Yes, You Can Read the Bible Too

As the New Year begins, many people want to grow deeper in their faith and commit to, or recommit to reading the Bible and praying regularly. Some of you already have a well-established practice and method; but others of you may not know where to start, or haven’t quite found the rhythm that works best for you. Since I have been asked over the years how I go about my Bible reading, I thought I would share the simple process I use regularly. 

Choosing What to Read

After years of using various Bible reading plans, I have found it helpful to go through entire books or large sections of the Bible; at times alternating between the Old and New Testaments. For example, when I finished reading through Mark in the New Testament, I then decided to read the account of Joseph in Genesis 37 – 50 in the Old Testament. Now I am reading the New Testament letter, 1 John.  Sometimes I use daily devotionals alongside my Bible reading. At the end of this post is a list of some of the daily devotionals I would recommend, if you are interested. 

Things to Do as You Read

As I start spending time with the Lord and reflecting on Scripture, these are some of the things I do: 

  • Ask the Spirit to Teach.  Jesus tells us in John 14:26 that “…the Helper, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things, and brings to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Spirit is the primary Teacher of our souls. You and I need him to help understand the Bible and to show us the grace of God through Jesus in each passage. Say a brief simple prayer before you start reading, asking the Spirit to do what Jesus promised – to teach you through his Word.  
  • Ask These Questions
    • PRAISE:  How do these verses encourage me to praise God?  

Once you have read through a chapter or two, start by reflecting on what that portion of Scripture says about who God is, or what he has done or is doing that cause us to celebrate how he is at work. Too often our temptation is to start reflecting on the question, “What am I supposed to do?” That is a good question which should be asked at the right time. However, it should not be the first question. When we begin by focusing on who God is and what he is doing, it helps to remind us that everything we do is in response to our Father’s grace. Looking for our responsibility first and his grace second pulls us in the direction of a false gospel that says, “God gives grace to those who perform best.”    

  • CONFESS: What sins do I need to admit, in light of these verses? 

The Holy Spirit uses his Word to help us grow in self-awareness regarding personal brokenness. It is important for us to see where we struggle and where we have blind spots. When we see our brokenness more clearly we are able to admit it to God, ourselves, and others in order to be healed. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)  

  • PRAYER:  What do I need to pray for today in light of these verses? 

As you reflect on how your Father is calling you to respond, act, speak, or think, pour out your heart to him. Ask the Spirit to give you the strength, discernment, support, courage, opportunity, etc. to respond and to put your faith into practice.  

Daily Devotional Resources:

If you are looking for some daily devotionals for the year, here are some I recommend:

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp

God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: a year of daily devotions from the book of Proverbs by Tim & Kathy Keller

Heart Aflame: daily readings from Calvin on the Psalms by John Calvin

Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers by Ransom Fellowship ... Okay, I admit this is not a devotional book, but it is a great plan to read the Bible through in a year. 

He Reads Truth and She Reads Truth A free, daily plan delivered to your inbox with a short essay discussing the Scripture for the day