I am so glad you desire to study the Bible regularly. A hunger for God’s Word is the most important ingredient to making Bible study a habit. You won’t believe what God can do with a willing heart. He is excited you have decided to study His Word. How do I know? He tells us to meditate on His Word daily (Psalm 1:2), commit it to memory (Psalm 119:11), and study it to discern truth from lies (Acts 17:10-15).
But how can you get started? Whether you have tried before (and possibly failed) or are brand-new to developing a Bible-study habit, here are some tips to start this new habit.
What’s Your Motivation?
You know that part of the workout video when you want to give up and turn off your TV, but the instructor tells you to dig deep and find your inner motivator? Yup, the same thing applies to studying the Bible. Decide what your motivation for studying the Bible is.
To be honest, your reasons for wanting to build this habit may be broad-ranged. You may want to feel like you fit in with your Christian friends who are studying Scripture regularly. You may hope to answer your unbelieving friends’ questions when they ask you something you don’t know. Maybe you have a nagging feeling that this is something a “good Christian” ought to be doing.
The best motivation for studying the Bible is to know and love God more. It is through His Word that we learn about God’s character and will for our lives. We learn what He requires of us, so that we may obey. We come to truly understand what it means to love God and love others.
A Habit, Not a Chore
It is true, that God asks us to read His Word. If we don’t, we ought not to be surprised that we don’t feel close to Him, are not growing in our faith, or have many unanswered questions regarding the Christian faith or even God’s direction for our lives.
However, Bible study should not become a chore. We are trying to build a habit, which means we want to study the Bible regularly. Yes, that means you will likely study the Bible daily. However, skipping a day of study or deciding to study 4 out of 7 days a week is not a sin.
If we see the Bible as our daily bread and life-giving Word of God, we will desire to reach for it every day or as often as we can. We won’t have to guilt ourselves into studying His Word. God does not want our quiet time with Him to be a chore or motivated by guilt, but rather a habit, motivated by love and a thirst for Him.
Make an Appointment
It all sounds good, but how do you get started studying regularly? Make an appointment with God every day. When will you spend time reading and praying? Decide on what time of day will work best for you to have some uninterrupted time with God. If you use a calendar, fill in that time slot. You are not available. You have an appointment with God.
Many believers decide to get up early and have this quiet time before anyone else in the house wakes up. If you are like me and currently have two little ones waking you every morning, before your alarm goes off, you may pick another time. What about your baby’s nap time? What about lunch? What about the hour before you go to bed? What about 15 minutes between dinner and your children’s bedtime routine, when your husband can watch the kids? Pick a time that will work fairly consistently.
Where will you be at the time? Do you head to the coffee maker first thing in the morning? Do you always wash your face as you get ready for bed? Do you wash dishes right after dinner? Hang a sticky note on the coffee maker/ bathroom mirror/ kitchen sink to remind yourself to grab your Bible and head off to a quiet place.
I encourage you to switch out those sticky notes every once in a while. When we see the same item every day, our brains no longer register it as a reminder but just an expected part of our routine. If you see and notice your reminder but find it hard to get motivated, consider either writing your motivator on your sticky note or changing your appointment time. You may have set out to study the Bible first thing in the morning but find that you are too tired to focus. No problem. Reevaluate. When would be a better time to read Scripture?
Have a Plan
What will you read/study? Do you want to begin reading through a book of the Bible, follow a reading plan, or use a study guide? There is no right or wrong answer. Any study of God’s Word is valuable, especially if you are just getting started. Here are some recommendations…
If you are just getting started: The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, perfect for reading a chapter every day, corresponding with the day of the month. This book has lots of wisdom for everyday living and is a great place to start.
If you are ready to study: Maybe you have been reading the Bible for a while but don’t know how to really study it. I highly recommend my FREE ebook, “10 Steps to Approaching the Bible with Confidence.” Starting the habit of reading the Bible is actually the first step mentioned in this book. From there, it will guide you to begin digging deeper. Sign up below to let me know where to send your FREE copy.
If you are looking for a study guide: I have a Bible study series which chronicles through the storyline of the Old Testament while teaching you a new study method each week. It’s the “Scripture Confident through the Old Testament” series. Check it out. You may also take a look at these best-selling Bible study guides on Amazon.
If you like the idea of listening to Scripture: The YouVersion App allows you to pick a Bible reading plan and read its passages in various versions, some of which have an audio rendition. Once you pick a plan, the app will automatically play or show you the passages of your reading plan one after the other. You can also set reminders on your phone so you don’t forget to tune into the app. This is especially great for busy individuals who just want to get started.
Get a Study Buddy
New habits are so much more easily formed and much more fun when a friend joins you. Decide together what you’d like to study and how you’d like to stay in contact. You may decide to meet in person or form an online study group. Instructions can be found here.
Who should you ask? I recommend asking a close friend who also desires to study the Bible. This friend may already be in the habit of studying but ready to start a new reading plan, or they may be new to studying the Bible or be a mentor figure of yours. They may have a third or fourth person in mind who can join you as well.
Maybe you all find out you are wrestling with a similar struggle. Let’s say you are pained with food fixation and would love to study through a book or study guide like “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst or “Full” by Asheritah Ciuciu. Send the link to your friend and ask them if they’d like to study through the book with you, seeing as you both wrestle with this issue and would benefit from these reminders of biblical truth.
Alternatively, you may find out if your church offers a Bible study or small group that studies the Bible throughout the week and discusses the lessons in person once a week. Whatever your preference, I highly recommend studying through the Bible with a friend.
How About you?
Whatever time, reminder, plan, and study friend you choose, just get started. I am so glad you are on this journey. Don’t fret about reading as much as possible or tackling the whole Bible at once. You have time to learn little by little. We never stop being students of God’s Word.
What have you found most helpful in starting to read/study the Bible habitually? Share in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.