If you reflect on the course of your life, you’ll likely discover that your best influences, whether parents, family, friends, church, books, mentors, were those who ultimately changed you by pointing you back to God’s Word.
My parents did the same for me.
I remember first reading through the Bible in one year at age 7, when my parents provided a $50 incentive if I would do so. Little did I realize at the time how priceless that habit would become.
As a young boy, I memorized chapters with my family. Then, at age 14, I began memorizing and studying the Bible on my own.
Around the turn of this New Year, I set Bible reading, memorization, and study goals for 2019. I’m sure many of you did the same.
As the excitement of a New Year with new goals wears off, we must continually battle distraction, drudgery, and spiritual lethargy.
In this post, I’ll share 5 practical tips to help you revolutionize your Bible reading this year. May these truths both challenge and equip you to emerge from 2019 a more victorious Christian.
1. Discover the Purpose of Bible Reading
Understanding why enables the disciple to persist when the going gets tough. Continually, the Christian opens the Bible to know God, to reflect His image and glory, and to do His will. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
As the earth revolves around the Sun, so should our lives orbit round the Son of God, who is the reason and divine energy for life. His Word reveals His character, salvation, and plan for our lives. The Bible is the “more sure Word of prophecy” (II Peter 1:19) giving us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3).
In truth, the Bible is more than pages and text, it is a relationship. The critic may pick apart God’s Word for decades, but will never truly understand the Word of God till he meets the God of the Word.
2. Read in Delight, Not Simply Duty
Truth is, you will not always feel like opening your Bible each morning. Yet you must read, because God’s Word is your spiritual food (Matthew 4:4).
The more you read God’s Word, the more you should desire to say with David, “How sweet are they words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103). “Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; year, above fine gold (Psalm 119:127).
Delight causes you to treasure God’s Word far above all other books, pleasures, and pursuits. In the end, those who approach God’s Word with sheer joy and gratitude will glean the most from its pages.
3. Acknowledge Your Helplessness Apart From God’s Word
Without the Word of God, we would be left to grope in the dark, devoid of an objective standard for life. God’s Word “is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).
You must have God’s Word, for if it does not direct your life, then emotions or the whims of popular culture will.
Hebrews 4:12 declares, “For the Word of God is quick [living] and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
4. Unlock the Blessings of Meditation
The richest spiritual blessings come to those who fully soak up the Word of God through meditation. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth He meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:2-3).
To meditate means “to mull on” or to “ponder by talking to oneself.” As a cow repeatedly chews her cud, so we should extract maximum spiritual nutrition from every verse.
It’s not enough to read scripture each morning; you must ponder it throughout the day.
5. Persist in Commitment
Today’s culture rewards instant gratification. Xbox, McDonalds, Netflix, microwaves, and Amazon Prime all scream “now is best!”
Placing a finger on the pulse of today’s generation, Richard Taylor aptly observed, “Discipline is what moderns need the most and want the least.”
Unlike fast-food, the meat of God’s Word cannot be microwaved. Like any relationship, your walk with God requires time, care, and persistence.
As you commit to Bible reading in 2019, you probably won’t see demonstrable improvement from today to yesterday. However, if you daily delight in God’s Word, you can reflect in one year or ten years from now and discover how much God has transformed you through His Word.
QUESTION: Why do you read God’s Word? How will you delight in God’s Word more this year than last year?