For so many years I operated on the belief that I should make time to read the scriptures. But what I never really realized was that the point of reading the scriptures wasn’t just about reading them, only. I had to understand the real reasons why I needed to read it . I also needed to come to grips with what was actually preventing me from doing it.
Why do we read scripture?
I became a Christian at the tender age of seven, and with it came a passion to live for God and share it with others. However, my Bible, found a home on top of my dresser, only to be picked up on Sunday morning. I knew that I should read the Bible and with that I often felt guilt about it because I just couldn’t seem to create a daily habit of reading the scriptures.
As a young Christian, I knew that we read the scriptures because:
- It is the basis for our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
- It is the Word of God, sharper than any double edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12)
These were great reasons to read the scriptures, but there were so many more benefits to reading the Bible every day that I was completely unaware of. I didn’t really understand the importance of reading the scriptures and how it was a huge part of what would help me to grow a stronger faith. And likewise to find peace, strength, and confidence to be a strong Christian woman.
Because I didn’t fully understand why I needed to read the scriptures every day, over the years, the light of my faith grew dim. I didn’t really love my life and I as an adult I just kind of let life happen. I graduated from school and went off to college to play softball. At times in my early years of being an adult, I felt weary and overwhelmed, and I found security in knowing that I was a Christian, but when life was disappointing, often it got the better of me.
All along, the Holy Spirit was continuing to work in my heart, depositing a longing for a deeper faith and reading the scriptures daily. He used resources and experiences to draw me to the heart of God.
In my times of floundering, occasionally, I would be encouraged by reading daily devotionals because they were quick and simple. I’d find hope—but it wouldn’t last long before I would feel the same way again. Why? I was seeking the Lord. In the midst of it all was that still small voice, prompting my heart to simply read the scriptures.
Honestly, I really wanted to, but why was it so hard? No matter what I tried, I felt like I would fail over and over again. Until something changed my mind to inspire me to do whatever I could do to create a habit of reading the Bible every day.
Why is it so hard to read the scriptures?
Everything started to change in the summer of my junior year in college. Here’s what happened.
I was standing behind the pulpit, facing over 150 people, rubbing my hands feverishly because I was so incredibly nervous. It was my turn to share with my home church what God had been up to in my life that summer. Three months of traveling around the midwest with a ministry team and I was scared to share.
God had convicted my heart and it was confession time.
I took a deep breath and started by saying, “This summer, God, through the Holy Spirit really convicted me that His Word was the most important book I’ll ever need. I loved books. I loved God with all of my heart, but what I didn’t love was reading the scriptures.”
It finally came down to this hard but true reality. The reason that I struggled with reading the scriptures daily—okay let’s be honest—at all—was because I didn’t really believe reading the scriptures was worth my time.
With what seemed like confession with the whole world, came the start of change. But I had a problem—I didn’t know what to do. But God’s gentle words to my heart, “Sonya, the most important book that you’ll ever need is my book”—those words were gentle, soft, and an invitation with an outstretched hand letting me know that He wasn’t going to leave me alone in my journey. He was offering me renewal unlike anything I had ever experienced. Living renewal—lasting renewal—found only in is Word.
How was I supposed to do it?
For one, I was busy! How could I read something and actually understand what I was reading? I’d like to say that I jumped into reading scripture daily immediately and was able to stick with it. But it wasn’t that way at all. It was still hard. I think it was like two years before I was able to get into a consistent rhythm of reading the scriptures every day. That’s not what you wanted to read, I get it, but during those two years, I began to recognize more and more that when I was in God’s Word daily—I was better. I was stronger.
God gave me a few mentors over those years to help me know what to do, but there was one thing that finally helped me to see progress. I only wish someone would’ve been able to help me figure it out sooner. And that’s why I’m sharing it with you.
How to Read the Scriptures Successfully
Aside from not really believing that reading the scriptures was worth my time, I started to understand that it wasn’t so simple to just “read the scriptures”. There was the practical side of things like actually setting aside time and having some sort of plan. I didn’t want to just randomly grab my Bible and open it up anywhere and start reading—although some people do this because they don’t know what to do.
It may seem simple but there’s actually a lot that we don’t think about when we set out to read the scriptures. Breaking down all of the things involved, there’s creating the habit of reading the scriptures, understanding what you’re reading, studying them, memorizing and meditating on what you’re reading, not to mention spiritual warfare.
I think part of the reason reading the scriptures was so hard for me, in addition to spiritual warfare, is that I was trying to do all of it. And maybe that is true for you too? Have you ever thought about reading the scriptures and all that is involved?
Things finally started to stick for me when I took things one step at a time. For me I just started with creating a habit and reading.
STEP 1 – Creating the Habit of Reading the Scriptures Daily
- Set aside time to read the scriptures and a place that is consistent.
- Have a reading plan for where to start reading.
- Follow the plan to create the habit and simply read the scripture.
Once I established the daily habit of reading the scriptures, then I could work on the next steps. (While I’ve numbered these steps, step 3, 4, and 5, could be pursued in any order.)
STEP 2 – Comprehension
STEP 3 – Bible Study
STEP 4 – Meditation
STEP 5 – Memorization
What about you? Does this resonate with you?
For me it was like an “aha” moment when I finally realized that part of the reason I was continuing to fail over and over again was because I was setting myself up to fail. I couldn’t do all of that by myself and God wasn’t expecting me to do all of it either. He simply wanted me to seek Him first. The same is true for you. Some people start with reading a scripture app, or reading scripture online, and although these can be helpful, they tend to also invite distractions. So that is why I would recommend that you have a Bible Reading or Scripture Plan that is printed.
Read the Scripture Plan in a PDF
As I’ve shared with you why and how I make time to read the scriptures, I also want to get into your hands the very thing that helped me to establish a habit of reading the Bible every single day. It’s a read the scripture plan in an easy PDF called The Daily Bible Reading Quick Start Guide.