If you want to grow as a follower of Jesus, one of the best steps you can take is to read the Bible.
In No Silver Bullets, Daniel Im provides the results to a study on the few input goals that consistently predicted a higher score across all eight discipleship attribute output goals.
Here are three of them:
- Reading the Bible
- Attending a worship service at your church
- Attending small classes or groups for adults from church, such as Sunday school, Bible study, small groups, Adult Bible Fellowships, etc.
“When it comes to reading the Bible, hands down, this is the input goal that has a direct impact on the total score of all the output goals,” he writes. The surprising part:
It’s important to understand here that this question was not measuring whether or not an individual studied the Bible thoroughly or memorized Scripture. While those two were definitely important factors that predicted a higher score for the Bible Engagement output goal, this is not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the simple act of reading the Bible on a regular basis.
Simply reading the Bible is one of the best things you can do to grow in your relationship with God.
How to Read
If you want to read Scripture, two steps will get you started.
First, choose a plan. Trevin Wax has put together a helpful list of plans, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each plan. Find an approach that works for you, and one that fits within your lifestyle. It’s best to pick a plan that you can follow consistently rather than one that’s ambitious but unrealistic.
There’s no right plan for everyone, but I’m particularly interested in following the CSB Day-by-Day Chronological Bible edited by George Guthrie. The Bible provides a “Reader’s Guide” each day that helps locate the reader in how to read the portion that day, and how it fits into the overall picture of the Bible. Guthrie says:
A chronological Bible is both a wonderful devotional tool and a learning tool, not a replacement for one’s main Bible. Its great strength is that it helps us read through the Story of Scripture step-by-step, in a way that makes sense, at the same time helping us read the whole of Scripture—not just bits and pieces here and there. Devotionally, it can help us get in a rhythm of making space day-by-day, to meet God in his good Word. Thus it helps with a good habit.
Whichever plan you pick, there’s a second step: follow the plan. Find a time that works for you. Make it easy: pick the same spot and time to read every day, and put the Bible within reach. Keep experimenting until you find a pattern that works for you, and don’t get discouraged when if you fall behind. Simply keep going.
If you want to grow, this is the place to start. No other habit will make a greater difference in your life. Pick a plan, follow the plan, and keep going even when it gets hard or when you don’t do it perfectly. Reading the Bible will make a difference.