A Simple, Daily Way to Interact with Scripture 

I love scripture. Whenever I interact with it in a meaningful way, I leave feeling closer to Jesus. I’m less likely to worry, lash out in anger, or act in my own self-interest that day.

For years and years, reading the Bible was just another thing on my to-do list. My spiritual to-do list, sure, but after a while, it all blends together, doesn’t it? Drive the kids to school. Mow the lawn. Read the Bible. Get gas. Make dinner. 

That, or it was a task so huge that I wouldn’t do it at all. And then I experienced guilt. “I get through the entire Bible in a year,” a guy in a cowboy hat told me at church once, puffing up his chest and staring me down, making sure I felt bad about my own scripture consumption compared to his. “Every. Year.” Good news, guy. You made me feel like a bad believer.  

I love scripture. Whenever I interact with it in a meaningful way, I leave feeling closer to Jesus. I’m less likely to worry, lash out in anger, or act in my own self-interest that day. I’m more of a non-anxious presence in people’s lives, and I make much better decisions in my relationships, work, and family life. And if I immerse myself in the Bible every day? Hey, that makes for an excellent week – for me and the people around me. 

But for so long, I wasn’t able to interact with scripture on a regular basis. It was either too rote or too daunting. I realized I needed to try something different. 

So I did. And eventually, I was able to find a simple, shame-free, daily way for me to read the Bible. 

First, Release the Pressure 

Before I tell you what it is, here is the most important step I had to take to make daily scripture-engagement work for me: I released any and all expectations and pressures around Bible reading. 

I decided I wouldn’t put any demands on myself to read a certain amount in any specific amount of time. And I made the conscious decision not to compare myself with others in this area. I can’t tell you how incredibly helpful this first step has been to me. I would highly suggest doing the same. 

I devote some time to sit quietly by myself. 

Most of the time this is in the morning, for 15 to 30 minutes. I have my Bible, a journal, and a pen with me. I decide on a book of the Bible to work my way through. Books have run the gamut from Gospels, Epistles, and the Psalms. For folks trying this technique for the first time, I usually suggest starting with Mark or Luke, because they are easy to read, narrative-based, and filled with the life and teachings of Jesus himself. After a minute or two of quieting myself, I start to read.  

I read until something sticks out to me, and when it does, I stop. 

A word, a phrase, or a sentence. I don’t have to know why it sticks out to me, not yet. If I sense that it may be something God wants me to pay attention to, I trust him and I stop. And that’s all the reading I do that day. 

I write the word, phrase, or sentence down in my journal and ask Jesus what it is he wants me to see, hear, or apply to my life that day. 

  1. After I listen a bit, I write down some of my thoughts in my journal, continuously opening my heart to anything he might have to say to me. 
  1. I ask for His help to live differently that day in the face of this portion of scripture and spend another minute or so quieting myself before I move on to my actual to-do list. That’s it. 

I have been reading the Bible using this method for almost a decade. I do it almost every day, and it enriches my life and draws me closer to Jesus. 

Take. Your. Time. 

A word of warning: it takes a long, long time to get through even one book of the Bible using this method. The first book I read through this way was Matthew, and it took me over a year. I was immersed in the Sermon on the Mount for almost four months. And when I hit chapter 11, verses 28-30 (“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden…”), Jesus kept me there for three whole weeks

That was just fine with me. This probably wouldn’t impress cowboy-hat-guy, but I was in no hurry. 

And, all these years later, I’m still in no hurry. I look forward to my time in scripture each morning because I’ve done all I can to eschew pressure, comparison, and rush from the daily experience. 

Even if the process I outlined above doesn’t quite work for you, my advice is to embark on a similar journey that I did, remembering reading the Bible is supposed to be good, and that it’s okay to make it work for you. I’m so glad I did.

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