I’ve tried reading through the Bible in a year. Note the emphasis on tried. Because no matter how many times I’ve started, I’ve been overwhelmed by the task, and it felt impossible to finish, especially when I hit the beloved book of Leviticus. What that book lacks in interest, it makes up for in length. And it’s there that most of my reading plans come to an abrupt halt.
The problem isn’t the length of the Bible or a lack of interest on my part. So how is it possible? Let’s learn from my mistakes and *actually* read through the Bible this year. Here are 4 tips to set yourself up for success:
1) Make it a REGULAR habit
Do you want to look back at the end of 2020 and be exactly the same person as you are today? Or do you want His Word to shape and form you? Our lives change over time, not by cataclysmic series of events but through small, everyday decisions. Reading the Bible is no exception. When we decide to make God’s Word part of our everyday lives, it changes who we are and who we become.
But does this mean we need to read the Bible every single day? Many Bible teachers recommend splitting your Bible Study into a few intentional times a week rather than a short, daily snippets. You can go deeper and develop a better understanding of what you’re reading when you take time to understand rather than rush through it. The time of day matters too. If you’re an early bird who is wide awake in the morning hours, then start your day in the Word. But if your comprehension is better midday or evening (like me), then open your Bible at a time when your’e alert. Bottom line: create a regular habit that works best for you.
2) HAVE AN Incentive
The two major factors to behavioral change are incentives and accountability (we’ll talk accountability next). In order to read through the Bible, you have to actually want to read through the Bible.
But reading, in and of itself, isn’t the reward. The incentive should be growing in spiritual maturity, understanding more of God’s Word, and falling deeper in love with God as you learn more about who He is. Whether you want to read through the whole Bible in a year, just the New Testament, or take two years to make your way through. Make time with God, not the chapters on your checklist, the ultimate incentive.
3) Find community
We all need a little accountability. Well, actually we need a lot. According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), you have a 65% chance of achieving your goal when you commit to someone. And your chances increase by up to 95% if you set specific appointments with an accountability partner. I mean, it makes sense. We were created in community. From Genesis 1:28 when our triune God said, “Let us make man in our image”, it was ingrained in our very nature to need community with God and others.
That’s why we are reading through the Bible-In-A-Year with our online community (Join the 2020 challenge here). We’re not doing this alone! There will be regular check ins with our team as we read through God’s Word and seek to better understand it together.
4) Give yourself grace
Don’t beat yourself up when you fall behind your reading schedule. The Across My Heart Chronological Reading Plan will be 5 days a week, giving you weekends to take a break or catch up when needed.
We intentionally planned this “grace period” because reading through the Bible should fill you with greater perspective of God’s grace. His law is love and His Word is not a rulebook. It’s a revelation of God’s very nature. When we read Scripture, we are being reminded of who God is. The more we know Him, the more we will grow to love Him.
The Bible Study Planner 2021Product on sale
The Chronological Reading Plan is featured in The Bible Study Planner, available on our Holiday Pop Up Shop through December 1. But, no worries, if you don’t want your own copy of The Bible Study Planner, we will be providing a downloadable reading plan to everyone in the group for free (Although, come on, we highly recommend buying the planner and supporting the ministry)!
Like I said, this will be my first time reading through the Bible in a year, and I couldn’t be more excited! If you have any favorite tips for reading through the Bible, we’d love to know! Share your thoughts below, and we hope you continue writing His Word across your heart with us in 2020.