This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.Joshua 1:8
When I was in bible school, we had an assigned bible reading plan. We turned in our truthfully check-marked paper, got a grade, and went on to the next week’s set of reading. It felt slow and tedious to get through at first, but after several weeks, it turned into a habit. And I think that was the purpose of the assignment: to get into the habit of reading the Word daily.
On weekends, I found myself reading certain passages again and spending more time in prayer, asking for deeper revelation and understanding. Then in weeks when the assigned reading got dismissed, I’d think about what I already read, wanting to know more and continue.
Finally, after graduating and going “back into the world,” I recognized a craving that only the Word would satisfy. And this Bible reading plan, which was labeled as an assignment, launched me into a deeper passion for understanding and living out God’s truth.
Over the years, I picked up additional resources to help me understand the Bible in different ways. Commentaries, podcasts, lexicons, and even the dictionary helped me discover truths and principles that I may have missed otherwise. One deep-dive study turned into several days of ruminating on one passage. That led to weeks and eventually a month or two. Which brought me to a point of hesitation.
It got to the point where I hesitated to read the Bible, thinking I didn’t have the time, energy, or certain resources to go as deep as I wanted. One week turned into a month, and I wondered, “what’s missing in my life?”
Ever so gently, the Holy Spirit says the simplicity in Bible reading.
But how? What if I miss something important? What if I overlook a cultural understanding that would enhance the meaning of the verse? What if I miss what it’s actually saying?
Treat it like you would meal prep.
And that made sense to me.
Meal Prep & Bible Reading
…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.Deuteronomy 8:3
When I meal prep, I gather my ingredients, cook and prep for the week, close out my kitchen and simply come to eat. I come to the table to enjoy my meal, wash the plates, and carry on. Completely nourished and satisfied.
Similarly with Bible reading, you can have a day where you get your additional resources, your recipe book and journal, your allotted time to deep-dive into studying the word. But for daily reading, come to the table and enjoy the meal set before you. It’s cooked, seasoned, and prepared perfectly. You can still question the Cook, but get your fill from the meal. All that’s needed is your hungry spirit and the Lord will satisfy you through the Word, your daily bread.
If you deep-dive every single day, you’ll get exhausted. You’ll hesitate, like I did. Not because you’re not spiritual enough or not hungry enough, but because it gets tiring. Especially if it’s every day! The purpose of meal-planning is to save you time, energy, and even finances. With Bible reading, you can do the same.
Plan Your Reading
It’s not about how much you can eat, it’s about getting nourishment. A simple daily Bible reading plan will give you your daily nourishment.
You won’t know ALL the details of nourishment happening inside your body during and after mealtime. Maybe some of it, but not in its entirety. You’re fearfully, wonderfully, and intricately made, and there’s a lot more than meets the eye. This goes for your spiritual body, too. Knowledge can only go so far, but the Word goes into places the mind and brain can’t.
There’s got to be a balance. You need enough for your daily fill and also days of research and pursuit for deeper knowledge and understanding.
You can “meal-plan” your reading schedule for the week or just come to the table and ask God to lead you to a passage. During your reading, write the things that stand out to you and pick a later day to deep-dive into studying them more closely. That can be your “meal-prep” day, in reverse.
Or you can have a completely different plan for both types. Choose a book or two for your daily reading and another book for studying. For example, you can read through Genesis and Proverbs daily, and study a book from the New Testament, like Matthew or Romans, once or twice a week. If that’s too much, then just write any scriptures that stand out from your daily reading, and save that for a weekly deep-dive study sessions. (Download this as an example).
The point is to not get caught up in the extremes of either. Just reading daily can turn into a legalistic approach, where you just want to get through it and check the box. And studying intensely every day can lead to hesitation and exhaustion for reading at all. I also recommend being mindful of your season and asking the Holy Spirit to help you discern what works best for you now.
Again, when you get bored with daily reading, time to spice things up and learn some new recipes. When you hesitate because you’re overwhelmed by the study session, time to strip everything back and just come to the table to enjoy the meal.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
If you’re not in the habit of reading at all, create a Bible reading plan you can grade yourself on weekly. You don’t have to give yourself actual grades, but assess how your daily reading went at the end of the week. If you fell behind, maybe add a day for catching up in next week’s reading plan. If you were on track, maybe add another chapter. You could read while you eat your actual meals, too.
It’s okay to not deep-dive into the Word every single day and it’s also okay to not “check the box” for your daily reading every single day, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do either at all. We should try to include both in our lifestyles for ultimate effectiveness. And that can look like scheduling it in or simply coming to the table.
Reading the Word feeds us spiritually and grows us in our relationship with God. It helps us learn how to reflect Christ and recognize His will everywhere we go. And it provides nourishment you didn’t know you needed. But it’s easy to neglect if you experienced what I did!
I want to show you how I “meal-prepped” my Bible reading. This link leads to a download with a sample page and a blank page that you can print and use as you like. The goal is to read at least one chapter a day for your daily reading (daily Bread), and write any scriptures that stand out to you for your weekly or biweekly deep-dive study day (don’t forget to schedule that in, too!).
I hope it’s helpful and simplifies your Bible-reading plan, but also inspires you to have weekly or bi-weekly deep-dive study sessions. Both are important, attainable, and manageable.
Let me know what you think!
Comment and share your Bible reading experience, lessons learned, or preferences. I’d love to hear what works for you!