How to Read the Bible Effectively – 11 Ways to Stay Consistent
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Do you want to read and study the Bible more but don’t know where to start or how to make time for it? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and it can be hard to know where to start. In this post, we’re going to show you how to read the Bible effectively so that you can get the most out of your study time.
We’ll also share some tips on how to make time for Bible reading in your busy schedule and make recommendations for the best Bibles to get you started! I’ll share 11 tips to help you with how to read and study the Bible each day and stay consistent to create a habit that is manageable and guilt-free!
So read on to learn more about how to read the Bible effectively, how to become an avid daily Bible reader (even if it is one verse because that’s all you could manage with a colicky baby) and grow in your relationship and your quiet time with the Lord!
How to Read the Bible Effectively – Where is the Best Place to Begin?
As believers in Jesus, we want to and should be reading the Bible daily, but, if we are being honest, it’s not always easy to do. There are so many responsibilities and distractions in our lives that make it difficult for us to stay on top of reading scripture each day.
We often set goals like reading through the entire Bible in a year only to feel we failed when life gets us sidetracked.
God doesn’t want us to feel defeated by these obligatory goalposts we set for ourselves in learning how to read the Bible less like a chore and seeing it as time spent with the gift of His Word.
There may be some people who simply don’t know what book of the Bible they should even begin their daily reading from: Should it be from the “Old Testament” (or Tanakh) or New Testament (or Apostolic Writings)?
I would personally recommend beginning in…well, the beginning.
The Bible is a story of God and man that unfolds before us and the best way to understand that story, is to understand the people, to understand Israel and her relationship with God as a covenant people, and to understand how Jesus came to bring ALL the nations of the earth to the God of Israel, one should start where that story does.
So out of all the books of the Bible, I find Genesis is the best place to begin.
But what matters most is not what I say, but what God says to you. And if you feel led to begin with the New Testament then, by all means, begin there. The Book of John is a place many people feel is a great place to start.
But the key to learning how to read the Bible effectively each day is just to begin!
You can easily fall into analysis paralysis when deciding where to start and the right time to start and never actually begin. So the easiest way is to just begin in the beginning!
Or use our 52-week Bible reading challenge workbook and follow its daily Bible reading plan! You can get it below!
How to Read the Bible Effectively Each Day – 11 Ways
So let’s explore 11 ways you can start doing your own Bible study and reading the Word of God every day to make it a spiritual habit! Making that first step toward making sure you open God’s word each day no matter how much time you have is the important thing.
This brings me to step one!
1. Make time: It sounds obvious, I know. But if you don’t actually set aside time then there is no way that it’s going to happen! Things WILL get in the way. You need time every day – even if only 10 minutes – just like any other habit (like exercising or cooking dinner).
Find some space in your schedule and make it a priority. If you don’t, the first time you sleep in late or some unexpected plans come up, you will get off track. Your spiritual needs are as important as anything else!
2. Put a Bible app on the first screen of your phone: This is so you can start reading as soon as you open up your phone. I actually have a verse of the day that shows up each day on my iPhone’s home screen. This is from the Bible app.
This way, if you’ve got just an extra few minutes to spare throughout the day (or between meetings, etc.), then you can spend them reading scripture because it will be easily and readily accessible!
There are apps with good study aids and Bible studies you can follow as well. Then you can read the Bible anywhere, any time of day!
3. Set alarms on your phone to remind you when it’s time for your Bible reading: I set alarms on my phone for everything! I can easily get distracted by things that go on at home and forget a meeting or to take medication or anything really!
So alarms are great reminders and you can name the alarm as well (if you have an iPhone…I can’t speak for other phones) so if you are like me and the alarm goes off and you actually forget what the alarm was for (I do this ALL the time since my stroke) then you can look and see what it is.
4. Put a reminder on your calendar: Put your reading in as an appointment on your calendar or in your day planner so that you’re continually reminded of how important this is to you and where things should fit in around it during the day, week, month, etc.
5. Keep an open Bible next to your bed each night: Having an open Bible right next to your bed is one way you can start reading right when you wake up, first thing in the morning, and ensure you get that daily time with the Lord.
6. Take it to work for break time: Keep a Bible or your tablet with all of your daily devotional readings, prayers, and meditations on it next to where you work so that if you get an unexpected break during the day then you have easy access to them.
7. Baby steps are ok: Do what’s best for YOU! Read one chapter each day instead of trying to read through large sections. Just read portions from different books over time (but do try not to miss any).
Make sure there are breaks built-in depending on how long you’re reading per session. Whatever works for YOU will be great because at least then it won’t feel like such a daunting task!”
Also, let the Holy Spirit lead you if there is a time you need to get into the Word if you are experiencing a time of trial, or just need to feel closer to the Lord. Follow that leading.
8. Find an accountability or reading partner: I know it can be hard sometimes but find someone who shares your faith and who you can ask to meet with on a weekly basis to either keep yourselves accountable or to read together (or both!) but try to find someone that can be that accountability partner, even if it’s online.
9. Challenge yourself: While you should go at a pace you are comfortable with, you should set some goals for how many chapters, pages, or verses that you want to get through each day/week. This will help motivate you. Make a chart or tracker that you can check off the days that you did your reading (get one below!)
10. Make it enjoyable!: Read the Bible not just as a chore or obligation but also because of its relevance in your life–try reading favorite passages aloud when alone or sharing them with others.
Your study time should be like time spent pouring over love letters because that is what the Bible is – God’s love letter to you! This habit of daily Bible reading will become precious to you when you view it in that way!
11. Listen to an audio Bible!: This is a great resource! If you have a long drive to work, listen to scripture. If you are cooking, nursing a baby, doing a hobby…listen to the Word as you do it.
While I personally prefer reading the Word rather than listening to it (because sometimes we can miss things when we listen and something distracts us or because it is tough to take notes on a verse if you’re driving), if it is all you can fit in during that one day, it is better than not doing anything!
How to Read the Bible Effectively and Have it Come Alive – Memorize Scripture
Ok, so you are now off to a great start in learning how to read the Bible every day and stay consistent with it. But the Bible tells us in Psalm 119:11:
Memorizing scripture is a good place to start to learn the Word and carry it with you so that you can easily recall it in various situations in life and to avoid sin because we know what God says about a particular matter. It brings the Word alive when you can immediately recall a scripture right when you need it.
I know I have encountered many different situations in my life where a verse will come to mind and help me to make the right decision.Memorizing scripture is a great way to learn the Word and carry it with you so that you can easily recall it in various situations in life. Click To Tweet
How to Memorize Scripture
Ways to memorize Bible verses:
- Start small by finding verses that have meaning for you or that resonate with your life. This will help when it feels repetitive because they’ll be meaningful memories going through your mind instead of just words on paper!
Maybe start with something like Genesis 12:3:
- Make it part of your daily Bible reading routine! It takes time for memories to form but you will be amazed at how quickly they come back when studying on a regular basis.
Write the verses out in your personal journal or you can use various scripture writing techniques to help you remember them. Use our Bible reading plans each month to find verses that pertain to that month’s theme.
- Get creative! Write them down, sing them aloud, draw images of whatever verse you chose (some people like Bible journaling for just this purpose) and then talk about how God may have used this particular Scripture in your life.
- Share your thoughts on how you think that scripture verse can be used in your life! It is always a good idea to share what God has done for and through us, but it also adds depth as we see how this or that verse was applied specifically to the other person’s situation. So discuss it with a spouse, a prayer partner, a friend.
- Teach verse memorization to your children and learn them together! Deuteronomy 6:7 says:
- Read scripture aloud! Yes, even when you’re alone! Reading scriptures aloud helps us better understand God’s word as well as more fully experience its power when spoken rather than written alone. It helps keep more of your senses engaged (speaking, hearing, seeing versus just seeing) which helps me keep distractions to a minimum.
Which Bible Should I Choose?
One of the most common issues that many Christians face when it comes to how to read the Bible on a daily basis is not knowing how to start.
There are so many Bible translations, versions, and editions; with each one having its own interpretations.
Which do you choose?
This is a hotly debated issue among some people who swear by one translation or another. The fact is, all translations, apart from the original text, are just that…translations. The New International Version might seem like the best for one person while others swear the English Standard Version is the best!
So while I have my preferences and opinions (I AM Jewish after all), if you are just beginning to develop the habit of reading every day I say choose whichever one will keep you engaged at first!
If there’s a particular translation or version that catches your attention more than others–or if you have an edition that has helpful study notes in the margins–then go for it!
However, at the end of this post, I will make suggestions for you based on my own experience with them and how effective I feel they are in their translation from the original.
I would recommend a good study Bible that has references and footnotes to help direct you to other related verses so that you can dig deeper into the Word.
I would also recommend a good Bible dictionary! It will help you with your understanding of the Bible if you are new to studying it. It is an extremely helpful resource!
As I mentioned, one way to learn how to read the Bible effectively each day is to find a translation that you feel comfortable with.
I do have some favorite Bibles which I will share with you! These are only MY personal favorites and you should choose a Bible that you are most comfortable with and feel has the translation you prefer.
These are all Bibles I personally have in my library so I use them all in my studies.
How to Read the Bible Daily - Bible Recommendations
TLV Thinline Bible, Holy Scriptures, Grove/Sand, Tree Design Duravella
The Tree of Life Version (TLV) is a new Bible translation, produced by the Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society, which highlights the rich Hebrew roots of the Christian faith by restoring:·
- the Jewish order of the books of the Old Testament
- the Jewish name of the Messiah, Yeshua
- reverence for the four-letter unspoken name of God
- Hebrew transliterated terms, such as shalom, shofar, and shabbat·
- and more
The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible: NASB-77 Edition, Hardbound (Key Word Study Bibles)
I really like this Bible and did a review of it which you can find on my book and product review page.
The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible identifies the key words of the original languages and presents clear, precise explanations of their meaning and usage. Those who love God's Word will treasure this Bible, for it contains a whole library of biblical helps within its covers.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
Why is this Bible different from all other Bibles? Because it is the only English version fully Jewish in style and presentation. It includes Dr. Stern's new version of the "Tanakh" ("Old Testament") and his highly acclaimed "Jewish New Testament."
The Complete Jewish Bible:
- follows the Hebrew Bible order of the Tanakh's books, the order with which Yeshua (Jesus) was familiar
- makes no separation between "Old" and "New" Testaments
- corrects misinterpretations in the New Testament resulting from anti-Jewish theological bias
- offers the original Hebrew names for people, places, and concepts, using easy-to-read English transliterations
- focuses on Messianic prophecy
- gives the traditional weekly and holiday synagogue readings, plus relevant readings from the "B'rit Hadashah" (New Testament)
NIV, The Woman's Study Bible, Hardcover, Full-Color: Receiving God's Truth for Balance, Hope, and Transformation
The Woman’s Study Bible poignantly reveals the Word of God to women, inviting them to receive God’s truth for balance, hope, and transformation. Special features designed to speak to a woman’s heart appear throughout the Bible text, revealing Scripture-based insights about how godly womanhood grows from a woman’s identity as a Christ-follower and a child of the Kingdom.
Now with a beautiful full-color redesign, The Woman’s Study Bible reflects the contributions of over 80 women from a wide variety of ethnic, denominational, educational, and occupational backgrounds.
ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Artist Series (Ruth Chou Simons, Be Transformed)
The ESV Single Column Journaling Bible, Artist Series is a collection of journaling Bibles meant to celebrate the treasure of God’s Word through the artistic talents of his people. These Bibles feature commissioned cover artwork designed by Christian artists such as Peter Voth, Ruth Chou Simons, and Joshua Noom. Each artist offers a visual entry point focused on a particular biblical theme or passage, setting a tone of reflection as readers engage with the Bible.
For more great Bible recommendations, visit my post on the Best Women’s Study Bibles.
How to Read the Bible Effectively– In Summary
I hope these tips will help you in taking the important step of reading the Bible each day and learning to hide the Word in your heart. The Bible is how we know God; who He is and what His character is like. But it is also how we know what He expects from us.
Get your FREE 52-Week Bible Reading Challenge Workbook below to get started reading each day!Join me for these tips on how to read the Bible daily and stay consistent with this 52 Week Bible Reading Challenge Workbook! #biblestudy #biblereading Click To Tweet
CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.