I remember the very first book I read. It was an old pulp novel from the 1980’s. I was in trouble for something and my mother handed it to me just before doling out my punishment: grounded for a week. Little did I know then that this was the perfect storm leading me toward a voracious appetite for reading. I had a week suddenly free of distraction. I had an interesting book. And I had plenty of alone time.
So I read and I did not stop reading until the book ended. Although the quality of this particular novel was certainly suspect, it helped me move from being a non-reader to an avid reader. When I became a believer a few years later, this appetite for reading did not translate to reading the Bible. I would read all kinds of books about the Bible. I would read all kinds of books by Christian authors. But there was something about the Bible that made it more difficult for me to engage. As every believer knows, the Word of God is not just a book. Reflect on Hebrews 4:12:
“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (CSB)
The more we read the Word the more the Word reads us. And this process is much more life-changing than reading any novel or biography or self-help book. It’s the living Word of God. So how can we make reading the Bible easier. That is not to say we should dumb down our reading or treat it as an assignment. But how do we engage with scripture so that we develop into consistent readers and doers of the Word? Here are three ways to make bible engagement easier:
Follow A Doable Plan.
If you are like me, perhaps you have tried to read through the Bible in a year. An admirable goal to be sure. While some are able to make it happen, many simply get lost in the wilderness around Leviticus a few months into the plan. The last thing we want to do is become a box checker, skimming pages of the Bible as we try to succeed with a rigorous goal. But having a plan doesn’t have to be difficult. What we need is a doable plan. A doable plan will look different for different people. If you don’t struggle at all with reading consistently, then maybe a read through the Bible in a year five chapter a day plan is best for you. For the rest of us, a plan to read less and digest more is the perfect way to ensure we succeed. The reality is that we rarely apply the little we do know about the Word. So having a plan that is a chapter or two a day doesn’t mean we won’t be impacted as much as those who read several chapters a day. The truth is, we could read the same sentence in the Word every day for a week, and the depths of God’s Word would continue to grow as we engage with it more. Regardless of your plan, the goal is that you have one. Find one that works for you and follow it.
Take Advantage of Tech.
There are ups and downs to technology, but one of the wins is that there are a ton of Bible reading apps. Whether you want a Bible app like YouVersion, or a study Bible with commentary like the CSB Study Bible app, or a journaling app for sharing your readings with others like the Replicate app, you have tons of options! As an auditory learner, I prefer having the Bible read to me. Many Bible apps support this feature and have zero cost. You can listen to Scripture as you get ready for your day, during your daily commute, or even as a family together after supper. There are plenty of ways to engage the Word with technology, find what works for you and implement.
Don’t Go It Alone.
Bible reading is much easier when you are on the journey with others. You might be surprised at how effective positive peer pressure to read the Bible is when you have committed to joining others in the process. Sometimes it is the only thing that motivates me to read on a particular day when I am tired, running behind, and have so many other things to do. I have found that having a group of guys who hold me accountable to reading has increased my reading exponentially. But they also help make reading easier. There’s just something about helping each other stay accountable that results in me picking up my Bible or listening to the Scriptures as I head into work. Like anything, accountability encourages and spurs us on, but I also believe it makes the process simpler as it forms into a habit over time. It is more difficult to journey through the Word on your own. Find a group of two or three people who will read, share, and hold you accountable as you engage with God’s Word.
Reading the Bible doesn’t have to be hard, but we all struggle with this discipline from time to time. By finding a doable plan, taking advantage of technology, and journeying together with others, we can make it easier. And as we engage with the Word, God works in and through us to impact our world for the Gospel.