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Core Habit #1: Engage the Bible

Reading or listening to absorb the Bible is crucial for spiritual growth. Donald Whitney, a leading teacher on spiritual disciples, writes, “No Spiritual Discipline is more important than the intake of God’s Word. Nothing can substitute for it. There simply is no healthy Christian life apart from a diet of the milk and meat of Scripture.”

The late philanthropist and pastor George Müller said something similar: “The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.”

This habit may seem scary at first. Shrink the challenge, and make it small enough that you’re confident you can succeed.

Getting started isn’t as hard as you might think. I’ll give you some tips tomorrow, but here are some guidelines to build the habit of engaging the Bible.

  1. Choose a format. If you’re an auditory learner, consider listening to the Bible. If you prefer to read, that’s great too. We’ll dig into some options tomorrow, but think about how you enjoy learning for now.

  2. Choose a goal. Again, be realistic. Listening to the Bible in a year takes around 75 hours, which works out to less than 15 minutes a day for a year. Reading the Bible over two years takes only 7–8 minutes a day. This option is great for people who’ve never read the Bible before. Another great option is to select one book of the Bible to read and reread for a while (one to three months or more), allowing the book to soak deep into your heart.

  3. Practice. David Mathis says it well: “At the end of the day, there is simply no replacement for finding a regular time and place, blocking out distractions, putting your nose in the text, and letting your mind and heart be led and captured and thrilled by God himself communicating to us in his objective written words.”

  4. Don’t give up. Many people quit if they miss a day or two. You can avoid this mistake by using the clean slate policy. No guilt, no shame. Just start where you are, do what you can, and carry on.

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