If you grew up going to church every time the doors were open like I did, you know that “reading your Bible more” was something that was constantly talked about in Sunday School, your pastor’s sermon, and in youth group. Even when I was a youth leader at my former church, I would often ask my youth kids about specific ways to grow closer to the Lord and they would give the canned response of reading your Bible more. Read your Bible, grow closer to Jesus. Sounds simple, right?
But if I’m being honest, it totally wasn’t that simple for me. I struggled with Bible reading. I avoided the Old Testament like the plague due to its complexity and somewhat difficulty to understand. I found myself reading the same old things in the New Testament and not really gaining anything new from it. To be perfectly frank, I found reading the Bible to be terribly boring. As an avid reader, I preferred reading the novels that I had stacked on my nightstand over the Word. When I would break down and open my Bible, I wouldn’t even know where to start. Should I pick a book from the Bible and read through it, should I stick to one testament over the other, should I just flip through until I found something interesting? All these were questions that swirled in my brain every time I would think about reading the Bible. I would go days, sometimes weeks without opening my Bible other than during Sunday service. In full transparency, I would have much rather been scrolling through my phone or binging a show on Netflix than spending time studying that Word. #RealTalk
Maybe you’re like me in that reading the Bible can feel overwhelming. Maybe you are sitting behind your screen shaking your head at me thinking I’m an idiot. Whatever your thoughts, I’m just sharing my own experience with not having a true hunger for the Word of God. I wanted to be a good steward of the Bible, I just didn’t know how nor did I have the desire.
Around April of last year when my life was completely flipped upside down, I cried out to Jesus. I begged him to help me and to provide me comfort. I honestly thought He was being silent. But then one April night, I opened my Bible to Psalms. And there on the pages in front of me was comfort. Encouragement. Relief. Promises. Hope. I read verse after verse and page after page and devoured every word like it was bread in the midst of starvation. I was hooked. I prayed for God to give me wisdom as I took in His Word and to give me guidance. Over the last year, I’ve grown to love reading my Bible. It has been a safe place that has offered me peace in the midst of chaos. It has taught me so much about the Lord and His goodness towards His people. It has been a lighthouse guiding me on my darkest nights. Reading my Bible is truly the best part of my day.
I want to offer five easy and practical tips that have worked for me when it comes to enjoying reading my Bible. If you are reading this blog post then you obviously know how to read, but I want you to ENJOY reading your Bible. I want you to crave reading it and for it to be a special part of your day that binds your heart closer to the one who created you. Hopefully you will find these tips useful and practical and perhaps help you enjoy reading your Bible more.
1. Leave Your Bible Out in the Open
I once took a photography class from Sarah McAffry that taught people how to use their DSLR cameras. Near the end of the course, Sarah said that we should leave our camera out in the open (not in the bag) and we should photograph something at least once per day. Her logic was that if it was easily accessible, then we would be more likely to use it. The same goes for our Bibles. If we keep our Bibles zipped up in a Bible bag or put up on a shelf, then the likelihood of us getting it out to read it goes way down. I keep my Bible out on my nightstand at all times. I also keep two other Bibles around the house for easy access. A sweet friend sent me this Hosana Revival Bible that is absolutely gorgeous, so I keep it in my living room where I can grab it any time that I feel led to do so.
Having your Bible in an easy to access place keeps it near the top of your mind and shows that Bible reading is a priority for you. I love being able to grab my Bible and flip through Scripture whenever I choose. Applying Sarah’s camera school logic, I also make sure to read my Bible every day. Doing so not only creates it as a habit, but it also makes you more comfortable with doing it. I will admit that it was a little hard for me to commit to reading my Bible daily, but once the habit was formed, it was a top priority for me and became second nature.
Even if you can’t commit to reading your Bible every single day right now, at least leave it out where you can see it. Maybe that’s your coffee table, near your toilet, on your nightstand, or in your office. Having it in an easy to see place will automatically make you more likely to read it.
2. Start Your Day with Scripture
One of my most enjoyable activities is sleeping. I will hit snooze half a dozen times and wake up at the last possible moment. Some people like to wake up early and do their daily quiet time to start their day and while that is a great thing to do and a great habit to have, it just does not work for me. I tried it for a few weeks one time and found myself almost being resentful of that time because I felt exhausted and would have rather been sleeping. I’ll post more in another tip about *when* I do my daily Bible study, but I do think that it is important to start your day with scripture. Even if you aren’t doing your “quiet time” starting your day focused on the Word really does start your day off on the right foot.
What I have found works best for me is an app called First 5. This app was created by Proverbs 31 Ministries and is the perfect way to start your day. When it says it takes five minutes-it literally takes five minutes. I usually pop on the app as I’m laying in bed fully waking up and then finish up my reading during the two minutes it takes to brush my teeth each morning. That’s literally all it takes and I can start my day with scripture. While this isn’t a full blown quiet time or Bible study, it is time well spent with the Lord and it is an enjoyable time. It presents scripture and a short devotional without overwhelming you. I have found that even on days when I wasn’t reading my Bible, I was still logging into the First 5 app and having a takeaway from that. If you are someone that struggles with time or that isn’t quite ready to jump head first into daily Bible reading, I highly suggest downloading this app and adding it to your morning routine.
3. Make It Your Own (aka Make It Cute)
When I tried out for golf in high school, I had no idea what I was doing. But one thing was for certain…I wanted to look the part. I had cute skirts, cute golf balls, a girly colored bag, and all the fun accessories. And while there is more to golf than “looking the part,” it totally gave me confidence on the golf course.
Taking that same mindset, I applied it to reading my Bible. I bought cute accessories and supplies to totally make it my own and it gave me a lot of confidence to start reading my Bible. I had fun pens and highlighters and notebooks and the whole 9 yards and it made reading my Bible a lot more enjoyable. As someone who ADORES taking notes and annotating (hello, I’m an English teacher), I found myself actually WANTING to sit down each day and see what good stuff I can find in God’s Word that made me want to take notes on. I ordered a checklist that had the books of the Bible on it so that I could mark off what books of the Bible I had already completed. Using my fun accessories really motivated me to dig more into the Word.
I also suggest finding a Bible that works for you. Maybe you still have an old Bible from college that just doesn’t really do it for you anymore. Maybe you have a version that is a translation that is hard to understand. Find a Bible that you LOVE, and reading it will be way more enjoyable. The Bible that I mainly study from is this one in the NIV translation. I love that it is big, but some people prefer a smaller version. I love the study material in it, but I know some people don’t. I also use the ESV version and then will often consult my Bible app to read the NLT version. Finding the right Bible and making that one your own will for sure make you love reading your Bible a lot more.
If you are someone that loves color and finds joy in new school supplies and fun accessories, I encourage you to find what works for you when it comes to studying your Bible. Maybe you can create a color coded system when it comes to highlighting certain verses, maybe you get a journaling Bible and can use your time in the Word to create art. Whatever works for you, make it your own. I have found that in making my Bible my own, it has given me a lot more confidence and motivation to read it.
4. Make It a Special Time (but be okay with it not being how you envisioned)
In a perfect world, we would have tons of time to study our Bible each day in a beautiful place with absolutely no distractions. Kids wouldn’t be climbing on us begging to be held, husbands wouldn’t need us to get a meal on the table, friends wouldn’t be wanting you to return their FaceTime call. But we don’t live in a perfect world and “quiet time” is often never quiet. I’m fortunate enough to have limited distractions since I don’t yet have children or a husband to take care of, but I still find myself easily distracted and still find myself having my daily Bible time in a way that I did not envision.
I try my best to make my Bible time a special time. I have a bin with all of my “Bible supplies” that I pull out and use whenever I study. Typically I open the blinds next to my reading chair, light a candle, and have a really enjoyable experience. But it’s not always like that. Sometimes my Bible time is having my stuff spread all over my kitchen table so that I can study while I eat dinner. Sometimes it is me reading a few verses in my bed before I fall asleep for the night. Sometimes it is me reading out on my back deck while trying to enjoy God’s creation but instead being met with the sound of barking dogs. Perhaps for you studying your Bible looks like trying to keep your kid’s sticky fingers from messing up your pages. Maybe it is grabbing a few verses before pulling a yummy casserole out of the oven. Maybe it’s scrolling through your Bible app while bathing babies in the evening.
Whatever your daily Bible time looks like, make it a special time. If you can set a routine that works for you and that you find solace in, then it will automatically be more enjoyable. I look forward to being able to curl up in my chair and study my Bible each day. But even when there are days that I can’t do that and I have to read my Bible during my planning time at school in between meetings or phone calls, it is still a special time because it is time with the Lord. Make it special, but make it flexible. Be okay with your quiet time not necessarily being quiet.
5. Find Some Accountability
There is strength in numbers! Find a girlfriend to do a fun Bible study with, find a mentor that will check in with you daily to keep you accountable with your reading, make it a family affair and read some scripture with your kids each day. Whatever works best for you, it helps to have accountability. I am a part of a few different group texts where we share what we are reading and learning from our daily time in the Word. This is super helpful in keeping yourself accountable, but also allows you to see what others are studying so that you can go read the scriptures for yourself to see what you gain from it.
I am leading an online Bible study with some gals and I know that doing that has made me accountable to really study what God’s Word has to say. Knowing that I need to contribute to the conversation has helped me dig deep into His Word. God designed us for community and I truly believe that a fellowship with other believers makes reading your Bible more enjoyable. If your church offers small groups and you haven’t yet joined-then join! If your church doesn’t, find some ladies in your life to hold you accountable and to talk with about what God is teaching you through daily Bible reading.
Connecting with others about what the Lord is speaking to you about will really enhance your Bible reading experience. I can’t stress enough how important it is to surround yourself with fellow believers who can encourage you in your walk with the Lord. If you don’t have any groups local to you or friends that you feel comfortable with, reach out to me and I will be happy to help you in any way I can!
Well, all of this sounds great in theory, doesn’t it? These are five tips that I feel are really practical and also easy to implement that will help you in studying your Bible. They have helped me grow in my desire to study God’s Word and have helped me with my walk with Christ. I am by no means an expert, but I’m simply sharing what has worked for me and what has helped me grow a love for Bible reading when I once found it boring. Hopefully you can implement these tips and be encouraged in your Bible study. A love for reading your Bible definitely doesn’t happen overnight, but giving yourself grace and knowing that your time in the Word is personal to you will help in fostering a love for studying scripture. Have a blessed day!