I resolve to lose weight every year from 1st January. Therefore, I can eat and drink what I like in the ten days prior, knowing I’m going to be treating my body like a temple (soon). When 1st January rolls around, my diet and exercise regime can last anything from a few days to a few months. It’s my little annual tradition that I like to keep.
Here’s a resolution that I’ve managed to keep though – I read my Bible pretty much every day. And its the best resolution I ever made. I didn’t make it at New Year but I thought I’d tell you how I go about it as New Year seems as good a time as any.
I’ve written before about some tools I use but while you’re thinking about starting fresh, here’s what I do and the amount of time it takes me.
I used to read my Bible at night when the house was quiet. But I realised that my kids then never saw me do it. Reading the Bible every day was an important thing to be normalised for them and modelled to them. But I am not a morning person.
So I started praying to God to help me get up earlier. And one day, I did. I got up half an hour earlier. I sat at the dining table with my Bible propped up and with iPad handy so I can listen and read at the same time, and of course, coffee – and so far, I haven’t just kept doing it, I’ve been enjoying it more and more.
Listening and reading at the same time helps me focus, and it means the kids are less likely to interrupt (just silent reading has, and is, never a bar to a barrage of questions about socks, snacks and games). The added bonus is that they too are hearing God’s word as they tootle about in the morning. I use the Dwell Bible app, pick a voice that sounds good and speed it up so the audio matches my reading speed.
I read through the Bible in 6 months. So I follow the Bible in 1-year plan and listen to 2 every day. This takes approximately 25-30 minutes every day. When I did it in one year, it took 10-15 minutes of reading every day.
Why is it the best thing I resolved to do?
- My knowledge of the Bible as a book – my Bible fluency – is increasing.
- My kids see and hear my Bible reading and see me praying every day.
- I am able to see the arc of the whole Bible more clearly
- I am getting more familiar with the details that I never noticed before
- My confidence with the Bible is increasing
- There is a lot of understanding gained from the transition between books – for example, to go from the description of the fall of Jerusalem at the end of Jeremiah to the poetry of how people felt in their suffering over it in Lamentations is profound. To go from the future promise at the end of Malachi, into the promise fulfilled at the beginning of Matthew is exhilarating
- It starts my day in a positive and energising way – I definitely notice the difference when I don’t do it
- I feel closer to God as I am with him every day in word and prayer
And here’s the most important points: First, Start. Just start. If you’re worried its too much, start with the New Testament. But just start.
Second, Persevere. There are sections of the Bible that are boring. There. I said it. But persevere – because as Bible fluency and confidence grows, even the boring bits yield their gems.
Third, if you find you stall, go back to point 1 and Start again. Pick it up where you stalled and get going again.
And throughout, pray. I ask God all the time for perseverance, or help to get through the boring bits, to help me want to get up earlier in the morning. Pray for everything.
Because it’s worth it.