I carefully lowered the steaming cup of chocolate chai from my mouth, not believing what my ears were hearing. I tried to swallow the sip of tea I’d just taken but nearly choked as I tried to process what my podcast guest had just said.
Lord, is she really talking about reading the Bible in a year?
I couldn’t believe it. Not because I thought it was impossible. Not because I thought it was something only old people did. But because this woman was the third person in a week who had brought it up and encouraged me to do the same.
As a writer, speaker and podcast host, I have the blessed privilege of getting to know a lot of amazing women who champion different causes for the kingdom. But what’s more wonderful than connecting with these sisters is the fact that God often speaks to me through the interactions we have.
So, when over the course of a week three of these sisters recently brought up reading the Bible in a year … let’s just say God had my attention. The first and second time someone brought it up, I thought nothing of it. I shrugged the idea off as something I didn’t have time for. But when the third woman started talking about it, I knew God was trying to tell me something.
After we finished recording the podcast that day, I immediately started praying about reading the Bible in a year. Is this something you really want me to do, Lord? How can I make time for this on top of all of the other commitments I already have?
Almost immediately, I could hear Him say: You can always make time for me.
The more I prayed, the more I felt God calling me to ask my husband to join me in this endeavor of reading the Bible the whole way through.
“What do you think, love,” I asked my husband that night at dinner.
He looked up from his plate with excitement in his eyes. “I actually think that’s a great idea. We just have to figure out a way to do it that works for us.”
I wish I could tell you that we began our Bible reading plan that night and have stuck to it every night since. I wish I could tell you we have this whole “how to read the bible in a year” thing figured out. We don’t. But we’re getting there, and we’re learning by trial and error how to do it well.
And so, today I want to encourage you with some tips I’ve learned from our first attempt to read the Bible the whole way through.
My hope is that you will be comforted and inspired to give it a try for yourself. Though it took my husband and I awhile to figure out what worked for us, I will tell you this: Even when our Bible reading was inconsistent, it was life changing just to be in the Word. God’s Word is power, and it changes how we live.
Tip #1: Pick Your Reading Plan
Not to overwhelm you, but did you know the Bible consists of 1,189 chapters and 31,102 verses? That’s a lot of material to cover, and there are a lot of different ways you can go about reading it all. You can read it from cover to cover, or you can read it chronologically, in the order that the events actually happened. You can check out all available plans on the YouVersion Bible App. My favorite thing about the app? You can actually have someone read the text to you.
Check out other Bible reading plans here.
Tip #2: Pick a Time and Place That Works for You
Consistency is so important if you want to read through the entire Bible. This was the biggest roadblock my husband and I faced when we first started our journey. At first, we tried listening to our daily readings before we went to bed each night. That method worked fine … until we started traveling frequently, or worse, falling asleep in the middle of the readings on the nights we were super tired.
What we discovered, through trial and error, is that it works better for us to do the reading at the dining room table after we’ve finished eating dinner. We’re awake. We’re fed. And we’re relaxed enough to be focused without falling asleep.
As you start working toward your goal of reading the Bible in a year, I encourage you to experiment with different times and places in order to find the one that works best for you. Unlike us, you might find that mornings on the couch works better for you. It doesn’t matter when or where you read the Bible, it just matters that you read it.
Tip #3: Have an Accountability Partner
Whether you want to read the Bible by yourself, or with a spouse, family member or friend, it’s important to have an accountability partner who can help keep you on track. Let someone know what you’ve set out to do, and check in with them on a regular basis for encouragement. There are times in this journey where you may feel like giving up on your goal. But the right friend can pray over you and offer you the support you need to see the journey through.
Tip #4 Catch Up When You Need To
As I mentioned before, there was a point when my husband and I got behind on our Bible readings because we weren’t doing them at a time or in a place that worked well for us. I won’t tell you how far we got behind, but I will tell you this: Even if you fall behind and you have to catch up or add another month to your reading plan — it’s OK! No one’s judging you. God won’t be upset with you. And life will go on. If/when you get derailed from your plan, give yourself some grace, adjust your game plan and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Tip #5 Journal the Journey
When I was in college, I remember professors assigning an upwards of 100 pages in a few days for just one class assignment. Though the task felt overwhelming at first, as the weeks went on and we kept reading large amounts of material, I found that journaling helped me process and absorb the words on the page. This practice is also beneficial when reading the Bible.
Does something seem confusing to you as you’re reading? Write down your questions so you can process through them later. Does a particular verse or chapter speak to you? Write those down, too. I believe God speaks to us through His Word, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss what He has to say.
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Lauren Gaskill is an author, speaker and host of the Finding Joy podcast. She writes at LaurenGaskillinspires.com and is in the process of publishing her first non-fiction inspirational book. When she’s not writing, Lauren loves to cook, bake and go on hikes with her husband and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who is affectionately named Reese after Lauren’s favorite candy — peanut butter cups.