1. Remember the WHY.
We don’t follow the plan just so we can check off a box and say we accomplished it. We read the Word to know God and to develop a deeper relationship with Him. Reading the Word gives us a greater understanding of who He is and shows us a wider picture of what He has done, what He is doing, and what He is going to do. It reminds us who we are because of Him and reveals our purpose. It helps us set our focus on things above, and gives us wisdom to live the life He created us to live.
2. Choose a time and a place.
When is the best time to read? Believe it or not, there is no hard, fast rule about when you have your quiet time. For most of us, the morning works out to be the best time – a time before the distractions of the day hit. By getting up a few minutes earlier, you have the benefit of setting your focus for the day. You have the opportunity to let God’s voice be the first voice that you hear, before all the other voices in your world have a chance to barge in.
Some people use their lunch break for their time. Others before they go to sleep. The important thing is to choose a time when you are alert and can really focus on what the Word is saying.
Whatever time you choose, commit to it. Show up. Be ready to receive. If something happens and you miss your time, reschedule it for later. Getting behind is discouraging and the enemy will do his best to influence you to just give up. If you get behind, don’t give up. Keep going! Catch up when you can!
Decide where you are going to read. I like to read at my desk because I take a lot of notes. I like to have my pens and highlighters handy. Wherever you choose, choose a place as free from distraction as possible. If you’re like me and want to have supplies ready, get a basket or a bag and put your Bible, journal, and pens in it so it’s always ready to go.
3. Use a print Bible.
We live in a time where everything is available digitally. It’s really easy to open the Bible app on your phone and read from there. But can I encourage you to use a print Bible? Our minds have become accustomed to opening our phones and just skimming through content and we miss so much!. Scientific studies have shown that we absorb more when we read printed books over digital ones.
Having an actual Bible in our hands allows us to really engage with the Word. Highlighting and underlining and making notes in the margins personalizes our experience and keeps our attention.
One thing you may find helpful though, is to listen to the Word while you read it. I use the audio from the Bible app while I read the Word in my print Bible and there’s something to hearing the words and seeing the words at the same time.
You can find the Bibles that PD and I will using on Amazon. We both like having the wide margins to take notes in, but they also make a regular OYB that’s smaller and a little easier to handle. You can also use a Bible you already have and follow along with the printed plan.
4. Keep a journal.
I am a writer. I write everything down, so of course I keep a quiet time journal. I learned this from my first mentor when I was a teenager and I absolutely treasure looking back at what I’ve written!
My journal is probably a bit more elaborate than most peoples, but the principle of journaling – of writing down what you observed in the Word, what God spoke to you specifically about, how you are responding to your time with Him is the same. You can make it as simple or elaborate as you want, but you will be so glad at the end of 2021 that you wrote down your thoughts.
Some days I write more than others in my journal – and some days you’ll only see the date and the passage I read, but here are few things you can write down.
- What jumped out at you?
- Was there a truth about the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit that you noticed?
- Were there any promises or commands or guidelines that God asked of His people?
- Were there warnings?
- How are you going to live out what you read?
- Is there a declaration you want to speak over your life?
5. Reading the Word and prayer go together.
Pray before you start to read. Psalm 119:18 the Psalmist asks God to open his eyes to the wonderful things in His Word. And here’s a pro tip, if you don’t feel like reading the Word, tell God. He can handle it. Just admitting that to Him opens up the door for Him to work in your heart.
Pray when you’re finished reading. Look back at your notes or what you underlined or highlighted. Talk to God about it. No need for fancy words. Just share your thoughts about what you read. Ask Him the questions you have. Don’t like what you just read? Ask Him to change your heart and show you how to honor Him as the Holy Spirit brings transformation.
6. Don’t compare your journey with anyone else’s.
If you’re reading through the Bible for the first time, it can be overwhelming. It might feel like there are days when you don’t understand one word of what you just read. That’s perfectly normal and it happens to all of us no matter how long you’ve been a Christian. There may be days when you think, what am I supposed to do with what I just read? When you hear other people talk about what they got out of their reading that week, you may wonder if you’re even reading the same Bible! One of the things I love is seeing what I wrote about over the years. I can read the same passage and get a completely different revelation than I did the year before. The Word is alive and active – the Holy Spirit can show you 20 different things from the same verse over the years. It’s one of the things that makes reading the Word so exciting!
I promise you. When you stay faithful to the Word, God is faithful to show you exactly what He wants you to see. You are unique. Your purpose is unique. And He will personalize the Word just for you.
7. Find an accountability partner.
Find someone to ask you if you’ve read your Bible. Maybe that will look like a simple text to them saying, “DONE!”. And make sure they’re willing to call you out if they don’t hear from you!
Psalm 19 tells us some of the benefits of the Word.
The instruction of the Lord is perfect,
renewing one’s life;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy,
making the inexperienced wise.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
making the heart glad;
the command of the Lord is radiant,
making the eyes light up.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
the ordinances of the Lord are reliable
and altogether righteous.
They are more desirable than gold—
than an abundance of pure gold;
and sweeter than honey
dripping from a honeycomb.
In addition, your servant is warned by them,
and in keeping them there is an abundant reward.
Spending time in the Word is time well spent! You won’t regret it!
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