I love setting goals! Annual goals, monthly goals, weekly goals - I love them all! These lists of goals motivate me to dig in and accomplish the tasks in the ministry God has called me to do.
With September just around the corner, this is a great time to set monthly Bible study goals. September is the second New Year. It's the season when life slips back into a comfortable routine after the spontaneity (and chaos?) of summer.
Setting monthly Bible study goals can be a great way to stay consistent, motivated, and focused in your spiritual growth. They can deepen your understanding of the Scriptures, strengthen your faith, and help you apply biblical principles to your daily life.
Here are some tips on how to set monthly Bible study goals:
Assess your current Bible study habits
What is your current Bible study routine? What is working well and what do you wish was different? Taking an inventory of your current habits around your engagement with Scripture will help you set realistic goals.
Set a time and place to study the Bible
Whatever we don't schedule, typically falls to the wayside. Create space in your calendar each day to study the Bible. Ideally this is at the same time each day, to help you develop the habit. Consider giving the best time of your day to God. If you are a morning person, set the alarm half an hour early and spend that time in the Word. If you think most clearly in the evenings, perhaps you want your Bible reading to be the last thing you do before bed each night. Also, designate a spot in your home where your Bible reading will take place. It could be your favourite chair, your office, or a lounge chair on your deck. Have all of your Bible study materials waiting for you in that location so you don't waste time hunting for things. Setting a time and a place will help you accomplish your goals.
Choose what and how to study the Bible
Here is where you begin to get specific. What and how will you study the Bible? Will you read a chapter a day? Are you following a Bible reading plan? Are you reading through the Bible chronologically in a year? Will you simply read a passage or dig into it a little deeper? Answering these questions will help you set your Bible study goals.
If you want to engage with the Word of God in several creative ways, you could set several goals around the same text. For example, here are some goals for September:
Watch the Bible Project overview video for the book of Matthew
Read one chapter of Matthew each day this month (with two grace days)
Handwrite one chapter of Matthew each day (again, with two grace days)
Memorize one verse from Matthew each week
Listen through Matthew on an audio Bible once this month
Choose one passage that intrigues you and do a deeper study
Be sure to set goals that are achievable within your daily rhythms and responsibilities. Unrealistic goals will only lead to frustration, which in turn could cause you to give up on Bible study altogether. Think about how much time each goal will take you to accomplish each day, and make sure it is within the realm of possibility.
Write it down on a calendar
Once you set your goals, it might be helpful to write them down on a calendar so you can keep track of your progress. Writing down the portion of Scripture you will read each day is a visual reminder of your goals.
Study in community
Reading the Bible was never meant to be done alone. Besides, it's always more fun to study the Bible in community! Ask a group of friends to join you as you engage with Scripture. It's probably not possible to meet daily, but you could do a daily check-in over email or text. Message each other the parts of the text that stands out to you, questions you have, or how the Spirit is speaking to you. If you are memorizing Scripture, you may consider emailing the text as accountability once a week.
We are a culture of entertainment. But the Bible describes God's people as a people of celebration. The Living God invites us to celebrate. Acknowledging and celebrating progress will boost motivation to keep going. Think of creative ways to reward your progress.
Life can get busy, and sometimes Bible study goals might not be met. Don't be too hard on yourself if you miss a day or two. We don't read the Bible as a rule, we do it as an investment in a relationship with God.
Remember the goal in all Bible study
The ultimate goal in studying the Bible is to know God better. We read and study it not to accumulate knowledge, but to get to know our Creator-Redeemer. Committing to Bible study goals is an effort to grow in intimacy with God.
I would love to hear what goals you set. Click here to let me know what and how you are studying the Bible this month.