I grew up as the seventh son of two pastors whose parents were also pastors. I heard the words “read the Bible” a lot, but I didn’t know how to start reading the Bible. It felt confusing and sometimes even a little boring. Do you ever feel the same way? The only time I remember consistently reading the Bible when a church volunteer promised to give me a toy if I memorized Psalm 121.
Anyway, I went through life thinking, I should read the Bible more. Next thing I knew, I was married, in a career with little kids, and everything seemed so hard. I trusted God and believed in Him, but I struggled with decision-making, bad self-talk, and discouragement. At the same time, I felt this nag to read the Bible more. Not like an encouraging nudge, more like a lunch-lady’s “Eat your unidentifiable mush!” nag. The more I felt it, the less I read. The less I read, the more I felt it.
I was a Christian. I had a phone. So at some point I downloaded the YouVersion App. And, like the Bible next to my bed, it sat there unused. But when I subscribed to the verse of the day, something cool happened. I’d have a negative thought about myself, and the verse of the day would encourage me. I’d need to make a decision, and I’d remember yesterday’s proverb. I’d start to lose my patience with my kids, and that day’s verse would come to my mind and my heart.
I started thinking, Jason, you believe the Bible is alive and active, but has it activated you? Are you alive? I realized I was coming alive. I was reading the Bible every day. Most days, just the one verse.
Then, I started reading Bible Plans. Bible Plans about parenting, marriage, sex, joy, peace, exercise, helping others, and finances. I realized the Bible isn’t just alive and active, it’s one way God speaks to me today and every day.
Not too many years ago, I read the Bible mostly out of guilt. Today, I read it every day because I need it, I like it, and sometimes I actually love it. For instance, there’s my favorite passage, Psalm 121. It’s come with me through marriage, car wrecks, career changes, death, and parenting. I guess hiding God’s Word in your heart is worth more than a toy after all!
How to start reading the Bible
First, remember that there’s no Bible verse that says “read the Bible every day or else!” Instead, the Bible invites us to explore what God is like through the stories, songs, and poetry of diverse authors. So we can let go of guilt. If you’d like to start a habit of reading the Bible, then start slow. Begin with reading the verse of the day or starting a Bible plan like the one below.