It is not uncommon to hear things like “reading the Bible is difficult”, “I struggle to read my Bible”, “How can I be consistent in reading the Word”.
This why we asked 10 Christian influencers to share their best advice on how to stay consistent in studying the Bible. So if you are struggling with reading your Bible, keep on reading as you are going to find really practical advice that will help you.
Here are very simple and practical pointers I’d give to anyone struggling with reading the Bible.
A. Knowledge sponsors action. You have to know why this is important. You are not just to study the word of God so that you can merely say that you have studied. You have to recognize the place of God’s word in your life, and in your spiritual growth. For example, in Psalm 119:11, the psalmist makes a connection between the treasure of God’s word in a man’s heart and his ability to lead a godly life. He says, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” (BSB).
The psalmist also makes a connection between the word of God and divine leading in the 115th of that same psalm: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s word to him was strength, and light, and peace, and clarity, and many other things.
You have to know the why of Bible study because there will be many days when you do not feel like picking it up and flipping it open. But just like a drug you use when you are sick, you take it regardless of how you feel. You could be frowning whilst you take it, but you will take it because you know that it is for your own good. Why do we need to study the Bible? Well, there are many reasons, but here are three:
- It is an indispensable structure for spiritual growth (1 Peter 2:2). You cannot grow spiritually without the word of God.
- It sharpens your discernment, and familiarizes you with the voice of God. The more familiar you are with God’s word, the easier it is for you to discern His [organic] leadings, impressions and instructions. All Christians who persistently complain about a lack of hearing God almost always have one thing in common—they do not give the word of God its proper place in their lives.
- You have to know what God said so that you can know what He did not say. Just like with Eve, the enemy is a master at feeding the minds of saints with doubts and half-truths. You have to be grounded in God’s word so that when the enemy comes to speak a lie against the Lord (Gen 3: 4-5) or tell a half-truth, your heart can be properly guarded against him.
B. Take advantage of audio-Bibles. God has given us a beautiful blessing in the gift of technology. I do not care about how hard the enemy is working to use this tool for his destructive agenda, I believe that technology is a mightier tool in the hands of God than in the hands of Satan. That being said, take advantage of this great gift. Find an audio Bible in a translation that is easy for you to understand, and play it as you go about your day, even as you fall asleep…create these structures to get God’s word into you—feelings or not.
C. Know that it is more about quality than quantity. Studying the word is not just a matter of having scriptures memorized. You need to enter the word, and the word needs to enter you. Do not be in a hurry. Enjoy it. Line by line, verse by verse, chew the word. Turn it over and over in your heart as you read. Meditate on it. If you stumble on something that looks like a prayer, pause and pray. You are reading along with the Holy Spirit; it is not a novel.
D. Commentaries can go a long way, especially in providing historical context for what you are reading. Find a good one (or a couple), and take advantage of it.
I hope this helps. I pray that as you study, the eyes of your heart are completely opened up and your mind is flooded with great light. You begin to understand like never before. And more than reading, you have grace to live it out. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Grace and Peace.@Ebeletheservant: You cannot grow spiritually without the word of God Click To Tweet
Most times, the absence of a good Bible study culture is a result of a perceived absence of time, or a significant absence of wonder.
In the case of the former, people are inundated by their day-to-day life, and the details of their world that they do not seem to have enough time to study culturally. I have been there and there is nothing more ironic than the gift of life leading us away from The Giver Himself.
The first step is to think of ‘quality’ over ‘quantity’. Instead of trying to spend significant time in bible study, spend short time in significant bible study; break it down into small portions of your day, say 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the evening. During those times, give yourself completely to what you study. Do not just read, study.
Think of the implication of a text, who it applies to, you can be intelligent. Hold little portions of bible study during the week and have longer times over the weekend. The goal is to abide in the word. You can study a book, or study a topic through the bible. Think on it on the way to work, follow the themes of your faith intentionally. Little by little, brick by brick, you will be built up.
But there are only a few things more heart-wrenching than a Christian heart devoid of wonder; to have God within you and not seek to know the Author of existence.
I understand that there has been a mass indoctrination of seeing God as a means to our short-term ends: houses, cars, a new job. But all scripture agrees that God Himself is our portion, the angels and 24 elders are lost in the enthralling beauty of God, the most beautiful gift God has ever bestowed, has been himself. God, in the hearts of men; the one whom the Heavens cannot contain, has chosen us as an abode.
You can behold God. In awe. The ageless God can fellowship with you in your room. How privileged are we? God is worthy of our pursuit, not just when we feel like it, but because He is always God; because it is precisely for wonder that we are made. You can decide to enjoy God, to seek Him above all else. Set your affection; declare your treasure; God and God alone. May wonder be restored, may you seek The Gift Himself.
Above all, study with the spirit. The word reveals God and changes the man who looks to him. If the word is spirit-breathed, we will be spirit-led. We will commune with the Spirit through his word. Before studying, immerse yourself in the presence of God. You are searching the scriptures with its Author, it is yet another medium to commune with God. No matter how little the time you set part is, ask God’s spirit to teach you, to keep His word in your heart. God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
This is how we are changed; beholding God, in his Word, by His Spirit.@fiyinolubiyi: there is nothing more ironic than the gift of life leading us away from The Giver Himself Click To Tweet
On consistency in Bible study, following a plan has really helped me stay consistent. I currently follow a bible in a year plan on the Triumph30 app, and I know it has really helped with my consistency this year. So even when I miss it one day, I know there’s a structure to fall back to, so I catch up.
Also, studying one book at a time has also helped me at different points. Knowing that today is for chapter 1, tomorrow for chapter 2, and so on.
I really hope this helps!@doreen: On consistency in Bible study, following a plan has really helped me stay consistent Click To Tweet
Here are tips I recommend:
Have a Plan:
Working with a schedule can reduce procrastination to study scriptures. You should intentionally plan bible study into your daily schedule, and I recommend fixing it early in the morning before or after your prayers. That way your mind is still calm and fresh, and you have things to meditate upon for the rest of your day.
This is my go-to for periods I struggle with reading my bible. I reach out to my accountability partners and ask for support. This support can include choosing to read some portions of scripture together or having them check up on you daily to ensure you studied.
Read Your Church Notes:
This is more of a tip for people who do not know where to start with studying their bible. One easy hack to get started is by revising your church notes from past teachings. This also means that you need to take notes in church and write down every scripture your pastor quotes. During your study time, read through your notes and revisit the scriptures that were quoted. If you have some more time, read the whole chapter of the scriptures. By doing this, not only will you understand what was taught better, but you will also have expanded your knowledge of scriptures.@oyinkansola: One easy hack to get started with Bible Study is by revising your church notes from past teachings Click To Tweet
The Bible is really meant to be read, studied, and enjoyed. We should be like Jeremiah and David who had pure joy reading the Word. We should salivate at scriptures, and break out into a smile in the middle of the day just remembering the Word. But we get there by being consistent. So here are 3 tips to help you build “Consistency in Bible Study”, especially at beginner levels.
- Set a time for it.
I like to say that ‘what gets calendared, gets done’ meaning that what finds its space very intentionally into your schedule and calendar is most likely to be done. So allocate time to Bible study. I will read my Bible daily is NOT a plan. I will read my Bible at 5.30am daily at my dining table in the living room, after I wake up and brush my teeth? Now that’s a plan. You increase your chances of getting it done.
- Set a timer for it.
Very closely related to number one is setting a countdown. Sometimes we think that for spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting and Bible study, we should go ‘as the Spirit leads’, and so we keep waiting for this perfect time when the stars align and angels are visible to your physical eyes before we read the Bible. No! It is OK to proactively set a countdown timer and say (for example) ‘I will read my Bible at 5.30am daily at my dining table in the living room, after I wake up and brush my teeth, for 20mins’ and then go ahead and set that countdown timer. Do not get up until the timer is up. You can start with 5mins and build up from there. The win is not merely in the amount of time spent but in the consistency.
- Take notes
Very key. You need your Bible in versions you enjoy, and a journal to document what you are reading. Ask yourself questions and answer them. Personalize what you are reading. Write it down in black and white and then read it to yourself. If you do this consistently, you would soon find yourself optimizing Bible study by buying more Bibles, going online to search for commentaries and more.
Like I said, this is foundational, and as you get better here, you will know when it is time to move to a deeper level.
Happy Bible studying! God bless youEziaha: I like to say that ‘what gets calendared, gets done’ meaning that what finds its space very intentionally into your schedule and calendar is most likely to be done. So allocate time to Bible study. I will read my Bible daily… Click To Tweet
When I recently got born again, I struggled with studying my Bible because as a Muslim convert, I could not comprehend why I needed to understand the content of the bible as in my previous religion, I needed to just religiously memorize the Quran for the sake of prayers or any scholarly ambitions.
Over the years, three things have informed and helped my study.
1. I’ve learnt that I cannot accurately understand my identity in God and all the factors that surround my faith with my Bible closed. So I made it a duty to study my Bible because I needed to understand what my new faith entailed. I’m glad I did.
2. Utilizing already existing bible study tools. Audio Bibles, commentaries, summaries, Bible study groups, etc. They have made studying the Bible more adventurous than boring.
3. Understanding that it’s okay to fall out of structure. All I need to do is get back on track. When I had just started being intentional, I studied my Bible daily at 9pm before bed. Sometimes when I missed it, I’d feel so bad and not get back to it. I don’t do that anymore. I just pick up from where I stopped. Although, I try to minimize falling out of my study structure.King Laurat: I've learnt that I cannot accurately understand my identity in God and all the factors that surround my faith with my Bible closed. Click To Tweet
Bible study is of uttermost importance and the struggle with it common to all men. For at every point in time we are either trying to get consistent at it or for those that have gained mastery in it, trying to maintain consistency. Well this write up is more focused on how we can even become consistent in the first place. So I’ll just be sharing a few tips.
First, decide to be disciplined. You need to consciously commit yourself to be disciplined when it comes to Bible study. When you decide to, you won’t study only when it is convenient. You’ll study even when it’s not because that’s what discipline entails.
Secondly, do a 21 days Bible Challenge and start small!
It’s better to study a verse everyday than to study 100 chapters in one day and then proceeding to do nothing else after that.
21 days is usually the time frame for developing new habits. You can start by deciding to read a certain number of chapters daily. To read the Bible in a year, you’ll have to read about 3 chapters daily. So you can do that for 21 days or even do one Chapter. Just do something you can stick with for the 21 days. The goal is to gain the discipline to open your Bible for 21 days. Once you make it a habit to read your Bible daily, increasing the number of chapters per day can now be discussed.
Lastly, make it fun or intriguing by choosing a Bible study plan that sparks your interest.
I, for one, prefer reading the Bible Chronologically (Bible events as they occur one by one in real time). When you do, for instance the first book in the Bible you’ll finish is Job even before Genesis. It was so sweet seeing how things played out stage by stage. You may also decide to just do a study on a particular Book of the Bible. I once decided to do a study on the book of Kings because I personally loved how most of the kings that pleased GOD saw HIS mighty hand at work.
You could study the Epistles of Paul to gain more insight into his wisdom concerning the Gospel, the book of Jeremiah to know more about him, etc. Anything that will make the reading fun.Patrick Ohis: 21 days is usually the time frame for developing new habits. The goal is to gain the discipline to open your Bible for 21 days Click To Tweet
If there’s anything I’ve learnt in my 5 year walk with God, it’s that before I ever wanted to walk with God, God wanted me to walk with Him. And to be honest, I think it’s a perspective we must take in this Christian journey because then can we understand that we’re only able to do the things we do because God enables us to. This leads me to my first point.
1. Bible study is communion and not a chore. It’s best to not see it as “I’m doing this for God” but rather see it as “I’m doing this because of God”. When we see bible study as an opportunity to learn more about the God we love, and how we can live out the life He’s called us to, it’s easier to get up on days you don’t feel like it.
2. If you’re not sure where to start from, start from the Gospels. Matthew – John and then move on to Paul’s letters to the churches. Romans – II Thessalonians. It gives you a foundational knowledge of the person of Jesus, the reason for salvation and the heritage of believers. After these I’m sure you’d get more reasons to study the other books in the Bible.
3. Have a journal and pen in handy. This helps with your record process. You can get a study Bible if you can. I’d also recommend studying along with a SOUND commentary. You can ask your pastor or friend to recommend one to you.
4. Read easy. If King James isn’t working for you at first glance, why not move on to a less ‘grammerly‘ translation? You see it’s not that hard.
I’d recommend versions like NJKV and CSB for a start.
5. Finally, don’t forget to pray! Remember it’s just letters until the Spirit gives it life.
I hope this helps!
- Come to terms with the fact that reading/studying your Bible daily is key for your spiritual growth (remember that Sunday school children rhyme?). This will help you conclude that it has to be intentional, and you have to put in the effort.
2. Make use of alarms. Find a suitable time in your daily schedule and set an alarm for Bible study. If you’re likely to miss the alarm, set multiple alarms at 5-minute intervals. Also, label the alarms so you know what time it is.
3. Read progressively. Pick a book of the Bible and see it through. Don’t start with a chapter of Romans today and switch to 1st Chronicles tomorrow. The Bible books have peculiar themes, and you don’t want to get yourself confused. Understand what a book is about before moving to another.
4. Quality over quantity. Building a habit of Bible study is like every other habit. You start little and build consistency before going for the big shots. It could be a chapter a day or some verses; the goal is to ensure you understand what you read, not the amount you read.
5. Jot things down. When you read a chapter, jot down what you learnt from it and continue from there the next day. Go over it before you pick up the next chapter. If you don’t, you might move on to the next chapter and not get the full context of what you’re reading. This could leave you confused, frustrated, and abandoning the study altogether.
6. Use tools. This is more like a tip for effective Bible study, but Bible study tools make Bible study easy, and if you find Bible study difficult, you just might end up not being consistent. Some good Bible study tools are dictionaries, commentaries, and concordance.
7. Buy study plans. On some days, you might not feel the push to pick up your Bible and read through for yourself. Bible study plans are a great help around this. Find a good plan and follow through. Some are as short as 3 days and others are as long as a year. You can find good plans on the Youversion Bible app and the Triumph30 Devotional app.
I believe these tips, when combined, will help you achieve a consistent and effective Bible study.@thesopekingsley: Find a suitable time in your daily schedule and set an alarm for Bible study. If you’re likely to miss the alarm, set multiple alarms at 5-minute intervals Click To Tweet
Here are some of our best tips for Christians struggling with Bible study.
1. Understand the need to read and study the Bible. You can only know the mind of God and live a victorious Christian life when you consistently study the word of God.
2. Identify and deal with the source of your struggle i.e. What makes you lack interest or takes your time.
3. Set a specific time for study. You should study first thing in the morning during your daily devotion/quiet time if it works for you.
4. Choose a quiet place and remove all distractions e.g. Your gadgets, Television etc.
5. Have a study plan. I.e Take specific verses/chapters/themes per time. Youversion bible app will help with this.
6. Read slowly and steadily. There’s no rush, it’s not a competition. Meditate on the word. The goal is to know the mind of God and not to know cover from page to page.
7. Get a study partner if possible.
8. Use the study tools that work best for you e.g. Audio Bible, hard copy Bible, online Bibles etc.
9. Pray before and after each study. Ask God to open your heart to His word and open His word to your heart.@whisperofwinners: Understand the need to read and study the Bible. You can only know the mind of God and live a victorious Christian life when you consistently study the word of God. Click To Tweet
Now It’s Your Turn
Would you like to share any tip that has helped you to study the Bible consistently? Or do you have any specific questions you’d like answered? Please drop them in the comments box below!