What’s at the top of your resolution list this year? Are you sticking with the old standbys to lose weight or exercise more? Or, are you branching out to try a new hobby, go on a mission trip, or commit to volunteering?
If you have room for one more goal in 2018, let it be this: spending more time in God’s Word. No matter your job, your age, or your place in life, God promises that you’ll benefit from studying the Scriptures more diligently. In 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV), you’ll read these words. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Yes, God’s Word equips you for whatever you face in life—joy or sadness, health or illness, blessings or shortfalls.
Before you add this goal to your list of resolutions, consider how you’re going to make it happen. Think about the timing, the setting, and the strategies that will work best for you. The five tips below can help. Pick a few from the list or try them all over the course of the year.
1. Read through the Bible in a year
There are more than 31,000 verses in the Bible. That’s a pretty overwhelming number, right? So, break it down into manageable sections. Many Christian websites offer free Bible reading plans. (Bible Study Tools is a good place to start.) You can read cover to cover, in chronological order, a combination of New Testament and Old Testament, or according to themes.
If you like to organize things digitally, you can find an app to track your progress. If you like pen and paper more, purchase an inexpensive journal or calendar to chart your readings. Both of these methods will boost your motivation when you feel like skipping a day or two.
2. Study topics that interest you most
What’s going on in your life right now? Are you struggling with anxiety or depression? Have you been diagnosed with an illness? Do you want to talk to your a new friend about Jesus? Don’t be afraid to ditch the plans in tip #1 and simply study what’s on your heart! Read God’s Word to find comfort and guidance when you need it most.
3. Color-code your Bible
You’re bound to have days where you just can’t focus and your mind wanders while you’re reading the Bible. To stay focused, color-code the words in each verse. Grab a pack of highlighters and pick a color system. For example, use purple for God, yellow for Jesus, blue for the Holy Spirit, green for promises, orange for the Law, and red for forgiveness.
4. Use verse mapping
If you like to analyze, dig deep, and get the fullest sense of what you’re reading, Bible verse mapping might be a great strategy for you. It involves studying several translations of the verse, looking into the history and context surrounding the verse, and reflecting on what God is saying through the verse. There isn’t a right or wrong way to do it, but you might find it helpful to start with a template worksheet.
5. Memorize Scripture
Even though you can’t keep your head in the Bible all day, you can keep Bible verses running through your mind. Pick a verse and memorize it. Write the verse on sticky notes and post them on your mirror, your cabinet doors, and your dashboard. Or, use a digital tool like Scripture Typer or BibleMinded. Set a goal to memorize a certain number of verses in 2018 and see if you can make it!
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