end the more we read the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). Instead of seeing the Scriptures as a collection of disjointed books, chapters, and verses, through determined, purposeful reading, we realize that the Bible is a unified, cohesive work.
In 2 Timothy 2:15, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to be diligent in studying the Word of God: "Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth." (NLT) To explain God's Word, we need to know it well.
The Bible is our guidebook or road map for living the Christian life. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path." (NLT)
How to Read Through the Bible"But how? I've tried before and never made it past Leviticus!" This is a common complaint. Many Christians don't know where to get started or how to go about this seemingly daunting undertaking. The answer begins with a daily Bible reading plan. Bible reading plans are designed to help you work your way through the entire Word of God in a focused and organized way.
Choose a Bible Reading Plan
It's important to find a Bible reading plan that's right for you. Using a plan will ensure that you don't miss a single word God has written to you. Also, if you follow the plan, you'll be on your way to reading through the entire Bible once every year. All you have to do is stick with it each day, reading for about 15-20 minutes, or approximately four chapters.
One of my favorite reading plans is The Victory Bible Reading Plan, compiled by James McKeever, Ph.D. The year I began to follow this simple arrangement, the Bible literally came alive in my life.
Choose the Right Bible"But which one? There are so many to choose from!" If you're having trouble selecting a Bible, you are not alone. With so many versions, translations and hundreds of different study Bibles being sold, it's hard to know which one is best. Here are some tips and suggestions:
Through the Bible Without Reading"But I'm not a reader!" For those who struggle with reading, I have a couple of suggestions. If you own an iPod or some other portable listening device, consider downloading an audio Bible. Many websites offer free audio Bible applications to download. Likewise, there are loads of sites with online audio Bible reading plans, if you prefer to listen online. Here are a few to consider:
- Faith Comes By Hearing - Find several free audio Bible downloads, or listen online to the Streaming Bible.
- BibleGateway.com - Listen online to a comprehensive 365-day Bible reading plan.
- BibleStudyTools.com - Register for a customizable daily reading plan, including an audio Bible.
- Blue Letter Bible - Read or listen to the daily reading selection.
- StudyLight.org - Read or listen to the daily reading selection, with several Bible translations to choose from.
- Bible by YouVersion - iTunes Store
- Bible by YouVersion - Android Market
- Bible.is - iTunes Store
- Bible.is - Android Market
- Daily Audio Bible - iTunes Store
- Daily Audio Bible - Android Market
A Privilege and a PriorityThe easiest way to continue growing in the faith and deepening your relationship with God is to make Bible reading a priority. With these suggestions and the tips offered below, you have no reason (and no excuse) not to succeed!
More Tips for Daily Bible Reading
- Start today! An amazing adventure awaits you, so don't put it off!
- Make a specific appointment with God on your calendar each day. Choose a time you are likely to stick with.
- Learn how to develop a solid daily devotional plan.