written by Dr. Philip Nation
As we face another calendar year, many people will renew their commitment to regular Bible reading. It is a commitment that I’ve made numerous times as well… with varying results. But, as we all know, as a Christian, you must regularly engage with the Bible if you plan to mature in your faith.
- Set an unrealistic goal. Make sure that you try to go from barely picking up your Bible to understanding the nuances of Ezekiel in the first week of the year.
- Punish yourself for not reading enough. Since you were so bad at it last year, heap guilt upon your mind and soul. It is a key motivator for behavior modification.
- Choose a translation you’ve never used before. Since you are challenging yourself, get a translation (ancient or modern) that is totally unfamiliar. This way, not only will you lapse in amount of reading, you’ll confuse yourself in what you are reading.
- Read in bed just before you fall asleep. Using the final few moments of consciousness will insure that you drift off to sleep mid-passage and forget most of what you read.
- Read to find biblical factoids. Make sure you discover random facts about Bible stories and characters so you can impress your fellow Bible study members. You’ll be ready for questions like: “Who knows the name of the servant who had his ear cut off by Simon Peter?”
- Skip the Bible reading plans. Just open your Bible randomly each day. Eventually, if you stick with it, surely somehow you’ll read the entire Bible. Or, at least, an entire book. Maybe one of the short ones.
- Separate prayer from Bible reading. You’re smart and can figure out the Bible all on your own. Make sure you hold off on prayer until some other time.
- Make up for lost time. Since you slacked off last year, you need to do some serious catching up. Make sure you try to read at least 23 chapters a day.
- Just read the red letters. Don’t worry about the rest of the Bible. If it did not come directly from the lips of Jesus, obviously, you don’t need to worry about those other guys like Moses, David, Paul, or John.
- Use the Bible like a moral handbook for life. You need to make yourself into a better person. The Bible is filled with great morality tales and quick proverbs to make you a better you.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let me encourage you to do none of those things. Instead, have a combination of joy, sincerity, and expectation about reading the Bible. Our God has revealed Himself to us in the Scriptures and longs for you to know Him. Find a pace that is comfortable and enjoy the journey ahead as you read the Bible. Drop the need to be smarter than everyone else about it all and just be a disciple. That’s all Jesus asked of you anyway.