How to Start a Daily Bible Reading Habit
“How long does it take to form a habit?” This question has sparked many debates and a number of research projects over the decades. From Maxwell Maltz’s belief that habits can change in 21 days to James Clear’s stand that it takes 66 days to form them, the world has been undeniably saturated with “habit formation” advice and techniques. In this blog post, we will learn how to start a daily Bible reading habit.
No matter who wins this age-old debate, one thing remains clear: habits – forming them, changing them, and even breaking bad ones – are important. They are the essential actions that structure and start our days. Knowing this, doesn’t the qualitative seem more crucial than the quantitative?
Fixating on the numbers debate in “habit formation” can pull us away from two life-changing questions:
- What habits should we start, change, or break?
- Why should we start, change, or break them?
The common habits people typically aspire to develop are related to improving one’s self or maintaining what one already has – exercising at the gym, jogging for a few minutes each day, journaling in a diary, and drinking eight glasses of water are just a few examples.
But it is our hope that we all remember that we are made of more than just a mass of cells and bundles of muscle fiber. We are also beings that need nourishment in our souls. So, we turn to the source of said nourishment – a precious book that continues to transcend time, remaining relevant no matter what day and age. The Bible is the life-changing book that contains God’s Word. It has been read over and over again by millions of people around the world and across generations. If we think about it, avid Bible readers are the greatest pool of witnesses – particularly in terms of sheer number – who can confidently affirm the transformative power of daily Bible reading.
This is a beautiful day to begin your Bible reading habit!
In the list below are several tips and techniques that we hope will guide you in starting a daily Bible reading habit. Whether you have never read the Bible before or you have already started but struggle with being consistent, we pray that these ideas will be applicable to you and your faith journey.
1.) Owning a personal copy
Trying to form a daily Bible reading habit without owning or having access to God’s Word is similar to someone trying to learn how to swim when there isn’t any water. We encourage you to take that first step and get a copy of your very own Bible. The tangible presence of this beautiful book in your life will help keep you grounded and reminded that its author – God our heavenly Father – remains ever present. In this first step of actually acquiring your own copy, we also know that “price” may play a huge factor. Praise God for He has been leading the Philippine Bible Society for over 120 years in making the Bible readily available at prices that people can afford. Shop here for affordable Bibles and Scripture materials today.
2.) Owning a personal copy in a format that meets your needs
Attempting to become consistent in daily Bible reading can be a difficult challenge, especially if there is much resistance between the reader and the reading format. Imagine the struggle a self-confessed non-tech savvy person may experience in navigating a digital Bible app. Also, consider those who already have poor eyesight or those who have no sense of sight whatsoever. The former would either need Bibles with larger print or audio-based ones, while the latter would require a format in Braille. Between getting a personal copy of the Bible and reading it in one’s heart language, this step of being intentional about the format can be easily overlooked. But it is actually a vital part of the process of forming a daily Bible reading habit. Matching the right format to a person’s needs makes a world of a difference and it is something that we at PBS have been committed to working towards for many years now.
3.) Owning a personal copy in your heart language
Forming a daily Bible reading habit becomes more enjoyable and meaningful when our personal copies, which come in the formats that best meet our needs, are also translated into our heart languages. There is great joy to be found when one simply immerses himself in God’s Word in the language closest to his heart. Each verse, passage, chapter, and book – although already powerful and dynamic – can become a greater wake-up call or serve as a more tender embrace when read and internalized in a person’s mother tongue. This is one of the many reasons why Bible translation lies at the core of what we do at PBS. In order to make the Bible known all over the Philippines, we need it to be understandable by the Filipino people.
We hope that these three basic ideas give you a more firm foundation for a solid start to your daily Bible reading habit formation journey. But if you still need more tips, we have prepared a couple more for you in the list below:
PRACTICAL WAYS to help you read consistently
- Keep your Bible within reach – Whether it is big or small and digital or physical, we recommend treating your Bible the same way you treat your everyday essential items (phone, wallet, keys, etc.) You’ll be delightfully surprised by the amount of reading opportunities you can get within a day – from your waiting time in meetings or before classes to your commuting time between location changes.
- Create reminders – The time you commit each day to Bible reading is entirely up to you. Some people are more alert in the morning, while others know that their brains absorb more information at night. What matters is that you are both a consistent and mindful Bible reader. A simple phone reminder, a note in your planner, or a sticky note beside your bedside table can help you in your earlier days of forming this habit. We encourage you to make these reminders very time-specific as well.
CREATIVE WAYS to make you enjoy your reading time even more
- Try Bible journaling – We invite you to set aside a notebook dedicated to journaling your thoughts and insights from your daily Bible reading session. You can make use of colorful pens and highlighters. You can even get creative using other stationery items like pretty sticky notes and functional stickers. If you would like a basic easy-to-follow guide to get you started in Bible journaling, then we recommend this free printable that we made for a blog post a couple of months ago.
- Join a Bible study group – Reading the Bible solo during one’s personal time is such a special activity. But there is also a lot of wisdom that springs forth from a group discussion. Joining a Bible study group or starting one on your own can add a new layer of depth to the already soul-nourishing act of Bible reading. Being surrounded by a group of people whom you can journey with is one of the best experiences in the world.
MODERN WAYS to solidify your reading habit and enhance your reading experience
- Deepen your knowledge and widen your understanding through blog posts and reading plans – Our PBS blog is updated monthly with new content from Bible-verse compilations to faith-journey lifestyle posts. On the other hand, we also recommend that you check out the different reading plans that have been curated on the YouVersion Bible app.
- Make use of other available digital resources – Our PBS Facebook page is updated daily with various Scripture cards: Good News Translation (GNT), Magandang Balita Biblia (MBB), and New Testament: Pinoy Version (PVNT) Bible verses. For each Scripture card that comes by your feed for that specific day, you can say a simple prayer, reflect on what that Bible verse means to you, and even share it to a friend whom you know you can discuss that Bible verse with. We encourage you to get creative with the digital resources that have been made available.
After reading all of these tips and suggestions, we hope that you feel better equipped to start your daily Bible reading journey. And if you have been a reader for quite some time already, then we hope that you got new ideas that you can apply in your Bible reading journey as well.