How would your life be different if you read the Bible every day — or if you turned to it as often as you do your smartphone?
Pope Francis asked that question and had this to say:
“If we had the Word of God always in the heart, no temptation would be able to estrange us from God and no obstacle would be able to make us deviate from the path of goodness; we would be able to overcome the daily suggestions of evil that are in us and outside of us; we would be more capable of living a resurrected life according to the Spirit, receiving and loving our brothers … and also our enemies” (3/6/17 Angelus address in St Peter’s Square).
Maybe it’s too much to expect, that we check our Bibles as often as we check our cellphones. But think of the strength and confidence we might gain by reading a little bit every day! I mean really reading it. Taking a small piece and thinking, meditating, “chewing” on it until it takes up residence in our mind and heart. Because once that happens, the word of God takes on a life of its own and starts to change us.
Resolve to read the Bible daily in 2024
That’s why this year, I plan to read the Bible every day. Will you join me? It doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some ideas if you don’t know where to start:
- Grab a lectionary (or go to the USCCB website) and read the day’s gospel reading every day for a year.
- Read a Psalm a day. When you’re done, start back at the beginning. After that, zero in on your favorites. Or read all of them each month by reading five each day. You can also cycle through by praying the Liturgy of the Hours.
- Start with Matthew 1 and make your way through the New Testament. Take your time, even if it’s just a few sentences a day. Let it soak in. Listen and pray with it.
- I once spent an entire school year reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters, so it’s easy to match the chapter to the day of the month.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat something good over and over. You might even memorize a book that way, without trying. Think what God could do in your soul with that level of saturation….
- Follow one of the reading plans in the Living the Word Catholic Women’s Bible. There are lots of reading helps in that Bible, too.
- Start the year out with the Bible Timeline 90-day reading plan. It’ll take you through the entire biblical narrative (14 books that tell the overall story) in three months. When you’re done, go back and spend leisurely, prayerful time in the books that spoke the most to you.
- Read through that same set of Bible Timeline readings in a year instead of three months by reading just a chapter a day. Use this check-off list or read with the help of the Bible Timeline Guided Journal.
- Find some other ideas on the Resources page of my website.
What do I plan to do? Along with praying with the lectionary readings every day, I’m going to soak in Mark’s gospel — which is the focus of this year’s Sunday mass readings. What will you decide?
If you need help getting started, this post will give you three “Ps” to help you build a Bible reading habit:
2024 – ready or not, here I come!
Share your plan in the comments, if you’d like. I’d love to hear it. And may the Lord richly bless you as you read!
© 2013 – 2024 Sarah Christmyer (Previously published as “Start the New Year Right: Build a Bible Reading Habit,” 2019)