It's January 4. You want to become more disciplined in your Bible reading, but you're 4 days into the new year and you're already 3 days behind on your new reading plan.
Been there before? I have. As believers, we want to be in the Word (or at least, we should). We want to reap the benefits of taking in Scripture day by day, but sometimes we struggle with follow-through. I want to give you some quick tips today for establishing the holy habit of Bible reading in your life in 2021.
A. Be realistic
If you've never really done a consistent devotional or aren't an avid reader, a 365-day plan covering 5-7 chapters per day might be setting the bar a little too high. Yes, that's a goal to work toward, but consider taking some realistic smaller steps first. For instance, set small goals which you can accomplish quickly to help you establish the routine. Pick a shorter book in Scripture like 1 John, James, or Philippians. Read a chapter a day and in a week you will have finished your first goal. Once you've worked up to that goal, move to a larger goal like longer books (Genesis, Luke, etc.) or sections of Scripture (the letters of Paul, the Gospels, etc.).
B. Make a commitment
Being realistic doesn't mean you don't challenge yourself. Push yourself. Don't be content to haphazardly read Scripture any longer. Discipline demands sacrifice but results in reward.
C. Create a routine.
The more often I create a routine, the more often I succeed. For instance, I do best with exercise when I make the habit of going every morning at the exact same time, rain or shine. The same is true in my devotional life - routine leads to success. If Bible reading is important, then create a routine that helps you accomplish it. Set up a place in your home especially for studying your Bible. Read at the same time every day (if possible). Every time you sit down, follow the same simple pattern (pray, read, pray). One of our senior saints told me once that when her daughter was a child, she said, "I always know where I can find Mom in the mornings - sitting in her spot reading her Bible." Routines work.
D. Use technology
I know for some of you, technology feels like a curse. You wish you still had your VCR and your iPhone gives you fits. If that's you, then you might disregard this point. I don't want to create more frustration in your life. But if you're pretty handy with a smart phone, then use it to your spiritual advantage. There are a host of tremendous apps available (some paid and some free) that give you access to great biblical resources (plans, commentaries, audio Bibles, etc.). Use them! Three of my personal favorites: the ESV Bible app (my favorite translation plus several reading plans), the YouVersion Bible app (tons of plans and audio versions of just about every translation), and Dwell (a tremendous audio Bible app - though this app requires a subscription).