Often I am asked, “What can I do to grow as a Christian?” Several things may help you grow in your faith, but one of the most important is reading the Bible every day.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Consider some of the advantages of daily Bible reading. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
Reading the Bible daily gives you a better understanding of the Bible. Reading the Bible daily makes you more familiar with the biblical text. It encourages you to integrate the teachings of the Bible into your daily lifestyle. Reading the Bible daily helps you to understand the contextual meaning of passages, whereas those who read the Bible only occasionally or who read only a selected verse or two are more likely to impose their own presuppositions on the text. And finally, daily Bible reading helps keep your life and faith in focus.
How do you develop the discipline of reading the Bible daily? Here are a few possible starting points:
- Begin by using a companion devotional guide. Our Daily Bread, Open Windows and The Upper Room are just a few examples of devotional booklets that include both a daily Bible reading selection and a few inspirational comments and stories.
- Try reading the Bible one book at a time. Reading an entire book of the Bible helps the reader to understand the whole context of a passage of scripture. Some suggest alternating your reading between New Testament and Old Testament books to keep a balanced perspective.
- Read a chapter a day from the New Testament and the Old Testament, plus a Psalm and one chapter of Proverbs. Proverbs, divided into 31 chapters, makes for good systematic reading because of its compatibility with our modern calendar.
- Engage in a “Read the Bible Through” program. Many Christian publishing companies offer printed schedules for reading the Bible through in one year. The assignments for daily reading may prove challenging to slower readers, but the rewards of knowledge and inspiration are definitely worth the challenge.
If you want to grow in your faith, many things will stimulate your spiritual growth: daily prayer, regular worship attendance, ethical decision-making and doing deeds of service.
But one of the best places to begin your journey of spiritual growth or to revitalize your faith is to develop the discipline of reading the Bible daily.
Barry Howard is senior minister of First Baptist Church in Corbin, Ky.