Most of us agree that having a consistent, daily Bible study is the highest priority for a victorious walk with Christ. God’s word is life and helps us to change the way we think about God, our world, and our circumstances by aligning with the truth. Knowing the word of God is essential to our faith, as well. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” Romans 10:17.
Although we want to study our Bibles daily, it is often a struggle to make it a priority in our life. Just like exercise, we know it is good for us, but we lack the willpower or drive to do it every day. Anytime a person desires to establish a new routine or daily habit, it takes a lot of intentional planning and strategy. Side note: It has always irritated me that it is hard to start good habits but incredibly easy to establish bad habits like nail biting, overeating, and saying “um” when you are speaking. (Not fair!)
If you desire to make daily Bible study a new or renewed habit in your life, there are many ways to start. The most effective way to establish this habit is to figure out what will trigger you to keep that daily Bible study appointment. If you are visual, perhaps a Post-It note on your mirror, a calendar reminder in your phone, or just having your Bible out on top of the coffee maker every morning. If you are kinetic, determine a new routine for your Bible study time. I find that coffee is the perfect accompaniment to Bible study, so taking your already-established coffee drinking time and repurposing it with a planned Bible study can be a great way to start. If you are a planner, allowing for more time in your day by waking 15 minutes earlier than normal will also help to establish a routine that is manageable in your morning schedule.
The greatest way to establish a new Bible study habit is to realize what types of benefits or rewards you can realize from this new discipline in your life. Some of the most recognized and significant rewards of regular Bible study are:
- Defeating the flesh. (And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17)
- Growing in your walk. (Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you grow in respect to salvation. 1 Peter 2:2)
- Wisdom. (Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105)
According to a study by Philippa Lally (a health psychology researcher at University College London), it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. It could take anywhere from two months to eight months to establish a new habit in your life. The challenge is to discover how to develop this as a new routine for the length of time needed to make it truly stick.
So, let’s say you do get a new rhythm and routine down for daily Bible study, what then? Effective Bible study is something that not only requires your time and commitment but also requires the know-how. For instance, I also like to have a very cool journal to help me track my progress and write down the amazing things God shows me daily in his word.
There are several Bible study methods that can utilize in your journaling and study time to help you feel that you are using your time effectively. Some of the more popular methods are: S.O.A.P. (scripture, observation, application and prayer); Ignation Method (prepare, picture, ponder, practice); PR3 method (pray, read, reflect, respond) or the Promise Principal (underline the promise and ask: is this something to simply thank God for or is this something to ask God for?, followed by a prayer that this promise would be present in your life that day).
Whatever the method, the goal is to hear from God. This means prayer. Prayer is a two-way street where you both ask of God and listen to God. Ask God to give you wisdom and he will give it to you liberally (James 1:5). After all, we know we have this promise and can count on it: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” James 4:8.