“If you want to hear from God, read your Bible. If you want to hear from God out loud…read your Bible, out loud.”
I must confess that I do not know who said this to me first, but it is a rather smart way to remind us that God speaks to His people through His Word. This post seeks to lay why every Christian should be reading their Bible on a daily basis and what that reading should look like. Like the past posts in this series, this is a way of doing something, not the way. However, what every Christian who loves Jesus must have is a system by which they regularly engage the Risen Savior and grow in knowledge and love for Him.
Why Read Your Bible
Most Christians will agree that it is essential to read and know their Bible, but, in the same breath, will confess that they do not read it enough and don’t have a great reason to be reading their Bible. If you find yourself struggling with knowing why you should read your Bible, take heart you are in common company. There are many excellent and substantial reasons that all believers should be stepped in their Bibles daily.
- Connecting with God—in your Bible reading, you should experience a deeper connection with God. The chief problem that humanity experiences is its separation from God. Reading your Bible should bring you closer to God.
- Rejuvenating the Soul—when you spend time in God’s word, your soul will be fed. God wants us to come to Him when we are weak and weary, and the way to come to Him is through His Word. However, we should also come to the Word even when we don’t feel we need to be rejuvenated.
- Convicting the Spirit—As we read in God’s word, we will see our own sin and be convicted. God’s word will reveal where sin is and what we need to do to change.
- Enlightening the Mind—God’s Word helps change the way we think. We all tell ourselves lies all the time, and God’s Word helps correct those to truths.
- Change our desires—As you interact with God’s Word (and thus God himself) you will have your desires changed and shaped by it.
How to Read Your Bible
You may be convinced that you need to read your Bible, but may also be asking yourself how to study and read the Bible in a helpful way that does all those things listed above. In this section, a few tasks will be presented for how to read your Bible well.
- Develop a plan—if you are going to read the Bible, you can’t just open up your Bible and hope that you will land in the right passage. You can’t believe that God will just get you where you need to go. You also can’t just navigate to the passages that you know and like. You need to engage in a reading plan, and that reading plan must be robust, both in the Old and New Testament. I would strongly suggest a Bible plan that tries to read the entire Bible in one year. If that is too much, pick a goal and stick to it.
- Set aside time—once you have your plan, then you need to determine when you are going to read and study. While there is room for situations that require you to change your regular time, setting aside a regular time to meet with God is essential.
- Engage with the material—Now that you have your plan and time, you need to engage the text. Don’t just read it! Ask questions like, “What does this passage tell me about God? What does this passage tell me about my sin? What does this passage tell me about how to change?” Those are some example questions, but you have to engage with the text, not just read and then close the Bible. Some folks find that journaling is a helpful exercise for doing this.
- Read for Food—lastly, you need to remember that the goal of your quiet time in the morning is not to read for data, but for food. Christ said, “I am the bread of life.” (Jn. 6:35) Christ wants you to read for food, not for facts.
What To Do If You Are Stuck
Finally, I want to say a word about those of you who are reading God’s word and don’t feel like you are getting anything out of it. If you find yourself here, consider spending some time crying out to God and asking him to rejuvenate your time. Consider if you have pleaded with God to show up each morning and come to a relationship with you. If you have done that, consider if there is any unrepentant sin that you have not handled. Lastly, if you have done that, then ask a pastor or a trusted friend to poke around in your life. There could be a lot of reasons why your time with God is not profitable. If you’re not leaving your reading full of joy, then you should recognize that something is wrong and work to correct it. Ask yourself if you have developed a plan, set aside the time, engaged with the material and if your goal is inline with reading for food; ask God for help and correct where needed in your reading plan. When you dedicate yourself to the desire to feed your spirit, you will feel the connection, the conviction, and the rejuvenation of your soul.