One Simple Way to Revitalize Your Bible Reading

When it takes you two years and nine months to complete your two-year Bible reading plan, you can look at it one of two ways.

You can feel guilty that it took you that long to get through it (mostly because you don’t do it on weekends or during vacations). Or you can be grateful that the process reignited a love of structured Bible reading that sort of got buried during several years of exhausted living.

I’m not a fan of unproductive guilt trips, so I chose the second option. And a short while later, I began the plan all over again. Not to see if I could beat my previous time, but because I really enjoyed it.

I didn’t wait for what might seem like a logical time to begin again either. I started my second run-through on Sept. 6 by reading two chapters specified for that day—Romans 16 and Psalm 56. (The plan includes a daily reading from either Psalms or Proverbs, along with a passage from the Old or New Testament.)

I love the practical theology in the Apostle Paul’s writing, so digging into that part of the New Testament held my attention for a few months. The cultural relevance of books by Peter, James and John struck me anew this time around. But when I started to see the Book of Revelation looming up ahead, my enthusiasm waned just a bit.

I don’t know about you, but I find Revelation hard to understand. I wanted something concrete to guide me as I read—something that would keep me focused through all the talk of scrolls, seals, trumpets and beasts.

That’s when I came up with a simple idea that is, quite honestly, transforming the way I read the Bible. Beginning with the first verse of Revelation, I started writing down every name and description of God I came across in my reading for each day.

The Almighty. Ruler of the kings of the earth. Creator of all things.

I found an old journal, opened to a clean page and began making a numbered list. At first, I tried not to include repeated names, but I soon got tired of flipping back to see whether I had already recorded a particular title. If the Bible uses the name again, I decided, it’s worth writing it down again.

The Amen. Faithful and True. The One who examines thoughts and emotions.

I’ve read the Bible through several times in my life. I’ve even done studies on the names of God. But I never before realized how frequently and how beautifully God is described within the pages of His own Word—not until I started writing them all down.

A tester of hearts. The Bright Morning Star. The One who lifts my head.

I didn’t dread reading the Bible before, but now I actually look forward to getting out of bed in the morning so I can go downstairs and see how many descriptors of God I can find in the sections for that day. I’ve found it makes me pay attention to what I’m reading more, because I don’t want to miss anything.

A righteous judge. Holy and true. The One whose eyes are like a fiery flame.

I’m doing this as I read through the Bible, but you don’t need to be involved in some kind of structured plan to try it out. Any time you read scripture, just be on the lookout for the names of God and write them down.

The Lamb. The Word of God. The One enthroned in heaven.

This is just a simple study strategy, not another legalistic box to check or something to feel guilty about if you happen to stop doing it. But if you’re like me—the kind of person who likes to make lists, enjoys words and wants to learn more about who God is—it might be just the thing for you.

Note: All the names of God listed in this post are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Also: I’m linking up this week with Purposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, #HeartEncourgementThursday, Faith-Filled Friday and Grace & Truth.

28 Responses to One Simple Way to Revitalize Your Bible Reading

  1. Rosanna says:

    I love this idea! I read through the Bible in 2016 and I’m starting again in 2017. I LOVE what reading through Word has done for me. Before, I had someone tell me that trying to read through the Bible was like making a rule for yourself, so I just never did it. However, I’ve grown to love the Word doing it and also to give myself Grace when I miss a day.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I feel the same way about reading through the Bible, Rosanna. Many years ago, I did it once or twice but it always seemed like more of a chore, or something good Christians were supposed to do. Now, it’s a joy and a blessing … especially when time constraints are not involved! I’m so glad you stopped by today!

  2. Ruth says:

    That’s a great idea, Lois!
    I find it exciting how God’s names describe little bits of who He is, in bite-sized portions, to us who have limited capacity to understand the greatness of who He is.
    My daughter and I were just talking today of how when you say a name, it reminds you of the character of someone you know who had that name.
    God’s character is wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing this idea with us.

  3. KellyRBaker says:

    Lois, this is wonderful. You have a relationship with God that ebbs and flows like human relationships do. God looks on the heart. Plans are manmade, and we can certainly grow by use of them. However, we are led by the Spirit. It sounds like that is just what happened, and He brought you His abundant life during the season you were in. I enjoyed reading all the names of God you had in your post. The method of pulling God’s names sounds exciting. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      You know, Kelly, I think you are right about being led by the Spirit in this. I certainly don’t know that I would have thought of this on my own, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing this has been during this current season of my life. He knows just what we need, doesn’t He?

  4. Brenda says:

    I love seeing the names of God, too, Lois. He is *the* most creative of all creatives. I’ve never thought to write them down in a list like that. I bet I’d notice even more of them if I did. Thanks for the suggestion! — I read my Bible slowly, too–and kinda prefer it that way. 🙂 I’ve been reading through again for — goodness, I don’t know. Maybe 1.5 years or so? Could be longer. I don’t know. I’m maybe 3/4 through. (I started in the middle and just kept going.) I just finished with Revelation and am now on Chapter 3 of Genesis. 🙂 So thankful for the Word. 🙂 Great post, Lois. Thank you for sharing your heart with #ChasingCommunity. ((xoxo))

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I love that you started in the middle of the Bible and kept going, Brenda. I’m in Genesis too … one of my favorite parts of this book is reading how God revealed Himself to all these people for the first time. Can you even imagine that? Thanks for your faithful encouragement, my friend!

  5. Lesley says:

    I think we can put too much pressure on ourselves to keep up with reading plans sometimes. What really matters is we’re reading the Bible, not how long it takes, so I’m glad you kept going with the plan.
    I like your idea of looking for names of God as we go through the Bible. Especially in books like Revelation which are difficult that sounds like a really helpful focus.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I agree about the reading plans, Leslie. Thank you for your encouragement … I’m glad I stuck with it too. There are so many names of God in Revelation, I found it was almost a joy to read through it this time. (I always sort of dreaded it before!)

  6. What a cool idea! I have a hard time in the Old Testament when they describe things or give lineages. I like the thought of being excited and looking for descriptors of God!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Sarah, I started in Revelation and am about halfway through Genesis, so I can’t really report on how this works in a book like Leviticus. 🙂 I have a feeling I will be very thankful for Psalms and Proverbs when I get to those sections of the Old Testament!

  7. That sounds like a great way to focus on what you’re reading. It is easy, at times, to let our minds drift without a purposeful way of thinking about what we’re reading. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, Donna … when I catch myself thinking about what I’m going to do later that day or some current problem I’m processing, I know I need to pay more attention to what I’m reading! 🙂

  8. Liz says:

    Great suggestion! The last time I read through, I kept a journal of all the verses I wanted to really dig into. So, this year, I’m taking it slow with those (3!) journals and studying deeply. Blessings!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I love your idea of writing down verses you want to study further, Liz. And three journals’ worth … wow! I’m an underliner, but I’m to the point where I might need to start fresh with a new Bible so I’m not distracted by what I’ve already underlined!

  9. Lois, that is an incredible idea! And the fact that I think it’s incredible reminds me that I’ve gotten away from the truth that the Bible is a book about God. I make it a book about ME so often with all my frenzied application seeking and navel-gazing.
    Lately, I’ve been trying to paraphrase the passage I’m working on, and that’s been a challenge, but also has slowed. me. down. in my reading (which I really need), so I think I’m going to add this discipline of writing down something each day that I’ve learned about God in my reading.
    I can see how that would be especially helpful in the Revelation!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      You know, that’s a good point about how we tend to make the Bible all about ourselves, Michele. I do the same thing … always trying to see how what I’m reading applies to MY daily life and situation. It does, of course, but you’re right–it is foremost the story of God. I love the idea of paraphrasing what you are reading … there’s no way to do that without thinking about the passage in front of you. 🙂

  10. Trudy says:

    I admire your commitment, Lois. Also for your not allowing yourself to go on a guilt trip when you didn’t get it done in two years. I love your idea of listing names of God, especially in those books that are more difficult to understand. Love and hugs to you!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Trudy, I’m so glad I started doing this with Revelation because there are SO many names of God in that book. I’d read it before, but I had never noticed that. It really is all about Jesus from start to finish! Hugs, friend!

  11. Lois, what a great idea! Years ago, I began highlighting descriptors of God/His names in yellow. Now, they stand out to me when I read through His word. I haven’t tried writing them down though. Love this. I this I’m going to pull out an old journal (goodness knows I’ve got a few lying around the house!) and begin, right where I am, to do this.

    Oh, and if it makes you feel better, I tend to take longer than the suggested reading plan too. I never get to begin at Genesis 1 on January first. 😉 As I’ve been reading through Proverbs this time, I keep seeing verses I can (and am) pray on our boys’ behalf. I am so thankful God directs us, even in this.

    Thanks for sharing your great idea!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      You’re welcome, Jeanne! I know what you mean about finding verses to pray on your boys’ behalf. The first time I did this plan, I remember thinking how incredibly relevant Proverbs was to my current season of parenting (it was a couple of years ago, so the girls were maybe 13 and 10 or so). Things stuck out to me that I never even noticed when they were much smaller. The scriptures hadn’t changed, but I certainly had! And this time around, I’m finding even MORE that applies to our daily life! Let me know how the list-making goes; I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it! 🙂

  12. Karen otero says:

    Love this suggestion!

  13. I love this idea, Lois! I will have to try it. Taking note of all God’s beautiful names and descriptions is the perfect way to stay motivated. I’ve always wanted to read through the entire Bible but never completed it. Two years and nine months sounds pretty amazing to me. That’s a wonderful and incredibly important accomplishment. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Candace! I’m not sure how many names I’ll find in Leviticus, but hopefully the Psalms and Proverbs readings will keep me going during the drier books. 🙂 So glad you stopped by this week!

  14. Ah yes, I’m a list maker too! I love how the names of our Heavenly Father seem to do dances in the different Bible versions. This was very refreshing for me. Thank you!

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