1. Get a Bible reading plan
There’s an excellent Bible app called “YouVersion” that lets you pick a variety of plans, anywhere from a 7 day plan to a year-long plan. You can even opt to have a daily reminder. It fills you with a sense of accomplishment as you finish each plan, eager to start a new one. If you get behind, you don’t have to feel badly about it. This app has a “catch me up” feature that brings you back to where you left off.
If you’re looking for a creative way to get the Word inside you, meditate while creating art! There’s tons of adult coloring books that are centered around the theme of scripture verses. This looks cool, and hey, only five bucks! My guess is this will help you with memorization as well.
3. Get a nice Bible journal
Make notes while you read, in the journal, highlighting revelation from the Holy Spirit so you can remember it later. For fun, use different color pens and accent with stickers and doodles. Of course, if you’re doing this, it might be a good idea to have an actual Bible instead of just the one on your phone, and then you can write in it as well. You can highlight and add notes with the YouVersion app, but sometimes you just want to write in your own handwriting.
4. Make a habit of it
It doesn’t have to be in the morning, but reading the Bible at the same time every day will help you remember to do it. A friend of mine told me once: “Do the best thing first” and it’s stuck with me through the years. Before switching to a morning quiet time, I used to try to read my Bible as soon as the kids were in bed and the house was clean, before reading or vegging out on social media.
5. Pick a few verses and meditate on them
While I was on staff at the International House of Prayer, I was introduced to a form of Bible meditation where you take a verse or two and break it into phrases. Armed with a piece of paper and a pencil, you then would apply the pattern “sing it, say it, read it, pray it” to each phrase. This is an excellent way to get the Word lodged in your heart. It’s not always necessary to consume large quantities of the Bible. Getting revelation on small bits is just as important.
6. Sing through the verses
If you play an instrument, I highly recommend playing while singing through scripture. Otherwise, pop in some instrumental music. The Psalms is a great place to start, although I love flowery passages such as Ephesians 1 as well. I recorded myself once, and was often getting melodies of Bible verses stuck in my head.
7. Study topics through the Thompson Chain Bible
If you really want to hide God’s Word in your heart and get familiar with it, you want to do more than just read it. My absolute favorite tool for Bible study is the Thompson Chain Bible. It’s available for your mobile device as an add-on in the Olive Tree Bible app (check it out here), and, of course, they carry a hardcover version as well. The Thompson Chain lists topics in each verse and assigns a number. For instance, if I’m reading John 3:16, one of the topics listed will be God’s love. I can then see the number assigned to God’s love, and find all the other scriptures under that topic. I studied this way for a number of topics. The nice thing is that when you pray, you will have all these verses memorized more or less according to topic, so that your prayers are coming straight from the Bible.
8. Pray through verses
The Bible is full of “biblical prayers,” prayers that the author of the book prayed over himself or the saints. Get a hold of these, and pray them over yourself and your friends and family. These are rich verses, and praying words aligned with God’s heart and will is always an excellent idea. An internet search for “biblical prayers” will turn these up for you.
9. Get accountable
Get a Bible-reading partner, and keep each other accountable. It’s so much easier to stay on the wagon if you know you’ll have to confess it to someone else when you’ve stopped reading. A missed day here or there isn’t a big deal, but when you start a new habit of not reading the Word, you want to acknowledge it and get yourself back in the game.
10. Start memorizing
There’s so much time during the day when your brain isn’t engaged actively in a task: when you’re washing the dishes, folding laundry, driving, taking a shower, etc. Why not invest that time in something that counts for eternity? I haven’t been faithful in Bible memorization lately, but when I was, I used the apps “BibleMinded” and “Don’t Forget.”
It’s so easy to get sucked into the dark vortex that is this world. Our mind and emotions are prey to ungodly sentiments via social media, television, coworkers, and friends and family. It is important to get washed from the filth of this world by washing yourself with the water of the Word (Eph. 5:26). When we first start regularly reading the Bible again, it’s a discipline, something that is not necessarily enjoyable, but necessary. Once it’s a habit, it begins to transform you from the inside out and becomes no longer something you have to do, but something you love to do.