Seven Easy (and Essential) Habits for Reading the Bible Well

After fasting from food for forty days, Satan tempted Jesus and challenged him to make bread. Jesus quoted Moses and his response was earthshaking:

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)


Life isn’t easy. We were either busy, stressed, or both. We make mistakes, and some of them are serious. We need a steady stream of transformation, inspiration, and insight. Every day we need help, and it’s only found in God’s presence and his power.

When we make the time to read the Bible, we do so because we want to deepen our relationship with him.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

This is a big problem for those of us who have made God our top priority. How can we get into position so that we might live on God’s Word?


Preparation is key. To read the Bible well, you need to set yourself up to win. What follows is seven easy Bible reading habits–they are easy because anyone can do them. This is a good thing, because I believe they are also essential.

#1. Begin with PRAYER.
Take the following prayer and change it to make it your own:

“God, help me to hear your voice. Forgive me for my sins, my pride and imperfections. Clean my heart so I can hear you speak. Thank you for loving me, and that your love is unconditional and inescapable. Thank you for speaking to me, for loving me first so that I could respond in love back to you. Keep me focused on you and your word, keep me free from distraction. Help me to understand your will for my life, so that I can live according to your purpose for me.”

#2. Pick the right TIME.
Timing is everything. If you are a morning person, make that your primary time to read God’s Word. If you are night person, read at that time. Pick a time when you’ll be at your best and you won’t be rushed.

#3. Choose the right PLACE.
Choose a place where you have the best chance of being distraction free. If you need total quiet to concentrate, don’t try to read your Bible at a coffee shop or a restaurant.

#4. Disconnect from your DIGITAL world.
This should be a “given,” but in our world, it isn’t. Turn off the Wi-Fi, smart phone, tablet, and watch if it’s “smart” too. Everyone you know can live without 24/7 access to your life… the real question is can you live without it? Believe it or not, when you disconnect digitally, the world will still rotate around the sun.

#5. Follow a realistic PLAN.
There are several ways to read the Bible. Some people turn to a random page, start reading, and then find a verse that is personally powerful. What I love about this message is the spiritual submission and readiness to hear God speak. The tough thing about this approach is that it’s not a great way to read for understanding. Pick one book, start at the beginning and read it all the way through. You may read it fast (several chapters or the whole thing) or you may read it slow (just a few verses.) If you are reading a book in the Bible for the first time, my suggestion is that you read as much as possible, preferably the entire book, in one sitting. This will give you the big picture, and then you can go back and read it at a slower pace with an understanding of how everything fits together.

Another challenge for many people is the “read through the Bible in a year” plan. This is a great thing to do! But for many people three chapters a day is too much, and after skipping a few days, the guilt piles up. Follow a plan that is realistic for you.

#6. Delay your DISTRACTIONS.
You will get distracted. It’s unavoidable. Don’t try to deny the distractions, delay them by writing them down. If you are distracted by something you need to do, (for example, “I need to text Bobby”), take 10 seconds to write that down. That’s much better than taking 60 seconds to text Bobby–especially because he might text you back, another distraction! If you are distracted by something you need to think about (for example, thinking about an awkward conversation from a few days ago), indulge the distraction for a few moments, and then ask God to help you return to reading his Word.

#7. Record your QUESTIONS.
The Bible can be confusing. This isn’t just a good thing, it’s a great thing! Every time you are confused, you are positioned to learn something. Don’t let your questions distract you, and neither do you want to loose them. Write them down and make it a point to find the answers later. Ask a friend, your pastor, or maybe even google it–although remember that just because it’s on the web, that doesn’t mean it’s good or true!

I love questions, and I love hearing them from others. Feel free to submit your questions to this site, and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.