How to encourage Bible reading



As the word of God, the Bible is “able to give [us] wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15 NET). As might be expected, its writers give emphasis to reading Scripture.

Paul told Timothy to “focus on reading the Scriptures to the church” (1 Tim 4:13 NLT). Paul was adamant, “I call on you solemnly in the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters” (1 Thes 5:27 NET). And those letters were to be exchanged and read among the churches (Col 4:16). John blesses those who perform the public reading of his inspired book in the churches (Rev 1:3).

We have the precious example of Jesus standing up to read in the synagogue (Luke 4:16). Against the Good News Bible rendering of synagogues as houses of prayer, they were revered places where the local copy of Scripture was kept and read on the Sabbath (Acts 13:27; 15:21). The scribal gibe, which Jesus used, was, “Have you not read?” (Matt 12:5; 19:4; 21:16, 42).

Paul urged his readers to “stand firm and hold on to the traditions that we taught you, whether by speech or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15). What the letters contained were to be obeyed (2 Thes 3:14). The sacred documents were written to produce faith that would lead to salvation (John 20:31).

How then may we encourage people to read the Bible? Here are 10 ideas.

  1. Distribute daily Bible reading plans to people and send them to your friends by email, on Facebook, published on blogs and websites.
  2. Start a group of online or local friends to read through a daily Bible reading plan together.
  3. Give Bibles for gifts.
  4. Share Scripture portions with people, leave them in doctor’s offices and other public places.
  5. Encourage your congregation to devote more time in its meetings to the reading of the Bible.
  6. Start a weekly group to spend its time reading the Bible.
  7. When some asks for prayer, share a passage of pre-chosen Scripture and then pray.
  8. Use a short verse for your email signature, and change it fairly often.
  9. Send out a verse by email, letter or printed out, with your extended paraphrase, along the lines of the Amplified Bible.
  10. Memorize a verse regularly, cite it to others and tell them why you chose it.

I invite you to add to the list (below, in the comment box). Your idea may be the one to be implemented and to bring life and salvation to a lost soul.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

6 thoughts on “How to encourage Bible reading

  1. What got my 14 year ofl daughter reading the Bible was buying her a Message version. She has barely put it down since!

  2. Great article! If elders encouraged the reading of the Word during the worship of God at each service, members would be influenced to read the Bible daily. Everyone has either good or bad influence. When leaders fail to have the word read at church, they send the wrong message and fail to be a good influence on the people they lead.

  3. One of the greatest encouragements for my daily Bible reading was hearing brother Carl Sims (Manchester, TN) say he has read through the New Testament from 1-2 times a month for the last 20 years, simply by reading 9 chapters a day. Now how easy is that? I’ve been doing it ever since!!!! He also said it was the best thing he ever did for himself, and I agree!!!! I love the Word more every time I read it and plan to continue this the rest of my life, God willing.

  4. Before going to Bible study, read three chapters of the context of the lesson to be covered. If studying an epistle of the New Testament, read the entire epistle. One of the things Bro. Tom Holland had us do during our study of 1 Peter was to read the book every day. Several of my professors recommended reading the book in a similar manner. One of my teachers, Bro. Thomas Eaves, Sr., gave us the option of memorizing the five chapters of the book of James instead of taking his exam. Doing that started a regular habit of memorizing books of the Bible, as was mentioned in the above article.

What do you think?