It’s the new year and if you’re like me, you’re starting a Bible reading plan! Apps like YouVersion make it so easy to pick a reading plan for the year – especially one for reading through the whole Bible. I love these, because reading through the entire Bible will help you see the big picture (or metanarrative) of the gospel, but it will also force you to read books you might otherwise skip over! I am entering my fourth year reading through the Bible (chronologically this time – my second time this way!) and it’s something I always encourage, even if it takes you longer than a year!
The struggle, though, comes about three months in, when you’re up against Leviticus or Deuteronomy and having a hard time being consistent. You start to tune out. You don’t see the text as applicable, or you don’t understand what it means, so you listen to the audio or skim-read it without really digging into the meaning. Pretty soon your mind is disengaged and you quit the plan altogether.
Sound familiar? I’ve been there!
The reason I want you to successfully finish your Bible reading plan isn’t so you can check it off your life goals list. And it’s not to add a to-do to your daily planner. I want you to finish your reading plan – in a year or two years or heck, even three years! – because getting the big picture of the gospel straight from God’s Word is so important to your walk with Him! The more you understand Scripture in its context, the stronger your faith in Jesus will be. And the stronger your faith, the greater your life impact for the kingdom of God.
So how do you successfully finish a Bible reading plan?
Let’s Define “Successfully”
I want to remove the timeframe from your reading plan for a moment. While reading through the Bible in a year is a great goal, it can be a lot of reading for one day. Especially if you haven’t done this before or if you already struggle to be consistent, a year might be too fast for you, and that’s okay. What matters is that you are in the Word regularly!
So rather than define “successfully completing a Bible reading plan” as reading through the whole Bible in a year, perhaps you need to reframe your goal in one of these ways:
- Read or listen to the Bible every day, and do deeper study and notetaking at least three days a week.
- Read through the entire Bible in two years, splitting the year-long plan’s selected readings in half each day.
- Read through each book of the Bible in order, but take as long as you choose on each book.
You have freedom in how to do this. The point is to be in the Word itself (not a Christian devotional), learning how to study it and take away the truths.
Getting in the Word Daily
When I share my Bible study routine, many people ask me HOW I do deep study every day as a work at home mom with two small children, ministry in my church, a community to invest in, and a home to run. The answer? I don’t do deep study every day!
I first heard about this from Jen Wilkin (who wrote the book Women of the Word which every female Christian MUST OWN AND READ). She recommended that moms of young children not stress over doing hour-long research, study, and notetaking every day, but rather that they do lighter study days or audio Bible, with 3-4 days of deeper study throughout the week. This method has worked very well for me, and I think it applies to more than just young moms.
My goal – and I hope yours, too – is to be in the Word every day. Sometimes that is reading a Psalm and praying over a particular verse, writing it down and keeping it wherever I can see it so I can memorize it, pray it back to the Lord, and pray it over others. Other times it’s listening to my daily passage on audio three times over. But at least 3 days a week (my goal is five) I am sitting down with my Bible, my Well Watered Women Give Me Jesus journal, my prayer journal, and some pens to dive as deep as I can into the passage I’m reading.
Sometimes I do this with my daughters crawling at my feet (read more on quiet times for moms here). Other times I’m up early enough and the morning went as planned so I can do it at 6:30, post-workout and shower. But my goal is to be in the Word daily, however that looks. I don’t read any devotionals or Christian living books until after I have been in the Word itself.
Need help learning how to study the Bible and need encouragement along the way? Join my free Bible study jump start email course below!
What About When I Get Off Plan?
The key to getting in the Word and staying in the Word?
Don’t stress when you get off the plan.
Just start up again with the next day’s reading. If you’re in 1 Kings and the story isn’t making sense, back up a chapter to get some context. But don’t get derailed by missing a day! Just start right where the plan has you.
REMEMBER: This is not about a perfect “streak” of reading. When I teach on productivity, I tell my girls: Forget about the streak. That’s not what this is about. If you want to see change in your walk with God, the point is a heart that desires to seek Him, not a 30-day check list of Bible reading done.
If you want to successfully dive deeper in your faith this year, dedicate yourself to getting in the Word daily. Get the tools you need to do it. Place them in a convenient place by creating a Bible study corner in your home. Set an alarm for 15 minutes early.
And remember: You’re not the only one showing up.
He meets you there.