A close-up photo of a weathered, worn Bible lying on a rustic wooden table, bathed in soft sunlight, inviting the viewer to rediscover its wisdom and embrace the joy of reading it again.

How To Start Reading The Bible Again: A Step-By-Step Guide

Reading the Bible regularly can bring immense peace, wisdom, and guidance into your life. However, many Christians struggle to make Bible reading a consistent habit. If you want to restart your journey with God’s Word but aren’t sure where to begin, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Set aside a regular time each day to read the Bible, start with easier books like the Gospels, use a reading plan or devotional, and join a small group Bible study for accountability and encouragement.

In this detailed guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully start reading the Bible again, including choosing a reading plan, techniques for understanding the Bible better, tools and resources to enhance your reading experience, and ways to stay motivated over the long haul.

With the practical tips outlined below, you’ll be well on your way to making God’s Word a transformative part of your daily life once again.

Choose a Bible Reading Plan

Read cover to cover

Reading the Bible from cover to cover is a great way to gain an overall understanding of the grand narrative of Scripture. By reading every book, you’ll see how the story unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. This reading approach helps you grasp the connectivity between the Old and New Testaments.

Just be aware that reading cover to cover takes time and consistency. On average it takes about 70 hours to read the Bible from start to finish.

Use a topical plan

If you want to study a particular topic or doctrine in-depth, a topical plan is a great option. For example, you could focus on reading all the verses about prayer, forgiveness, love, or evangelism. Topical plans allow you to dive deep into biblical themes that interest you most.

You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of what the Bible says about that topic across both testaments. Some good topical plans can be found at BibleStudyTools.com.

Try a chronological plan

Chronological plans rearrange the order of books in the Bible to follow the timeline of events. This helps you understand the historical context in which each book was written. By reading books in chronological order, you’ll get a better sense of the unfolding of biblical history.

You’ll see how God interacted with humanity across different eras. Chronological plans also highlight when various books were written in relation to each other. Some chronological plans can be found at BibleStudyTools.com.

Follow a devotional plan

Devotional plans pair Bible passages with reflective meditations. These plans break up Bible reading into bite-sized chunks and connect Scripture to daily life. Devotional plans help you see the relevance of the Bible for your relationships, work, struggles, and growth.

They also prompt you to pray and apply God’s Word. Popular devotional plans include selections from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers and selections from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Download a Bible app

Bible apps like YouVersion, Olive Tree, ESV Bible, and Bible Gateway offer free reading plans for your smartphone. You can choose from hundreds of devotionals, topical studies, cover-to-cover, and chronological plans. Bible apps make it easy to stick with a plan through reminders and tracking.

You can also take notes, highlight verses, and share insights with friends. Bible apps help you stay engaged with God’s Word on the go.

Set Aside a Regular Time

First thing in the morning

Waking up earlier to read a few passages from the Bible is a great way to start your day on a positive note. Taking 10-15 minutes to read, reflect, and pray first thing in the morning can set the tone for your entire day. Some benefits of reading the Bible in the morning include:

  • It helps you focus your thoughts on God rather than all the distractions of the day.
  • You’re more alert and focused so you can absorb more of what you’re reading.
  • It reminds you of God’s truth, love, and promises as you go about your day.
  • Starting with God’s Word helps you approach tasks and relationships with wisdom and grace.

So set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, brew some coffee or tea, find a quiet spot, and open up the Word of God. There’s no better way to start your day! Just be sure to pick a consistent time you can stick with each morning.

During a break at work

With so many distractions and demands at work, it can be hard to stay focused spiritually. Using your breaks to connect with God through His Word is a simple way to refocus during the workday. Even just 5-10 minutes spent reading the Bible, praying or meditating during your lunch break can help calm your mind.

Here are some tips for fitting in time with God while at work:

  • Take your Bible and highlighters to work so you can read on breaks
  • Find a quiet place like an empty conference room or go outdoors
  • Set a recurring alarm on your phone for your chosen time
  • Start off by reading just a chapter or two each session
  • Ask God to reveal His truth and calm your spirit as you read

Using work breaks to reconnect spiritually helps you return to your tasks feeling refreshed and renewed. Be flexible if needed, but try to make reading the Word a consistent habit during each workday.

Before bedtime

Reading a few Bible verses or passages before bedtime is a comforting way to end your day. Getting into God’s Word helps clear your mind of the day’s worries. It also focuses your thoughts on Him instead of dwelling on anxious thoughts that keep you up.

Here are some good reasons to read the Bible before bed:

  • It transitions your mind from work/tasks to rest and renewal
  • Truths from the Word can encourage you or ease a troubled spirit
  • Bible reading reminds you of God’s presence and sovereignty
  • It cultivates a spirit of peace, joy and gratitude before sleep

Aim for 5-15 minutes of Bible reading before bed, keeping it consistent each night. Also take time to pray about concerns on your heart. God’s Word has amazing power to comfort, renew, and calm your soul when you read it before bedtime.

Schedule it on your calendar

With so many demands on your time, it can be helpful to actually schedule Bible reading on your work and personal calendars. This not only blocks out the time, but also helps it feel obligatory like other appointments.

You’re much more likely to follow through when it’s a firm commitment on your schedule. Here are some tips:

  • Schedule set times for each day or certain days of the week
  • Start small – 15-20 minutes to keep it manageable
  • Treat it like any other important appointment
  • Pick times you’re most alert and focused
  • Use calendar reminders so you don’t forget

Think of regular Bible reading time as a “divine appointment” with the Lord. When consistently on your calendar, it becomes a habit you’ll find yourself looking forward to each day. Allow God to speak to you through His Word by making this time non-negotiable.

Start with Accessible Books

When beginning or restarting a Bible reading habit, it’s best to start with the more straightforward, engaging books that will draw you in and keep you connected to Scripture. Below are some great options.

The Gospels

The four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – recount Jesus’s life, ministry, teachings, death and resurrection. Written in a narrative format, they are some of the most popular and widely read books of the Bible.

Many believers find starting with one Gospel account helps them better understand Christ’s purpose and mission on earth before digging deeper into other parts of Scripture.

Psalms and Proverbs

Psalms is a book of beautiful prayers, poems and hymns that expresses the full range of human emotion from cries for help to exuberant praise. This poetry is perfect for reading slowly, meditation and memorization.

Proverbs provides easily digestible lines of wisdom that give guidance for righteous living. Both books have short, self-contained sections you can tune into whenever you need inspiration or direction.

Shorter New Testament Letters

Many of the New Testament letters or “epistles” like Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and the letters of John and Peter contain less than five chapters each. Their uplifting calls to faith and morality as well as pastoral advice for fledging churches make for an encouraging read for those looking to reconnect spiritually.

In as little as 15 minutes, you can digest timeless Scriptural wisdom from the early apostles and disciples that will energize your faith walk.

In a 2019 study, nearly 65% of American churchgoers wanted to read the Bible more and over half admitted to only reading Scripture a few times a year. With so many demands on our time and attention, maintaining a regular Bible reading habit can be challenging.

But taking in bite-sized chunks of the Word from the most engaging books is a great way to begin cultivating that discipline. Focusing first on the Gospels, Psalms, Proverbs and shorter New Testament letters allows easy access into God’s Word so you can begin nurturing a life-giving Scripture routine.

Use Study Tools and Resources

Bible Dictionary and Concordance

A Bible dictionary defines key words and concepts, while a concordance shows every verse where a particular word appears. Both can provide helpful background information to clarify passages you’re struggling with.

For example, if you’re reading about the Feast of Tabernacles but don’t understand what it is, a Bible dictionary will explain the history and significance of this Jewish festival. Some popular options include Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Bible Commentary

A Bible commentary provides verse-by-verse explanations by biblical scholars. By understanding experts’ interpretations, you can gain deeper insight into the text. Renowned commentaries like Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, the IVP New Testament Commentary Series, and David Guzik’s Enduring Word Commentary can illuminate aspects you may have glossed over before.

Bible Reading Plans

Reading plans outline portions of Scripture to read each day. This helps create consistency rather than an aimless approach. Plans vary from read-the-Bible-in-a-year to focusing only on certain sections at a time.

Options like YouVersion’s reading plans allow customization around areas you want to emphasize. For example, choose a plan centered on the Gospels or Proverbs. Consistently following a plan leads to big-picture understanding faster.

Devotionals and Study Guides

Devotionals provide personal reflections on specific passages, often relating the ancient text to modern life. Study guides take a methodical approach and pose thoughtful questions for analyzing verses more critically.

Our Daily Bread, Jesus Calling, and NIV First-Century Study Bible Guide are excellent resources to ponder sacred Scripture wisdom at a deeper level before God. You can gain invaluable perspective through trusted spiritual advisors who have tread this path before you.

Equipping yourself with study tools opens your eyes wider to treasures in God’s Word you’ve not yet glimpsed. Approach Scripture with fresh awe as you prayerfully navigate each page with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Let these resources quicken your understanding so your whole life becomes saturated in biblical truth. What awaits you is a glorious journey – deeper intimacy with Christ as you delve into the living pages of the Bible once again!

Understand the Context

Learn about the author and audience

When reading the Bible, it’s important to understand who the author was writing to and why. Knowing the author’s purpose and original audience helps us better comprehend the meaning. For example, the Gospels were written so that people would believe Jesus is the Messiah (John 20:31).

Acts was written to record the early history of the church. Paul’s letters were written to instruct and encourage the churches he started. Recognizing the original purpose and audience for each book helps us apply God’s Word correctly today.

Understand the genre

The Bible contains different types of writing – history, poetry, prophecy, letters, and apocalyptic, to name a few. Knowing the genre helps us understand each passage as we read. For example, we should not take hyperbolic language in the Psalms literally, nor should we interpret apocalyptic imagery in Revelation in the same way we interpret the historical accounts in Acts.

Paying attention to literary style and genre prevents faulty interpretation.

Look up cross-references

Cross-references are verses related to the passage you’re reading. They act like commentaries that explain, expand, and reinforce the truths of God’s Word. For example, to understand Jesus’ statement in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God,” it helps to read cross-references like Colossians 3:1-2 about setting your mind on Christ.

Studying cross-references illuminates Scripture with Scripture.

Compare translations

The Bible was originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Reading multiple English translations can give you a well-rounded understanding of each passage. For example, compare how the NIV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, and NLT translate Philippians 4:13. The key is examining 2-3 translations rather than 20.

Let your main study Bible be the primary text, then selectively compare other translations for clarification. This prevents confusion yet provides translation nuances.

Have a Plan for When You Fall Behind

Read two chapters the next day

Life can get busy, and we don’t always have time to read our daily Bible passage. If you fall a day behind, consider doubling up and reading two chapters the next day to catch up. This takes some discipline, but it’s doable if you carve out a little extra time.

As the saying goes: “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Skip ahead to today’s reading

If you get several days behind, just skip ahead to today’s scheduled reading. No need to feel guilty about the missed passages – simply rejoin the plan where it’s at now. This prevents you from becoming overwhelmed trying to catch up. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: “There is a time for everything.”

Now is the time to get back on track.

Pick up where you left off

If being behind several days is discouraging you, another option is to just pick up where you left off. Continue moving forward even if you don’t sync perfectly with the reading plan schedule. The most important thing is that you are engaging God’s Word daily.

As the Bible says: “Let us not become weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9).

Start over

Alternatively, you can just start the reading plan over from the beginning. Sometimes having a fresh beginning inspires us to be more consistent. As Lamentations 3:22-23 declares: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”

God grants us new mercy each day!

The key is to find an approach that works for your season of life. Don’t compare yourself to others or get legalistic about “keeping up.” The goal is simply to open your heart to God’s voice on a regular basis through Scripture reading. He promises that His Word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

Keep persevering!

Find Accountability and Support

Join a small group Bible study

Getting involved in a small group Bible study can provide much-needed accountability and encouragement in your renewed journey through Scripture. Meeting regularly with a consistent group of 4-12 people gives you a safe space to ask questions, share insights, pray together, and keep each other motivated.

Look for a group that fits your schedule and demographics at local churches, Christian organizations, or online communities. An experienced leader will guide the discussion and make sure everyone gets a chance to participate.

Be open about your struggles in staying consistent with daily Bible reading and lean on others for support.

Find an accountability partner

In addition to a small group, it can be extremely beneficial to partner one-on-one with a spiritually mature Christian friend who will hold you accountable in your Bible reading. Text or call this person every morning to share a short recap of what you read and what it meant to you.

Ask them to follow up at the end of the day to see if you followed through on your planned Scripture reading. Pray for each other and confess when you fall behind so they can speak truth and encouragement to get you back on track.

By connecting intimately with another believer, you drastically increase your success rate in sticking with daily Scripture engagement long-term.

Discuss passages with a mentor

Seek out an older, wiser Christian leader who can mentor you in biblical literacy and application. Send them passages that confuse or convict you and meet regularly to unpack the meaning together. Their experience and spiritual maturity will grant helpful perspective into how God’s truth intersects with real life.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and lean on their knowledge as you reacquaint yourself with the riches of Scripture. If they demonstrate skill in making the Bible come alive, they are worth learning from. With their guidance, you’ll grasp the relevance of God’s Word in fresh ways.

Listen to the Bible with family/friends

Read Scripture aloud together with your spouse, kids, parents, roommates or close friends for added camaraderie and insight. Take turns reading a chapter a day and then share your observations, questions and encouragement with one another.

Hearing the Word spoken out loud reinforces the power and importance of God’s message. Listening together builds unity and makes the experience more fun through shared struggles and revelations. Play theology games with kids where they earn points for memorizing verses.

Including loved ones multiplies spiritual growth as you urge each other on in pursuing Christ through regular Bible engagement. Studies show that 49% of Christians who read the Bible 3-4 times per week with others are more likely to retain the information long-term.

Make it Part of Your Routine

Keep your Bible visible

Keeping your Bible in plain view reminds you of your goal to read it. Place it on your coffee table, nightstand, or kitchen counter where you’ll see it daily. Put colorful sticky notes or bookmarks throughout your Bible to grab your attention whenever you walk by.

Turn your Bible into a piece of decor similar to any magazine or book you display in your home. An easy step like making the Bible accessible and noticeable motivates you to make Bible reading a habit.

Remind yourself of the benefits

Reading the Bible regularly has tremendous benefits, so posting reminders keeps you focused on why reading Scripture matters. Write encouraging Post-it notes and place them around your home, or set reminders on your phone highlighting a particular reason you want to study the Bible more.

Reminding yourself that God’s Word transforms minds, reveals God’s truths, strengthens faith, and guides daily decisions inspires you to stick with your reading plan.

Pray for discipline and desire

Consistently praying for self-control and passion makes following through on reading the Bible a reality. Ask God for the discipline to devote time daily to studying Scripture amid life’s busyness. Pray for a growing yearning to know Him and His Word better.

Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you.” As you pray to God sincerely and regularly about reading the Bible, He changes your heart to joyfully prioritize time with Him.

Reward yourself for consistency

Giving yourself a small reward after sticking with your routine for a set period builds good habits. After a week of steady Bible reading, enjoy a special coffee or dessert, buy a new book, take time to watch a show you enjoy, or do something fun with a friend.

Fulfilling rewards after focused spiritual effort wires your brain to associate reading Scripture with something pleasurable you look forward to. As your habit takes root, you may not need external rewards because reading God’s Word becomes its own profound reward.


If you want God’s Word to come alive and transform your walk with Christ, you need to make reading the Bible a consistent habit. It may seem challenging at first, but taking things one step at a time and implementing even a few of the practical tips in this guide will set you on the path to success.

Choose a reading plan, set aside regular time, start with accessible books, and lean on tools, resources and other believers for support. Approach the Bible with an open heart and you’ll be amazed at how God uses His Word to lead you into deeper relationship with Him.

Don’t get discouraged – the effort will be more than worth it. God promises that His Word will not return void. Commit to meeting with Him daily in His Word and enjoy the journey!

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