Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list? If you are like me, you end up forgetting all the items you needed and coming home with snacks you did not need. Or, think back to your high school, college, or grad school days. Did you ever forget you had a test? Needless to say, you probably did not do well on it because you were not prepared. From the smallest tasks in life to some of the bigger ones, if we are not prepared it can make the task or project more difficult or impossible to accomplish. Consistent Bible reading is no different.
When it comes to studying God's Word, we should do our best to set ourselves up for success, not so we can get a pat on the back or because we think it makes us look favorable in God's eyes. We do it because we know life will inevitably get in the way, and the enemy will seek to derail us. We make plans and keep calendars for the things that matter to us, and being in the Word should matter more than anything.
Studying the Bible is not something we do from a place of legalism. We study God's Word because Scripture tells us, "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path" (Psalm 119:105). And also, "For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures" (Romans 15:4). Finally, Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16–17, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." We are called to live in our Bibles because it is there that we know how to face life and live it for Christ.
The authors of the Bible, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used words like "dwell," "abide," and "remain" to describe the necessity of continuous Bible study. Followers of Christ must immerse their hearts in Scripture to know truth and walk in holiness. We make a plan to be in the Word faithfully because we love our God who has proven Himself faithful through the ages. Set yourself up for success to be in the Word so you can love Jesus more, walk in His ways, and be transformed by the life-giving power of His Word.
Below are some tips to help keep you steadfast as you seek to be in Word daily.
- Schedule time for Bible reading
If you have a "to-do" list or a planner, write "Bible Reading" or "Quiet Time" as an entry. This isn't so you can check a box or strike through it when you are done, but to help keep you accountable. Your time with the Lord is more important than the laundry, teacher conference, or doctor's appointment. Keep it front and center.
- Gather your gear
You do not go hiking without the right boots or build something without the right tools. Make sure you have what you need to study the Bible in a way that is meaningful and fun. Use a good study Bible or journaling Bible. Don't leave the cool school supplies to kids only; grab some for your study time as well. Whether it is a pretty journal, fun pens and highlighters, or a cup of coffee, create a space that allows you to cozy up to the Bible and dwell on its truth.
However, it is important to note that even if you don't have a cozy space to study God's Word, any space will do. Studying God's Word brings the joy, comfort, and peace of Jesus because He meets us in our study.
- Plan ahead
As you are nearing the end of a study or reading plan, go ahead and have your next study ready to go. Nothing will derail your Bible reading faster than not knowing what to do next. This even applies if you are studying with others. Once that study ends, and the accountability of others goes away, be ready with a plan for a personal or group study.
- Set boundaries
Work, marriage, kids, and friends are all wonderful, but they have the ability to distract you from your time with the Lord. Make sure the people in your home and in your life know the importance of your time with God. In order to be the wife or husband, mom or dad, or friend God calls you to be, you need to be in His presence. Making time with Jesus sacred will preach the gospel to the people in your life and hopefully spur them on in their walk.
By scheduling time for Bible Reading, gathering the right tools, planning ahead, and setting boundaries, you will set yourself up to create a life-long habit of reading the Bible. This habit will deepen your relationship with Christ and help you in times of plenty and in times of heartache.