New Man

Want to receive New Man by email? Sign up here
Bible reading

A man who became a Christian bought a Bible. He said, “Have you seen this thing?”

The Bible is daunting. At roughly 770,000 words, that’s about 2,500 normal book pages—equivalent to 12 non-fiction books!

Bible reading falls into that special category of things we all know are important but struggle to do, like diet and exercise.

Every year since 1988 I’ve read the Bible cover to cover. This is certainly not required, but I’ve learned some things along the way that may be helpful to you.

As you might suspect, I’ve encountered every imaginable distraction from lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, and outright laziness to barking dogs and making the mistake of checking my email just before I planned to read!

There have been times of emotional weariness, physical tiredness, and spiritual warfare. Nevertheless, I succeed because I have a plan.

If you already have a plan, great. But if you don’tand even if you dohere are seven tips to help you make the most of reading your Bible. At the end is an exercise, “My Bible Reading Plan,” for you to complete.

1. A Purpose for Reading When I attend a meeting I like to ask, “What’s the purpose of our meeting today?” That way, we tend to stay on target. Uppermost, I read the Bible for communion with God. First and foremost, Christianity is a relationship with the Father who lavishes His love on me. When I read the Bible I am literally spending time with the living God who delights in me. The Bible, along with prayer, allows us the experience to holy presence of God for a few moments. Communion is what keeps me coming back. For everything else, there’s Google. I also read the Bible for discipleshipto grow and mature in faith. So, my purpose to read the Bible is for communion (knowing) and discipleship (growing). What is your purpose?

2. A Fixed Routine My best time to read is early in the morning, because that’s when I’m fresh. I grab a cup of coffee and settle into a favorite chair for an unhurried time of prayer and reading the word of God. If it fits your personality, it’s a good idea to have a set schedule. Daily Bible reading (often called a “quiet time” or “personal devotions”) makes sense for the same reasons we recharge our cell phones. Of course, things come upan argument with your spouse, an alarm that doesn’t go off, early meetings, or cranky kids. On average, I read about five days a week. How much time you spend reading is completely a matter of personal preference, but I like to read one day from an annual Bible reading plan. What routine works best for you?

3. Pray Before Reading It’s a good idea to pray when you read. How I pray connects to my purpose: communion and discipleship. I start by bringing myself into the presence and power of God. I usually start by praying,

“Father, I come to meet with You. Please meet with me, Your much loved son. (Then I will usually add a few sentences, mostly repeating Scripture about God’s love for me and my love for Him).

“Jesus, I come to meet with You. Please meet with me, Your much loved servant. (Again, I add sentences like, “I surrender my life today to Your Lordship.”)

“Holy Spirit, I come to meet with You. Please meet with me, Your much-loved vessel. (Plus the additional sentences like, “Lord, I invite You to disciple my heart, to reveal what’s inside of me, and to speak to me.”

Also, I pray about things as I read. How do you pray, or want to pray, when reading your Bible?

4. It’s Always Good to Have a Goal My friend Tom Skinner said, “When you set a goal, you are literally writing history in advance.” If you’re new to the Bible, your goal might be, for example, to read a chapter a day in the New Testament five days a week. (If you did this you would read all 260 chapters of the New Testament in one year: 52 weeks x 5 days = 260 chapters). I don’t micromanage my Bible reading. Instead, I set one annual goal each year. That’s to read through the Bible cover to cover annually. I don’t worry if I miss a day or two. Call me “inconsistently” consistent. I like the flexibility of chasing down rabbit trails, such as looking up all the verses in the Bible on, say, “God’s will.”As I write this, I’m 20 days behind in The One Year Bible. It doesn’t matter. You may prefer shorter goals. God has no set formula for Bible reading. What is your goal for reading the Bible?

5. Increase Your Comprehension ­I mark up my Bible. Some may consider the Bible too reverent to mark. But from a learning theory perspective, writing things down improves my comprehension. I’ve got margin notes, underlines, arrows, check marks, asterisks, and a few chicken scratches I can no longer decipher! You can also journal in a notebook, on a computer, on scraps of paper, or in the margins of your Bible. I do them all. You may concentrate better with a display screen or a hard copy. If you learn better by listening than reading, the Bible is available in all popular audio formats. It’s totally up to you. Memorization makes up an important part of my plan. I keep a list of verses I’m working on. At this point in my journey, it’s rare to find myself in any situation without a verse coming to mind. Another part of your plan could be to teach the Bible. Preparing Bible lessons drives me deeper into the Bible than anything else. What can you do to increase your learning and retention?

6. What to Do When Your Mind Wanders — My mind wanders all the time. And to be honest, I like it. There are four possibilities when my mind wanders: the world, the flesh, the devil, or the Spirit. When your mind wanders, you have to figure out which one it is. If it is the world, the flesh or the devil, then of course you want to reel it back in.

However, if I read a text and my mind goes racing to a relationship that’s not right, or I am convicted of a sin, or prompted to some good deed, then that is the Spirit and I let that happen. When I read a phrase or sentence that impacts me, I like to linger awhile, letting the Word soak into my soul. What if your mind wanders because you’re tired and exhausted? When I get that way, I try to read out loud. If I still can’t concentrate I just stop and live to read another day! What can you do when your mind wanders?

7. Know What Keeps You Coming Back for More ­­My commitment is to stay at it each day until I have what I call “a moment of humility,” an overwhelming sense of God. It could be an insight, a sense of awe, or feeling completely and totally loved. It’s a moment when I feel the power and presence of God washing over me. I’m not looking for a self-help book. I want the truth. The truth is what’s relevant and applicable. That’s what keeps me coming back. What keeps, or will keep, you coming back for more?

Pat Morley is the Founder and CEO of Man in the Mirror. After building one of Florida’s 100 largest privately held companies, in 1991, he founded Man in the Mirror, a non-profit organization to help men find meaning and purpose in life. Dr. Morley is the bestselling author of The Man in the Mirror, No Man Left Behind, Dad in the Mirror, and A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines.

Click here for the original article at maninthemirror.org. Visit Man in the Mirror on Facebook.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was the first Hispanic pastor in history to pray at a presidential inauguration.

    At Trump Inauguration, Charismatic Leaders Pray Boldly in Jesus' Name. Is This Foreshadowing a New Day in America?

    It was an amazing day to let religious freedom ring in America.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what was going on!

    Jennifer LeClaire Releases Urgent Prophetic Warning Over Washington, D.C.

    When I flew into D.C. yesterday, there were so many Secret Servicemen on the plane I wondered what ...

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • Does any of this reflect what's going on in your marriage?

    9 Characteristics of a Healthy Sexual Relationship for a Believer

    A healthy sexual relationship for a Christian couple takes effort, and it's worth working for.

  • Churches don't address this topic affecting women.

    The Secret Sorrow Women Carry

    This woman breaks the silence about a taboo subject to help restore many women.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit