Turning the calendar into a new year often sparks a desire to step into new adventures, start healthy habits like exercising and eating well, read more books, get our finances in order, and more, with a renewed resolve for improving our lives.
Yet, it’s no secret that most of our best intentions don’t result in lasting change. Researchers vary on how long New Year’s resolutions will last, but it’s not promising. We all know it – resolutions usually don’t stick. Strava—the fitness app that is popular with cyclists and runners—deemed January 19 as “quitters day” because 19 days into the new year was when most people quit their new exercise commitments.
The desire to do something new in the new year isn’t enough for most people to stick with it.
The same is true of Bible reading. The beginning of a new year often stirs a desire within us to read through the Bible. There is no shortage of Bible reading plans that can guide you from Genesis to Revelation over the next 12 months. But more than a few of us who have wanted to read through the Bible in the new year never made it out of Genesis, or we got lost with the Israelites in the wilderness, or we got bogged down in the regulations in Leviticus.
For lots of would-be Bible readers who set out to read the Bible through in a year, one of the major reasons people give up Is the struggle to find time for daily Bible reading.
Bible reading commitments get squeezed out by all the other stuff that fills our days. Unfortunately, the new year doesn’t come with any extra minutes in the day. To find time to read the Bible in 2023, we are going to have fit it into what is probably already a schedule that is too full.
But how? How can we do it? How can we find time to read through the Bible in 2023? Here are three practical suggestions.
Repurpose Your Time
A rather simple strategy to find time to read the Bible is simply to repurpose time.
My 11-year-old son often asks my wife to read the Bible to him in the evening. We love that he wants to hear the Bible! But after school, homework, sports practices, and dinner, finding time to read the Bible was becoming a challenge. So, my wife found a creative, yet somewhat comical solution. After he gets in the shower, she goes in the bathroom, closes the lid to the toilet, and sits there and reads the Bible to him while he shampoos his hair. He has heard a lot of New Testament this past year from behind a shower curtain!
Maybe bathroom Bible reading isn’t your thing, but where can you repurpose some time to find Bible reading opportunities? There are great audio Bible options to listen to the Bible during your commute or while driving kids to school and activities. Can you read the Bible as you eat your breakfast or lunch? We all spend lots of time waiting—waiting for the doctor, waiting for a hair appointment, waiting for meetings, waiting for flights, waiting in pick-up lines at our kids’ schools, and more. What if we used this waiting time to read the Bible in the new year?
Time is the great equalizer. None of us can create more of it. We all have the same amount each day. But it is our choice as to how we spend our time. Why not be more intentional this year about using some of that time to read the Bible in the new year?
Trim the Time Wasters
Throughout history there have always been temptations to waste time, but modern technologies provide no shortage of ways to simply let time slip by.
Some researchers suggest we spend on average more than two hours on social media sites every day. While at first that may not seem possible, 15 minutes scrolling aimlessly a few times a day can really add up. When you add in any time spent watching TV or time spent playing a game on your phone, this can be a lot of minutes that are simply lost. Most of us could easily sacrifice some time we spend on technology to use time in more productive ways.
Try making an appointment with yourself to read the Bible. Add it to your calendar. Or set an alarm at the same time every day. Treat that appointment or alarm like you would any other important meeting in your day. When we turn off the phone, shut out distractions, quiet the noise of daily life, we can focus on the most important thing in that moment—and that is spending time with our heavenly Father and His Word.
Finding time to read the Bible may not as complicated as we think. If you are looking for time to read the Bible in 2023, it may be a simple as just trimming those time wasters.
Make a Small Sacrifice
As the often-quoted adage goes: The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
The Bible can seem daunting, overwhelming to read—especially if we are trying to read all of it. However, for most readers, it only takes 12-15 minutes per day to read the entire Bible in one year. Think about that…just 15 minutes a day and you could read through the Bible every year!
Making a seemingly small sacrifice may be all that is needed to find time to read through the Bible in 2023. Setting your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier or reading for 15 minutes before you go to bed or listening to the Bible on your commute is a small sacrifice. Yet this may be all that’s needed to read the whole Bible this year.
Where can you make a small sacrifice to find 15 minutes each day to read your Bible this year? We all get 1,440 minutes a day, each day. Making sure we spend 15 of them to hear from God seems like a wise choice in this new year.
When I’ve talked to people about why they don’t read the Bible, finding time to do it is an often-cited reason. And I get it. Our schedules are full. Our days are long. And the thought of trying to squeeze one more thing into our 24 hours just feels overwhelming. However, an intentional decision to be purposeful with our time—even just 15 minutes a day—means you could read the entire Bible in 2023.
And that decision might be the most important thing you choose to do in the new year.
Happy New Year!
– by Michael Gunnin