Did you start the year off with a rock solid commitment to sticking to your Bible reading plan? If you did then it’s possible that you are already struggling to keep up. You might be experiencing some false guilt and in your effort to get your chapters read you may also be loosing out on what God is really saying to you.
Not long ago I gave you some tips on how to make sure you applying God’s Word to your life. The tips below will help to strengthen your Bible reading and make sure you are understanding what God is telling you in his Word!
Read the introductions
What I’m talking about is the 2 or 3 page introductions to each book of the Bible that you might find in the NIV Study Bible or The MacArthur Study Bible. Obviously these aren’t inspired but they do help us understand things like the history, cultural setting, main themes and author of each book.
Read longer sections
Most reading plans have you reading 3-5 chapters each day. That’s great, however, most books of the Bible weren’t really meant to be read that way. Consider this, the Book of Acts has about 18,000 words in most English translations. The average adult reads about 250 words a minute. That means you could read through the entire book of Acts in less time than it takes you to watch a movie!
Read outloud or listen
Listen while you’re doing something else
This may sound odd but it works. Don’t think that you have to sit in a chair with your Bible in your lap while listening to your audio Bible! (although you can if you want to.) There is scientific evidence that says our brains are able to assimilate information better when our bodies are busy doing something else. I like to listen while I’m doing the dishes, vacuuming, walking or even working out!
Read in a different translation
Sometimes you just need to change things up again. You may believe that the NASB or KJV best represent the original meaning, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t try other versions, even a paraphrase! Putting God’s Word into contemporary languages helps us better understand how the text relates to us.
Ask the right questions
If you don’t ask questions while reading then you’re really not engaging your mind! Here are few good questions to start with:
- Who is the main character?
- What main problem is this text addressing?
- Who was this written to?
- What does this teach me about God’s character?
- What principles can I apply to my life?
Those should get you started be feel free to add more, a lot more!
Sometimes we need to forget about our Bible reading plan and stop and re-read, once, twice, as many times as we need. I often re-read a text dozens of times every day in preparation for preaching. It gives the mind time to process and the results can be amazing!