Desiring God has a great article title Three Tips for Better Bible Reading. This article isn’t about why one should read scripture regularly. Most Christians I’ve spoken with on the topic already know it’s important…and feel guilty for failing to do so. Many try but get bogged down for one reason or another. The article mentioned provides some thoughts on ways to do so effectively.
[Spoiler Alert: I’m going to tell you what they are, and my take on them, but I still recommend reading the primary article for yourself.]
1) Listen to audio Bibles
I’m a fan of this myself. That’s part of my regular routine. My mind tends to wander while reading anything. I found that listening while I read really helps me stay focused. The article suggested reading in one translation and listening to another. I’d not considered that before. I have a feeling that I would find it distracting (as I sometimes do in church when scripture is read aloud in a translation different from what I’m reading) but I’ll probably still give it a go and see what happens.
2) Read books of the Bible in one sitting.
This is really effective at giving one a macro level view of a book. We usually break up readings into small chunks which can sometimes cause us to miss things only noticeable in the big picture.
I’ve done this with some of the shorter books or when studying in preparation of a new sermon series (I preach expositorily through books of the Bible).
3) Read without any chapters or verse references.
Have you ever noticed a paragraph or even a sentence broken up by a chapter mark? It happens. The chapter and verse divisions aren’t part of the original text. While these features help us locate specific places in scripture, they can also cause us to lose the meaning or emphasis of a passage. Just this week I discovered a sentence broken into three verses and discovered the emphasis of a passage completely changed when I ignored the verse divisions and read the sentence as a whole.
Bonus: Just keep reading
This is my own addition. One things which used to bog me down was allowing myself to get sidetracked by interesting things. Something would grab my attention and I’d start chasing it down, doing word studies, historical studies, etc. To combat this I started doing a quick underline or note in the margin and move on. Later that day I’ll come back to the passages I read and start looking more deeply into those things which grabbed my attention during reading time.
Well, there’s my two cents. I recommend reading the main article and finding the tools which work for you.