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Christian Living

7 Tips to Form a Bible Reading Habit

Be Intentional About Spending Time in God’s Word Each Day

I read Scripture every day and have for most of my adult life. I’ve formed a Bible reading habit. It’s become an essential part of my life, just like eating and sleeping.

Reading God’s Word has become natural and normal for me. And I encourage everyone to develop a daily Bible reading habit too. Yet I understand this is a struggle for many. A friend recently asked for any suggestions I might have to help form a Bible reading habit.

Here are my seven Bible reading tips:

1. Select a Time

Pick what time of day will work best for you to read the Bible. For many people this is first thing in the morning, as a start to their day. Others like to end their day by reading Scripture. Or there may be another time that works best for you.

As you figure out what time each day you give to God to read Scripture, be sure to give him your best time slot. Don’t give him what’s leftover. Avoid trying to squeeze Bible reading between other aspects of your life. Just as God desires for you to make him a priority in your life, the same applies to when you read his Word.

The important thing is to decide on a time to read the Bible each day. Then do it.

2. Start Small

Don’t make a grandiose plan. Start small. Just as it would be foolish for a runner who only runs short distances sporadically to decide they’re going to run a marathon the next day, the same applies to Bible reading. Don’t commit to reading the entire Bible in one year if you scarcely read it at all now.

Set a low goal that will be easy for you to achieve. This will allow you to find quick success and encourage you to press forward.

If you’re just starting out, I suggest you commit to read one verse a day. Just one. It will only take a few seconds.

I recommend that you read from your favorite book in the Bible. Make it easy to do, keep it simple, and make sure it’s enjoyable.

3. Set a One-Month Goal

Read one verse every day for at least a month. This will establish a habit of regular Bible reading. Though one month is often enough to form a regular routine, it could take two or three months for a good habit to develop.

The goal is to get to a point where you automatically read your Bible at the time you picked each day. The intent is for Bible reading to become an essential part of your daily practices.

Just as we would never forget to eat a meal or skip sleep, reading the Bible deserves the same perspective.

4. Keep the Momentum Going

After one month, build upon your success and keep the momentum going.

If keeping a streak will help motivate you, make a chart to track each day you read your Bible. The goal is an unbroken chain of daily Bible reading. Keep your streak going.

Or if you can motivate yourself through rewards, set a small prize for yourself each week. Do this on a specific day. Pick an incentive that means something to you and will motivate you. Then choose a larger reward for the end of each month.

5. Expand Your Practice

Once you’ve established a habit of daily Bible reading, you can then consider reading more than one verse each day. You might want to move from one verse to one paragraph.

Later you might want to move from one paragraph to one section. Just as most Bibles put the text in paragraph form, they often group similar related paragraphs together in the section, often with a subheading.

6. Consider Setting an Annual Goal.

Once you’ve done this for a full year. You’ll have surely formed a regular Bible reading habit. It’s perfectly acceptable to continue what you been doing over the past year into the future.

Yet if you want to read more, consider reading a chapter a day. Here are some ideas to guide you in this, with both monthly reading options, as well as reading the New Testament in one year.

Regardless of how much of the Bible you decide to read each day, remember that it’s not about the number of verses you read but the impact your reading has on you. Click To Tweet

I encourage everyone to at some point read the entire Bible in one year. This is a commitment which will take 12 to 15 minutes every day, so don’t start with this right away. It would be like trying to run a marathon before you trained, so build up your Bible reading skills, just as a runner would build up to a marathon.

7. Pursue Balance in Your Bible Reading

Regardless of how much of the Bible you decide to read each day, remember that it’s not about the number of verses you read (quantity) but the impact your reading has on you (quality).

May God bless you as you read his Word and form a Bible reading habit.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Read the Bible in 2021: Daily Guides Available Now

Form a Habit of Daily Bible Reading to Guide You through the Year

Each year I have the goal to read through the Bible. And each year I invite you to read along with me. To help with this, my 2021 Bible reading guides are now available.

New this year is a chronological Bible reading plan.

Chronological Bible Reading Guide

Each year I get requests for a chronological plan. And each year I try to make one, but I give up. It’s a complicated task.

The problem is a comprehensive chronological reading of the Bible requires a lot of details that won’t fit on a two-page sheet. Because of overlapping passages from different books, some days you would find yourself reading from multiple sections of different passages.

Along with being a lot of information to present, that’s too much page flipping and the potential for confusion. For a truly chronological reading of the Bible, get one of the many one-year chronological Bibles. These provide the best and easiest approach.

It is possible, however, to make an approximate chronological reading guide by putting the books of the Bible in order. This plan is my inaugural attempt to do so. I’ll use it for my 2021 Bible reading guide.

I encourage you to do so as well. It only takes 12 to 15 minutes a day. And each Tuesday throughout 2021, I’ll blog about a passage from that day’s reading.

Download your own chronological 2021 Bible reading guide.

Download your own chronological 2021 Bible reading guide. Click To Tweet

Other Reading Options

If reading the entire Bible in a year seems too daunting, scale back to a more manageable goal. I have a series of other Bible reading plans to guide you. Pick the one that works for you:

Form a habit to read the Bible. Download your preferred Bible reading plan today and be ready to start reading on January 1, 2021.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Visiting Churches

The New Church in Town (Visiting Church #7)

Sunday we visited a newer church. Their website says “multi-generational contemporary worship service”—and it is. They’re also non-denominational “because God has called all believers to unity.” I like that.

We walk in and people are informally mingling; several introduce themselves. Of all the churches we’ve visited so far, this is the most effective at pre-service interaction.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

The sanctuary is a simple rectangular room that seats 55, but I only count 24 present. I forget it’s Memorial Day weekend. There are no pews but comfortable chairs instead. They say attendance is often near capacity and on Easter they maxed out.

Soon they’ll move to a different facility, much nicer and more inviting; it’ll seat 160 and they’re confident they’ll soon fill it.

Three ladies lead us in singing modern praise songs. Instead of instrumentation, they use accompaniment tracks. They don’t have songbooks but display the words on a flat-screen monitor.

The pastor is in week two of a series. Last Sunday was about God’s sovereignty; today is about God’s providence. He boldly delves into some tough questions about these subjects.

Afterwards, he tells me most members are younger in their faith; they’ve come without any church baggage and are eager to learn. Since they don’t know how they’re “supposed” to behave in church, there aren’t any bad habits to overcome.

This explains the informal nature of the service, the socializing beforehand, and their arriving without Bibles. Their eagerness to learn is why he goes deep in his teaching.

Although the church is expanding numerically, their leader is more pleased with their deep spiritual growth. As is often the case, it’s new churches, and not the established ones, where people discover God and grow into a vibrant faith. Newer is often better.

[Read about Church #6 and Church #8, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #7.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Leave the Lights On

Good and Bad Habits

My wife and I have our house for sale. Our realtor advised us to turn on all the lights throughout the house prior to a showing. The theory is this makes the house more inviting and keeps potential buyers from searching for light switches, possibly in the dark.

Though this makes sense, it so goes against my nature.

As we prepared for our first showing, I dutifully went through the house turning on lights. Then I subconsciously turned half of them off. Even after a second pass, I still turned one off as I walked by the switch.

Realizing I could not be trusted with such an important task, my wife told me to not move as she retraced my route and checked my work.

After multiple showings, I’m finally able to fully accomplish this task, but my wife still feels she should verify my work. In this case it’s probably a good idea.

After spending decades turning off lights to save money and conserve energy, I’ve developed a firm habit of turning off lights—call it a compulsion, a good habit.

I have other good habits, too: exercising, saving money, living in moderation, preparing for the future, maintaining our home and cars, going to bed at a decent time, and so forth. I’m grateful to have these good habits ingrained in me.

Let us celebrate and preserve our good habits, just as we seek to discover and correct our bad ones. Click To Tweet

I also have a few bad habits, too, but I’m not so aware of them. When I do uncover one, I try to retrain myself. One such area is my tendency to turn on the TV, not to watch a specific show, but to fill time. Sometimes I do well avoiding this habit and other times, not so much. A

nother is eating because there’s food in front of me, not because I’m hungry. I’m sure there are more.

We all have habits, some good and some not so good.

Let us celebrate and preserve our good habits, just as we seek to discover and correct our bad ones.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

How Far Do We Go To Protect Tradition?

Whether or not we realize it, all aspects of our lives include traditions: unexamined habits and mindless rituals. But perhaps traditions most often exist in our approach to God and our worship of him. While some traditions had a positive origin, others were misguided from the start.

With little thought we pass our traditions from one person to the next, one generation to another.

Churches often protect their traditions with adamant, unyielding passion— sometimes at the expense of obeying God and doing what the Bible says. This is not a new problem. Jesus addressed this two thousand years ago.

The religious leaders of the day (the Pharisees) were quick to point out that Jesus’ followers (disciples) broke from tradition. They didn’t bring this up to provide correction but to pronounce condemnation. They thought they could discredit Jesus and embarrass him in front of the people.

Their plan didn’t work. Jesus foiled them. He declared that what the Bible said took precedence over their traditions. Jesus put his detractors and their ideas of what was important in their place.

What are some traditions or rituals that you have jettisoned? What are some traditions that might warrant reconsideration?

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Matthew 14-16, and today’s post is on Matthew 15:1-6.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

Categories
Christian Living

Welcome to a New Year!

It’s Time to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions—or Is It?

The new year is a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions. Common ones include losing weight, saving money, going back to school, finding a better job, improving a relationship—or getting out of one, being kinder, giving more, drinking less, and so on.

All too often, these well-intentioned resolutions are short-lived. I think the problem is timing.

Let’s assume that in September I step on the scale and decide I’ll make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Since I don’t need to worry about it now, I can eat as much as I want. In four months, I’ll get serious about weight loss, but for now, there are no worries.

This gives me sixteen weeks to further instill bad eating habits. Additionally, knowing that in the future I’ll lose weight, I become emboldened to eat poorly now—while I still have the chance. This only serves to exacerbate the problem and means more weight to lose later.

A much better approach would be to start exercising more and eating less as soon as I sensed the need, in this case, September, not January one.

This is why I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Rather, as soon as I determine a need for change, I set about to make it happen. That’s when I have the best chance for success, not later after things get worse.

Effectively, I tweak my life year round and skip making annual vows for self-improvement.

When you fall short on your new year's resolutions, forgive yourself and start over. Click To Tweet

If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions, I wish you the best in keeping them. However, if you fall short, don’t give up and wait until next year to make another attempt. Just forgive yourself and start over—and have a Happy New Year!

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.