I want to be very clear with you.
Read your Bible.
If you claim to be a Christian, it should be unthinkable to not read your Bible.
I’m not forcing a rule on you anymore than I would be if I told you that you need to eat your dinner. If you don’t eat your dinner, you will starve.
If you don’t read your Bible, you will starve your spirit.
A Christian who has a Bible and doesn’t read it makes about as much sense as a husband who lives in different state than his wife and never communicates with her. He may be legally married, but he doesn’t know his wife. He might as well not be married.
In the same way, if you have a relationship with Jesus but never read the Bible, you might as well not have a relationship with him. The Bible is how God speaks to us. You can’t ask God to speak to you and not read the Bible.
But more than that, you will not grow as a Christian if you don’t read it. When you come to faith in Jesus, you are “born-again.” Therefore, you are a newborn baby in Christ. Now, you have to feed yourself through the Bible and grow in him to become an adult, and continue growing after that.
If you’ve been a Christian for a while now and you are still a baby in the faith, it’s probably a bad sign. It’s probably a sign you haven’t been reading the Bible, praying, and seeking Christ in your life.
The most important part of my day is when I wake up in the morning, because I rise and I open the Word. I read it and listen for God to speak. And he begins to work on me like a surgeon on his patient. I have a problem: Sin. God, the Great Surgeon is repairing me one day at a time and that repairing usually happens as I am in the Word.
So, if you don’t usually read the Bible, do it right now. Read the tips I have below for Bible reading, close the Internet, and open the Bible.
Here are some tips that really help me in Bible reading.
1. Discipline yourself
You’ve got to make yourself do it. Some days I wake up excited to read the Bible. However, some days, I really don’t want to do it. I’d rather surf the web or watch TV. But reading the Bible is a spiritual discipline. You have to discipline yourself to do it, no matter how you feel.
2. Always have it with you
I try to always have a copy of God’s Word with me. It’s usually one of the things I leave the house with. If I don’t have a physical copy with me, I have about 4 different Bible apps on my phone that I can use. So, if I am out and I get free time, I can read the Word. If I end up in the waiting room at the mechanic or the hospital, I can read the Word. If I show up for a lunch meeting early or the person I am meeting is running late, I can read the Word.
3. Don’t make it a one time a day thing.
I try to read the Bible more than one time a day. I always read it in the morning. I have certain portions of the Bible that I am always going through, so I spend time in that during the morning. But as I have grown in my love for the Word, I am constantly making mental notes of things that I’d like to study. Sometimes, I spend a little time in it during the afternoon. And then, usually, I open it up at night, read a Psalm, and meditate on it before going to bed.
4. You have time
Some don’t read the Bible because they don’t have time. This has even been an excuse of mine before. However, recently, I examined if I really don’t have time and my conclusion was shocking. After doing the math, I found that I have 82 hours free during a week! The truth is, we have a lot of free time, we just waste it. We allow hours to go by looking at our phone, watching television, keeping up with fantasy sports teams, or studying things that are less important. If we snap out of it, we realize that we have a ton of time to read the Bible, we just spend it on other things.
Don’t just read the Bible. Think about what you read. I used to read a lot of the Bible and spend very little time thinking about it. I thought I accomplished something with God because I got 10 chapters of the Bible read in the morning. But I really didn’t digest any of what I read. Now, I usually read a chapter or two and then just sit and think about the passage, asking myself questions about it. What does it say about Jesus? What does it say about sin? How does it apply to me? How does it apply to this current situation in my life? The same that you would take time for your food to digest before getting in the swimming pool, let what you’ve read in the Bible digest.
I love Romans 8. In my senior year of college, I set out to memorize the whole chapter. And I did it. Do you know what I realized when I memorized it? I understood it better. I don’t know how memorizing it helped me to understand it, but it did. Suddenly, parts were clear to me that hadn’t been before. As you read through the Bible, pick out passages that really speak to you and memorize them. There is a great app that I use to memorize called Scripture Typer.
7. Pray through it
As you read the Bible, you should pray as well. I typically read a couple chapters in the morning and then center a good portion of my prayers on the passage that I read. For example, this morning, I read Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son. So a good portion of my prayer time was praising God for being a God who saves and rejoices at the repentance of a sinner. I am a sinner, so it brings me joy that he does that. Use Scripture to mold your prayers.
8. Don’t use substitutes.
There are a lot of good books out there about the Bible. I have two bookshelves full of them. As much as I love Francis Chan or David Platt, none of their books can be a substitute for the Bible. I can read them in addition to the Bible, but never by themselves. You can’t spend your time with God by reading a John Piper book. It needs to be the Bible itself. There are a lot of good devotional books out there that have a verse at the top on a page and then a text from the author about that verse. Don’t even use those just by themselves. It is like eating fast food instead of a home cooked meal. You won’t get the spiritual nutrients you need.
There is no substitute for opening the Bible, reading it, listening for God to speak, and allowing him to work on your heart.