Dear Christian Sister,
I love to read. I’ve always been a bookworm. My parents are both teachers who read to me and then encouraged me to read as I grew up. I carried a book with me pretty much everywhere, and to this day, I very often have a paperback in my bag. I have two bookcases in my apartment with just a small sample of all the books I’ve read. I have two shelves dedicated to books that I want to read. (Not to mention the stacks on both nightstands and the stack on my dresser.) Fiction, non-fiction, theology, even a few medical texts left over from college.
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but at the beginning of this year, I made 2 reading goals:
1 – Read an average of 2 books each month, 24 for the year, and
2 – Read through the Bible again
Do you read your Bible every day? It can be really difficult to start and maintain a new habit. But isn’t reading your Bible one of the most important things you can do? Out of all the books I have stacked up to read and all the books I’ve read in my 28 years, the Bible is the single most important, life-changing, educational book I have ever or will ever read. It is unique because it has eternal significance.
There are two ways that God teaches us about who He is: through general and specific (or special) revelation. General revelation is God’s revelation through nature & the cosmos, while specific revelation refers to how God reveals His truth and character through the Bible. (Click here for more on general vs specific revelation.) The Bible is the inspired, infallible, and authoritative Word of God. For Christians, the Bible is the ultimate standard by which we judge the ideas and cultural events of our time.
The Word of God is important because God reveals His attributes directly through the stated words of the authors, as well as through the themes that run throughout the Scripture. The very first sentence of the Bible reads, “In the beginning, God created…” In this phrase alone, we learn that God existed before the beginning and that He created. This phrase teaches us that He is both all-powerful and eternal. The words of the Bible go on to tell us that He is holy, He is love, He is faithful. (By no means is this list exhaustive. It doesn’t even scratch the surface of the character of God, but I can’t type for eternity.)
Not only does the Bible tell us who God is, but it tells us who we are. We learn about sin and our standing before the Lord. It is very humbling to look closely at the human heart. In Scripture, we can see our own wickedness and our desperate need for a savior. We also see how we are unique, precious beings, created by God to glorify Him. In Scripture, we learn about our identity in Christ.
It is also through God’s Word that we learn of His plan of redemption. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us; to pay a debt we could never pay ourselves, that we might be made right with the Father and have eternal life in Him. His Son is risen and seated at the right hand of the Father. One day, Jesus will redeem the entirety of Creation. Scripture tells us that Christ will return and establish a new heavens & a new earth.
Scripture also teaches us what God has commanded and how we should respond. It gives us instructions and examples of how we should order our lives, how we should treat one another, how we are to obey Him as we live together. The Bible gives us all that is necessary for life in a fallen world. In his second letter to Peter, Paul writes, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17).
If you don’t read your Bible, how will you have a defense for what you believe? How will you be able to discern false teaching from truth? You have to know what the Bible says in order to defend it, and you have to know what the Bible says to guard against false teachers. Scripture actually gives believers a specific responsibility to know what we believe and to defend our faith. 1 Peter says, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (3:15).
When you read the Bible, you learn the truths of God and as you continue in the discipline of daily reading, these truths come off the pages and impact you mind, your heart, and your behaviors. The Bible has the power to change the human heart. The book of Hebrews tells us, “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). When you read the Bible daily, you orient your heart toward the Lord. The Word of God is a tool He uses to change your heart and draw you closer to Himself. Through His Word, God gives us His wisdom. He sanctifies us and transforms us more and more into the likeness of Christ.
The Bible is the most important book you will ever read, and you have a whole lifetime to read it!
That being said, don’t put it off. Start today. Don’t wait for the beginning of the new year, or even a new month. If you skip a day or get out of the habit for a long stretch of time, start again today, right where you left off! Find a plan and a routine that works for you! You don’t have to read the entire Bible in a year. Depending on your season of life, one or two chapters a day may be all you can fit in. Just get started.
There are tons of different Bible reading plans out there and several apps to make starting a new habit easier and to keep you on track. I’ve even seen some Bibles with a plan for reading in the back with the glossary.
I like to use the Youversion Bible app and listen to the NASB translation audio while I get ready for work in the morning. I’m reading through the Bible this year with a few other women at my church. We are using the M’Cheyne plan. Typically, it’s 4-5 chapters a day and always from both the Old & New Testaments. When we finish the day’s passages, we send a single emoji on our group text message. It has been a great way to keep each other accountable as well as a built-in reminder to read each day. Not to mention, we are reading the same passages and can ask each other questions and discuss things that we find.
There are so many options out there. Here are just a few other plans and Bible reading resources:
The Youversion Bible app has many different reading plans pre-loaded into the app
BibleGateway also has an app with pre-loaded reading plans
Here’s a link to a Bible Reading Challenge that people from all over the world are participating in together. It was created by members of a church in Idaho and has quite a large following. (If you are familiar with Rachel Jankovic, author of “You, Who?”, this is her home church.)
I use the M’Cheyne reading plan. You can print out a calendar if you prefer to use a hard copy and physical Bible instead of an app
Ligonier Ministries also has a list of different plans, here.