Let’s be honest: your dream of reading the Bible this year didn’t turn out quite the way you had imagined. The kids woke up early. You slept in. The dog ate your reading plan.
It happens to the best of us. In fact, the average person makes the same resolution 10 times without success, so chances are you’ve failed at a Bible-reading plan before and you will again, if you don’t make some changes. After all, you can’t do the same thing over again and expect different results.
Instead, take time to understand why most Bible reading plans fail, so you’ll know what to change to experience succss:
1. You Resolve to Make Unrealistic Changes
If you haven’t read your Bible in three months, you probably won’t find time to read it for an hour a day.
Instead of trying to make massive unrealistic changes, commit to a SMART goal you can easily accomplish. For example, switch from listening to the radio to listening to the audioBible on your 15-minute morning commute. Or read a verse of the day with your breakfast. Before you know it, that small change will feel normal, and you’ll be ready to tackle a bigger goal.
2. You Try to Do It Solo
Somewhere in Christian culture we’ve perpetuated the myth that reading the Bible individually is more spiritual than reading the Bible with other people. But Scripture was written to be consumed in community.
Sure, there’s great value in private study of the Bible, but let’s not exclude the built-in support and encouragement found in community. Rather than trying to stick to your reading plan by yourself, find a group in church or online that studies the Bible together, and you’ll soon find you’re actually looking forward to your Bible-reading time.
3. You Run Out of Motivation
It’s been said that Genesis and Exodus are the most-read books of the Bible, because somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers people get bogged down in their reading plans and drop off. Just think of it: how many times did you abandon your reading plan in the genealogies?
Instead of making a year-long commitment to a big plan, try shorter commitments that will keep the challenge fresh and exciting. There are many 8-week community Bible reading plans that you can join based on your interests. Plus, you’ll have built-in accountability. Win-win.
4. You’re Starting with the Wrong Reason
Be honest: why do you really want to read the Bible? For many of us, it comes down to a sense of obligation. We feel it’s our duty to read the Bible, because “that’s what good Christians do.” So we sit down determined to get through the plan, and we lose sight of the reason we should be doing it in the first place.
There’s only one good reason to read the Bible. Rather than approaching your Bible reading plan with dread, remember that the God of the universe is inviting you to a deeper relationship with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to make the words come alive to you, and your Bible-reading time will never be the same.
Now that you know the most common mistakes and how to avoid them, decide what you need to change to make this year different. And don’t just wait until next year to start over. Begin today and make this year the year you finished your reading plan AND grew closer to God.
You’ll be glad you did.