I quit making new year's resolutions after 2009. That was the year I resolved to not begin a single sentence with these words: "You know what you should do…" I failed within 72 hours and gave up within a week. When 2010 came around, I didn't even bother with a resolution. Now that I'm free from the self-induced torment of the new year's resolution, I've got free time to write blog posts detailing "what you should do" to make your new year resolution to study the Bible stick. Below are five simple things to remember. 1) Don't set yourself up for defeat. Before you embark on a year long study of scripture consider your learning style. If you learn better in a group, then find one. If you aren't a morning person, then read the Bible some other time. Studying scripture is not unlike any other thing you're trying to pick up. Put yourself in the best possible position to succeed by being aware of your learning style.
2) Maintain consistency even at the expense of quantity or quality. You are establishing a new practice that you hope will one day be a natural part of your daily routine. If you want to learn how to play the guitar, it'd be foolish (if not impossible) to start by practicing a Jimmy Hendrix riff. The same holds true with learning Bible. Early on, it's more helpful to establish a consistent routine, even if that means focusing on one simple verse.
3) Just start. You will be tempted to fret over which book, study guide, or method to employ, believing that finding the perfect complement to your new resolution matters greatly. It doesn't. Starting is the hardest part. Once you start somewhere you can later determine which resource works for you.
4) Talk about it. Tell your friends and family what you're doing. They'll be encouraged and challenged by your progress. And it adds a level of accountability that most of us need. I find it much easier to let myself down than others. Even keeping a simple journal that might never be seen will do the trick. For the more adventurous ones, start a blog or share your journey on a social media platform.
5) Don't let the tools get in the way. There are more resources out there for personal Bible study than you'll ever need. The number of Bible translations alone will overwhelm you. Your church or pastor might also make suggestions. The endless possibilities will lead to paralysis if you let them (see #3). Again, just start.