I was raised in a Christian home my entire life. I cannot remember a time when I was not in church as a child. This was both a great testament to the Faith and dedication of my parents, but also a hindrance to my own spiritual growth. I cannot remember the date that I got saved. I do remember I was in second grade, because I invited my second grade teacher to my baptism. However, like many who accept Christ at a young age, it did not impact my life significantly.
I took my salvation for granted.
I rededicated my life to God at a church camp when I was 13. My oldest daughter who was saved and baptized when she was 6 just did the same. I hope to keep her on a better trajectory than I took.
By time I hit my 20s, I again took my salvation for granted. I still went to church, but it became more sporadic. I blamed my poor attendance on not being able to find a good church after my childhood church hired a new pastor who took the church in a direction I disagreed with. I began engaging in some bad behaviors even after I finally got married at the tender age of 26. My wife and I continued searching for a church, but did not really engage.
We then moved to Las Vegas and found a church we really enjoyed. It was there that, once again, we both rededicated our lives to Christ after some turmoil in our relationship. Shortly after, I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and had an epiphany. I spent so much time reading research papers and going to class, but so little time in Scripture.
I needed to read my Bible, but I did not know how. After 25 years of salvation, I still did not understand how to learn about God.
I want to help you do better than I did.
- You first need to take account of how much time you spend watching movies, tv, and Netflix, reading non-Christian books, playing video games, watching or reading the news, etc. You might not take Bible reading seriously until you realize that we spend a ridiculous amount of time doing everything but reading Scripture. Once I understood that for myself, reading a couple chapters a day did not seem to difficult.
- Get an actual study Bible. I use the Ruckman Reference Bible, but Dr. Ruckman can be a little too intense for some people. The Thompson chain and Ryrie study Bibles are also pretty good. Just remember that whichever you use, the notes are written by men and men are fallible. Also, I recommend using a King James Version. I know it is not popular to do so anymore, but there is a reason why it is the only English version of the Bible to last for over 400 years and why all other versions are compared to it – it’s the best.
- I found a Bible app on my phone and looked for a “Bible in a year” plan. After my first read through, I actually marked my physical study Bible so that I could keep the one-year plan without needing the app. I would suggest skipping reading on the app and just mark down the plan in your Bible. If reading the Bible from start to finish is too difficult (because Leviticus- Deuteronomy can get tedious), I would suggest starting with Genesis, Proverbs, and the New Testament until you get comfortable with the language and style of the Scripture.
- Pick a time of day that suits you. I prefer first thing in the morning as it seems to put me in a better frame of mind throughout the day. Pray for wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and application of Scripture throughout the day.
- After your daily study, follow up with reading a chapter of a Christian book on whatever subject interests you. If your church has a bookstore, pick up something from there. You can also ask your pastor for recommendations. Reading additional material really helps for application of Scripture to topics you might encounter in a random conversation, or you can begin to master otherwise confusing subjects and help other Christians who have questions or concerns. I started by reading Clarence Larkin’s Dispensational Truth, which does a great job with explaining different dispensations – or ages – in the Bible.
- Do the same the next day, then the next, then the next . . .
Do not be discouraged if you still struggle to recall exact references or stories. The more time you spend reading and studying, the quicker you will improve your ability to ballpark where a story is, and eventually will be able to pinpoint its location in Scripture.
I have kept this pattern up for six years, and I feel much more confident in Scripture now than I have ever been. Though I still fail on many occasions to quote verses from memory, I have a greater understanding of Biblical concepts and doctrines. I also find myself becoming more interested in a wider range of theological concepts. I have started listening to sermons from respected preachers on YouTube rather than watching political shows.
It has been life changing. So, if you are like me and have been a Christian for years but have yet to really feel like you’ve reached your spiritual potential, give this plan a shot. It takes a little while to get into the groove, but once you fully engage with the Bible, you will find that God will increase your interest in getting to know Him and you will feel a strong conviction to connect with Christ if you miss a few consecutive days of study.
It takes about 15-20 minutes a day to read through the Bible in a year. Is that too much of a sacrifice for you? With a Bible app, you can read on your lunch break. There is also an audio option and you can listen to Scripture in your car on the way to work or school.
It can be done, and it is well worth it.