Most Christians want to spend more time with God’s Word, but often find that it is a struggle to get started or keep going with their Bible reading. There are a lot of possible reasons for that struggle, but it isn’t inevitable, and there are definitely things that we can do to make sure we stay engaged with our Bibles.
One powerful thing that can keep us coming back to our Bibles every day is if we actually enjoy the time that we spend in the Bible. Obviously, the Bible isn’t something that is meant to entertain us, but one of the most important ways that we can find joy in studying the Bible is when we feel like we have actually, authentically connected with God’s voice through the Scriptures and feel like we know what he is calling us to do in our daily life. Even if God is calling us to do hard things, it is enjoyable to know that you’ve made that real connection with the Creator.
Here are four things that I’ve found that make it much more likely for me to enjoy and benefit from my time with the Bible:
1. Make a Plan and Stick to It
The first key is the most important one for me, personally. The essential thing is to have a plan in place for the day’s reading before I even sit down with my Bible. In the past, I have used formal reading plans like the One Year Bible or, when I’m really feeling ambitious, the Bible in 90 Days. These days, I just have a set time (20 minutes) and place (my kitchen table with a fresh cup of coffee), and I am making my way straight through the Bible at that pace. Some days, I read one chapter multiple times; today, I read the last 6 chapters of Isaiah. But I stick to the plan every day.
2. Get Rid of Distractions
Distractions from Bible reading can come in many forms. They can be environmental; maybe you need to get out of the house to find a quiet place. The distractions could also come directly from the Bible you are using, if it is a study Bible filled with notes and pictures or a Bible app on your smartphone, with notifications and the temptations of email, Facebook, etc., just a tap away. I have found that using a simple print Bible with nothing but the text of Scripture to be the best way for me to give the Bible my undivided attention.
3. Get Quick Access to Helps
Sometimes, the biggest barrier to enjoying your time with the Bible is that you don’t really understand what it is saying, or what it might mean for your life. At times like this, you need quick access to something that will help you, but won’t send you on a wild goose chase or down infinite rabbit trails. My favorite tool for this is the Filament Bible app, which works with my simple print Bible. I just pull out my phone, scan the page, and it instantly connects me to study notes, devotionals, and more just for that page. Once I get answers to my questions, I put my phone right back in my pocket and dive back into the text.
4. Add Video and Interactive Visuals
If you want to connect around the Bible with others rather than by yourself, videos and interactive visuals can be a great way to do that well. Again, this is where I pull out my iPhone and bring the Filament Bible app into my time with the Bible. Just scan the page, and you get access to videos from the Bible Project and interactive maps and infographics that will help you dive deeper into the meaning of the text and learn things. These are great ways to launch conversations with your family or friends around the Bible, and when you all connect with God’s Word together, that’s something everyone will enjoy!
Keith Willams is passionate about helping people know and love God better, specifically by creating Bibles that are designed to build as many bridges toward understanding as possible for modern readers. He has been working with Bibles at Tyndale House Publishers since 2005. After twelve years working in editorial on projects including the award-winning Chronological Life Application Study Bible and Swindoll Study Bible, he has been leading the Filament Bible project since its inception in 2015.