How to Make Reading the Bible a Habit
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This past year I have been feeling the pull to be in God’s Word more and more and more. It’s not just the political climate, or the uncertainty of the future, but it’s the clear sign of the last days are to come.
As Christians, it is so incredibly important that we know His voice so that we can detect false teachers and discern truth from falsehood.
The best way we get to know Jesus is through the Bible. While we know we need to, consistently finding the time can be a difficult task.
We have such busy lives. The hustle and bustle of functions and family call to us now more than ever. But we have to cultivate that relationship, before we miss out on our opportunity.
How To Make Reading the Bible a Habit
Add one new habit at a time.
It’s easy to start the New Year or a new season in life and think “Oh, I’m going to read my Bible thirty minutes a day, pray for ten minutes a day, keep track of it all in a new journal, spend thirty minutes on exercise, and put all of the clean clothes away every day.”
Isn’t that how we are? While it’s easy to think that, and those are all great habits to have, but it’s so often too much of a change all at once.
The best way to make changes in your life is one at a time. If you want to make reading the Bible a habit, you need to focus on just that one thing.
Maybe your one thing is to read the Bible every day this year. If so, you should check out our Study Your Bible Through the Year Guide.
Read Your Bible in a Year Study
Make a short starting commitment.
Experts agree, it is possible to form lasting new habits. For years we’ve heard that it takes 21 days to make something a habit, but today most agree that it depends on the habit, the person, and the circumstances and might take 21 days or 40 days or even 60 days depending on these factors.
You might be tempted to say “Oh I’m going to read the Bible every day for a year.” That’s a great goal! But at first, you should commit to three weeks.
We have this amazing freebie for Reading Your Bible Through in a Year and it’s the perfect way to start reading your Bible today!
When we talk about how to make bible reading a daily habit, three weeks is the minimum time it will take, and the commitment you need to start with.
You always have the intent of 365 days in your mind, but you work on shorter goals with a firm commitment to lock in that habit.
Once you get through the first three weeks, you firmly commit to keep going and double that to six weeks.
Whether it be five minutes a day, 10 minutes tomorrow, or just a quick flip of a chapter- make those moments to crack open his word a priority.
When you do that, you’ll begin to see the commitment grow stronger and more time being spent discovering Christ.
Find a trigger to make reading the Bible a habit.
Some habit experts call this an anchor, some call it a trigger. What you need to do is look for something that you already do every single day, and that becomes your trigger or anchor for reading God’s word.
For instance, you might choose brushing your teeth every morning. You already brush your teeth every morning, so now you decide that after you brush your teeth every morning you will sit down to read the Bible.
Maybe that’s not a good time of the day. Instead, you always eat lunch every day, so you decide to anchor your Bible reading to lunch. That’s great!
Find an activity you already do every single day from habit, and use it as a hook for this new habit you want to create.
How to Make Reading the Bible a Habit: Start Small!
Now, this is a little different than starting with just one thing. You’ve already picked your one new habit to work on, you are going to make reading the Bible a habit.
Now you need to come up with small incremental baby steps to take within that habit framework.
For new habits, thirty minutes a day is a bit much. It’s hard to jump in and sustain that from scratch. Instead, set a goal that you can easily keep.
Maybe start with five minutes a day. Did you know that in five to seven minutes a day you can read the Bible in a year? [Grab our Read the Bible in a Year Plan here.]
So start with five minutes a day, and set a minimum, renewable commitment of 21 days. Once you’ve made it through 21 days, increase your time to ten minutes a day with a 42-day commitment.
Prepare for Stumbling Blocks
Any time you try to change your entire life by forming a new habit, you are going to encounter stumbling blocks. When that habit is something that will bring you closer to God and empower your Christian walk, you will also encounter enemies.
You need to be prepared.
Before you start, make a list of the stumbling blocks you know you will likely face. Here are some examples from my experience.
- Sick Kids.
- Full, busy days.
- Negative Ninnies.
- Wrong Priorities.
Once you have a solid list of potential issues that will come up, write out how you will make adjustments to still meet your goal.
If you wake up at three a.m. to the sound of a child vomiting, how will you keep your commitment to reading your Bible? Will you have to change the time or duration? Will you ask someone else for help? How will you answer the doubters or negative voices?
Plan your answers now and practice!
Now, you’ve done all this preparation and you will be ready for the normal stumbling blocks but rest assured Satan will try to derail your plans and change your mind with more subtle means.
Spiritual warfare is real. The solution to this is prayer and never giving up. Always look for the way out God promises when we are tempted.
As an aside, even if you give in to temptation and choose to miss a day, don’t quit! Satan will condemn you, but God is faithful and He will forgive and help you.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
Reward yourself to make Bible reading a daily habit.
Daily Bible reading is an awesome habit goal because it comes with so many intrinsic rewards. An intrinsic reward comes from just doing the action. It’s built in.
Intrinsic rewards for reading God’s word include 1)knowing God’s word better 2) a closer relationship with God 3)better decision making 4) better parenting, 5) a changed heart, 6) a renewed mind.
These are all fantastic reasons to read your Bible!
One of the benefits of short-term goals is short-term rewards or extrinsic rewards. These are rewards you give to yourself externally.
They aren’t built into the activity, they are in addition to the intrinsic rewards you will experience. Every seven days of your first 21 days, reward yourself!
Be creative with this. I think many of us gravitate towards food rewards, but you have so many options here and it does not need to be fancy or excessive.
Maybe your reward will be a new praise album. Maybe your reward is a beautiful new bookmark. Maybe every seven days you put $3 in a jar for your next trip to Hobby Lobby.
Maybe your reward is a walk on Main Street in the cutest little village nearby.
Whatever it is, reward yourself for making those milestones and you’ll begin to form a lasting draw to Christ in the process.
If you want to make Bible reading a habit, build in accountability.
You can find many different forms of accountability. I recommend choosing a couple of different methods. First, you can post on social media about your progress.
This is really easy and is a quick win. You’ll have people watching you, they will comment, and this will reinforce your behavior. However, it’s not the best form of accountability, so add another method to your toolbox.
Second, find a person to update. I like to tell my best friend where I’m at with my current goal. Every time we get together, she asks or I volunteer where I’m at with my newest habit. We hold each other accountable. It’s not super formal, but it works!
You can also share your goals with your kids. Kids love to be junior accountability partners.
Third, use apps and reminders as accountability partners. You can download a habit tracker, set reminders on your phone or device, or use websites designed for accountability.
Simply put – use technology to make reading the Bible a habit!
Finally, make reading the Bible a part of who you are.
This habit of reading God’s word needs to be a part of who you are as a person and who you are in Christ. The Bible is very clear about the importance of God’s word in our lives.
Define yourself as someone who reads God’s word daily. Describe yourself as someone who reads God’s word every day. Remind yourself how much you value the habit of reading the Bible. Talk about what you’ve learned with your kids, your husband, and anyone else who will listen!
You are a person who makes reading the Bible a priority. I’ve shown you how to make reading the Bible a habit. You want to be a person who habitually reads God’s word. You can do it! Now prove it to yourself with quick wins seven days at a time.
Don’t Forget to grab our Read the Bible in a Year Plan here.
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