Many people ask how much time they should spend reading the Bible. It’s a good question, but there is no one-size-fits-all kind of answer. When it comes to the time we spend in God’s Word, there is no such thing as “too much” – there is no such thing as “too little.”
I remember not long after I became a Christian a sweet and godly man told me that there is a big difference between reading God’s Word and studying it and that I needed to strive to do both each day. That word of wisdom has stuck with me through the years. For better or for worse, I still strive to do both every day. I say, “for better or for worse” because, at times, I’ve weighed myself down with self-imposed expectations that were impossible to keep in light of what I was going through.
You see, it doesn’t take long on planet earth to learn that life happens and circumstances don’t always add up to an hour in the morning reading God’s Word and an hour in the evening studying it. Life happens. People get sick. Tragedy strikes. Schedules are altered. Children are up all night throwing up. Elderly parents need to be cared for. Newborn babies cry through the night. A house full of children make it impossible to find a quiet place.
We’re all in different seasons in our lives and we face an ongoing jockeying of our schedules trying to prevent our worlds from colliding with our time in the Word.
On the flip side of the circumstantial coin, it’s important that we don’t let our dailies dictate our agendas. If we’re not careful, our lives can become an excuse for not spending time in the Word of the Living God.
So, how much time is enough? As much as you can possibly invest! As much as you desire to grow given the season you are in right now. As much as you need comfort, courage, wisdom and strength in the circumstances you face today. As much as you need to build your faith and guard your heart during the storms that are sure to come. As much as you desire to leave a legacy of diligence and godliness for your children. As much as you can, dear one…as much as you can.
But if you’re anything like me, your attempts will be hit and miss without the benefit of a well-crafted plan. Fortunately, there are plenty out there for you to choose from. Biblegateway.com has several reading plans available. Another great source is Heartlight.org.
If you’re looking for ways to make time in the Word a priority in your life, here are some ideas that I hope will inspire you.
Choose a plan. I recommend you try beginning with a “read the Bible in a year” plan now. That normally takes about 20-30 minutes a day.
Commit to a timeframe that works for you. Evaluate your schedule and write down your time in the Word in your appointment book. That’s right…make an appointment with God and guard it at all possible costs. If you don’t think you have enough time, think about how much time you spend watching TV. Consider how many hours you spend on the computer…on Facebook, on Twitter, blogging and email. Think of the time you spend randomly talking on the phone to your friends. None of those things are bad, but they’re no comparison with our time in the Word.
Be accountable. Find a friend who loves to spend time in the Word and give her permission to keep you accountable. It may not be easy, but you have to be willing to allow others into your world and ask you questions that may aggravate you every once in a while.
Teach Someone. You will never learn more than when you teach someone else. Teaching puts you under the gun and literally makes you spend time in the Word. I’ve often said that speaking is selfish for me because it motivates me to diligently study God’s Word so that I’m able to present it clearly to others.
Be forgiving. Give yourself room to fail and room for life to happen without beating yourself up or giving up. If you miss a day, a week, a month…just look at your plan and begin reading where you are. Don’t try to catch up…just start where you are and get back on track.
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Psalm 119:92-93 reminds us of the life-giving qualities God’s Word, “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.”
If you struggle with trying to figure out how much time is enough, just remember, when it comes to the time we spend in God’s Word, there is no such thing as “too much” – there is no such thing as “too little.” No time in the Word is wasted. So…dig in!