By, Audrey Moore
“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17
These verses feel really inspiring and instructive, don’t they? And they are! They remind us that walking faithfully with Christ isn’t that complicated. Simply continue in what we have learned about Christ. (That does assume that we know Him and have an ongoing relationship with Him.)
Verses 16–17 are pretty familiar verses to a lot of Christians. We use them to remind others that we can’t just pick and choose Bible verses we like, nor should we doubt any of the Bible because it was written by God Himself. But maybe, like me, you haven’t always acted like you believe these verses. Because if we do, we will prioritize God’s Word on a regular basis and will regularly work through the entirety of Scripture, because we believe it IS ALL profitable to help us become more like Christ.
I started using whole-Bible reading plans a few years ago, and I’m happy to say that I truly enjoyed completing the Bible in a year. It has become something that I can tell is missing the days that I skip it (and that does still happen). If you have been on the struggle bus when it comes to consistency, I hope these things that helped me stop feeling guilty and stop making excuses will help you, too!
- Plan your time in God’s Word. Pick a Bible-reading plan, buy a chronological or daily Bible, just some kind of plan that will list out reading for you to do regularly (preferably one that will get you through the entire BIble).
- Plan to do your reading at a specific time each day, and in the same spot as much as possible. This step will set you up for consistency. My plan looks like this: on the couch after the kids go to bed at 8:00 with my MacArthur Daily Bible, pens, and notebook.
- Be willing to bring your Bible reading into the chaos on days when your plan won’t work. There may be some days when you read on your phone on the go (turn it on Do Not Disturb so you can lessen interruptions). There may be some days when your kids interrupt you 30 times while you’re reading. That’s ok! Put in the effort and you never know what God will surprise you with.
- Listen to your Bible reading while you run errands in the car or drive to work. One of my favorite stories is about Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, who would regularly sit down amid the chaos of her 19 children, simply throw her apron over her face, and spend time with God in prayer and Bible reading. Susanna knew the importance of God’s Word in her life!
- Don’t let guilt stop you from jumping back in. When we view our Bible reading as part of building a relationship instead of an item on a checklist, it’s easier to let the guilt about skipping a day go. I loved being part of a Bible reading program that routinely reminded us, “You’re not behind if you’re reading today! Just jump back in on today’s reading!”
- Remember that we are feeding ourselves spiritually when we read God’s Word. You wouldn’t show up at a friend’s house for dinner and then tell her you never ate breakfast so could she please scramble up some eggs for you before you could eat what she had already prepared. Of course that seems silly! So don’t do that with your Bible reading either!
- Realize that as a lifelong student of the Bible, you don’t have to grasp everything right now. You may be want to stop and dig in to try to grasp some of the meatier passages that you come to in your reading. That’s fine if you want to, but I recommend just reading the Bible through without stopping to dig in really deep, especially during your first read-through. I’m reading the Bible through for my 4th time this year, and it’s amazing how God keeps pointing out new things to me! He will continue to help you understand things if you just keep feasting on His Word.
The most encouraging thing, and the thing that will keep drawing you back to God’s Word, is when you start to see it change your life. God has used the effort I have continued to put in (only by His grace) to change my thinking, to bring verses to mind that keep me from sinning in words or attitude, to help me give extra grace to my children…I could go on and on!
All Scripture is profitable, and the more time we spend in it, the easier it will be to simply continue in the things we have learned, no matter if everything around us seems to be falling apart. Learning about God through His Word will allow you to realize that He is good, He is sovereign, He is trustworthy, and He never changes. And that is what allows us to continue following in faith.