If you've decided to do more Bible reading in 2017, you need to have a plan. Fortunately, there are many different apps and websites that offer a plan based on your own preferences and schedule. It seems so easy to just read the Bible through in a year. There are 1,189 chapters, which means you need to read an average of three chapters a day. And yet, unless you find a way to really commit yourself, you'll probably be dragging by mid-February and completely give up by March. This is because most people have problems sticking to their New Year's resolutions.
The first couple of books in the Bible, Genesis and Exodus, have a lot of stories and are easy to read. Then, you get to the books of Numbers and Leviticus. Neither of these books is very interesting, unless you enjoy reading about the census and the specifics of Jewish Law. If you start in the New Testament, you may get through four or five books before the reading becomes more difficult. What can you do to really stick with your reading?
Plan Your Time
The Bible is a huge book of smaller books. You aren't going to tackle the whole thing in one month or even six months. You can't just sit down to read the Bible as you would a fictional novel. Choose a time each day when you can focus on the reading. Set this into your schedule and don't allow yourself to easily change the time. Then choose a place where you can sit and read without distractions. Selecting a regular time and place to stay on track with your reading is very helpful.
You should also have an accountability partner who will ask you about your daily reading time. Some people recommend telling many people who will hold you accountable and watch to see if you're really serious about reading your Bible and spending more time with God. This may be a lot of pressure, so you have to think about how you meet goals.
Don't skip days because of busyness or because you need a few minutes of extra sleep. However, you shouldn't become so legalistic about it that reading becomes a chore. Find a good balance of flexibility and accountability. You may get sick one day and need to catch up over the weekend when you feel better. Don't stop just because you miss a few days. It doesn't matter if your one-year plan takes one-and-a-half years or even two.
Switch up your reading by listening instead of visualizing. Use an audible version that reads to you. Read from different translations. If you get bogged down in a section, talk to your spiritual leader and get a different viewpoint. Use the study aids online or a good commentary to help you understand what you're reading. There are many resources available to you through your library and the internet.
Have a Purpose When Reading
Remember to enjoy your Bible reading. You have the opportunity to study this great piece of literature. It shouldn't be a chore, but a chance to really delve into what you believe and why. Some of the world's most accomplished artists have used the Bible as inspiration for literature, paintings, architecture and sculpture. Knowing the stories and themes in the Old and New Testaments give you a better perspective into some of the most popular stories of today. "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis and "The Stand" by Stephen King both have religious undertones. On its surface, "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle doesn't seem biblical, but there are many images from Genesis which recur throughout the novel.
Don't just read the Bible to have bragging rights or to check something off your bucket list. Do it because you have the privilege of studying the Bible and coming to know your faith better.