Benefits of Sequentially Reading the Bible


Sequential reading of the Bible is one of the most important habits for a Christian to develop.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out through the mouth of God.
-Matthew 4:4

As Christians living in a country that grants freedom of religion, we often take our Bible for granted. Yet it has not always been that way. During the dark ages when the Bible was locked away in largely unknown languages, the people of that day sorely lacked the enlightening within it. Today the opportunity we have to freely read the Bible came at the cost of many lives and much anguish.

It’s not hard to see why the Bible is so important – it is unique in its content and standard. We see God in it, we know ourselves in it, and we find salvation in its pages. It gives us nourishment, enlightenment, and guides our steps in the direction of God’s great economy. It follows that since God’s word is available and profitable, it behooves us to read every word.

If you are going to play the game properly, you’d better know every rule.
-Barbara Jordan

My interest in the Word of God has lately been focused on gathering a few points on the benefits of sequential reading of the Bible, which I’ll list below. Note that I put them here not as an exhaustive list but as a few starter points to bring our attention to this subject.

As Christians we hold that all Scripture is inerrant and divinely inspired. “All Scripture” means every book from Genesis to Revelation. By reading from cover to cover we receive the Bible in its entirety. In this way our governing vision is all-inclusive and doesn’t lack anything. The Bible progressively reveals God in his purpose. Sequential reading is the simplest way to read the entire Bible. As a side note, there are many resources available to help you read through the Bible. I recommend this blog post on Bible Reading by Tom Smith for practical points on reading the Bible.

Sequential reading sidesteps “picky eating”, i.e. selectively reading only those passages that we prefer, or are easy to take. Paul calls some words milk and other words solid food (Heb 5:13-14). Only by taking all the words of the Scripture can we grow unto maturity.

Sequential reading encourages regular, habitual reading. Bible reading is often likened to eating, and eating is something we do every day. It’s the same with the Bible. We get spiritually hungry if we don’t read every day. Sequential reading should foster a desire to return to the Bible to pick up where you left off, and in so doing form a habit of daily reading. This will gradually nourish you with the words of the faith (2 Tim 4:6). Also, if you somehow miss a day or two of your reading, having a bookmark to come back to will make restarting easier.

Sequential reading lends itself to total comprehension. Reading a book of the Bible in full will lend you a general sketch of the book itself (rather than merely a knowledge of individual verses) which translates into a greater comprehension of the author’s burden in writing that book and an accordingly greater comprehension of the Bible. An example of this I’m currently loving is on our Christian Students’ On Campus website: a student recently blogged a summary of the entire book of Philippians which we covered sequentially last semester in our campus Bible Study. I’m willing to bet he grasps that book much more than if he had merely read scattered passages.

What other benefits are there to sequentially reading through God’s word?

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20 thoughts on “Benefits of Sequentially Reading the Bible

  1. I like the analogy to eating. Eating is something we do every day whether we like it or not and it benefits us through nourishment whether we realize it or not. I think it should be the same with our Bible reading. I know I get spiritually hungry if I miss a Bible reading meal!

  2. Sequential Bible reading takes away the personal preference. All Scripture is God breathed. So God can speak to us from any book, chapter and verse of the Bible. We need to make a life-long habit of reading God’s Word and then seek to contact Him in a fresh way every time we come to the Bible.

  3. Having a habit is huge! Having a reading partner helps. This keeps me accountable. When inspiration hits, it doesn’t stay as a thought but is verbalized and shared. Faith comes by hearing myself and my partner read!

  4. Another reason to sequentially read the Bible is because God needs us to. He needs to speak to us so we can speak to others. If I miss reading on a given day, later on I inevitably get asked a question that day’s reading would have answered perfectly. Or I run into someone that could have been greatly encouraged by that day’s reading. Life’s too short to miss a single day!

    1. Too often I’ve had the same experience. Sequential reading keeps the Word fresh in our memory. It’s like we maintain our treasure by constant attendance to the Word. Then we can be ready in season and out.

  5. I agree with Nicole. It is very helpful to have a companion to keep you accountable. Also having a Bible reading schedule keeps me accountable. I like hearing what my companion enjoys because they always see something that I didn’t see.

  6. “Sequential reading sidesteps picky eating.”

    I totally agree. A number of years ago I used to be a big flipper- just randomly opened the Bible and started reading. Reading sequentially has been a big help to me. Another benefit to sequential reading is that the light you receive from a book accumulates into a composite revelation. The revelation surges and crests like a wave and then crashes onto your spirit. In Romans, justification builds to sanctification to glorification and then swells into the Body of Christ and crashes into practicality with the fellowship and practice of local church life.

    1. Great point Kyle. Having that revelation crash on a person could be life changing. Who knew that such a seemingly basic habit would effect such great change?

  7. Wow, reading the responses was almost as helpful as the blog post! I have to echo the point you and Kyle made about sequential reading sidestepping picky eating, to use your phrase. I felt like that was the way I came to the Bible, and therefore the Lord, for years. This created a kind of “can’t see the forest for the trees” experience in my christian life. By sequential reading, we can know the Lord through His word more deeply and richly, giving Him a way to speak more of the deep things of His heart to us!

    1. You’re right-too often we miss the forest for the trees. Sequential reading has become a joy only in the last few years. Maybe because as you mentioned I’ve learned not to expect too much from merely flipping open and reading at random. It’s just not possible to get as clear a picture that way.

  8. Sometimes I find myself praying in my own situations a lot, and it can get dry. Having a habit of reading the Bible also gives us the words with which we can pray to the Lord.

  9. I only read third paragraphs in my mail.

    Of course as we all known the books in the New Testament were letters written to people. Back then there weren’t any chapter divisions, verses references, or even grammatical punctuation in the Greek text. So of course no one was just scanning down to the middle of the scroll, reading a few lines and then tossing it aside for a later time. These letters, were meant to be read all the way through, or listened to in their entirety, in sequential order, in one sitting.

    Letters didn’t fly around like the emails of today, we’re quite spoiled. Those letters traveled weeks and months by way of dusty tired feet, stubborn donkeys, and shipwreck prone vessels. To receive a letter, especially from Paul, was the top event of your month or longer. No doubt the received letter was poured over, probably a few times, sequentially of course. Do you skip around in Grandma’s birthday cards? Of course not, top to bottom. Therefore we would do well to, number one, treasure these letters because they were also written to us, and furthermore they also have traveled through blood and water to reach us. That alone is pretty amazing. Second, we should read them in many ways for sure, but we should also read them sequentially as if they were written to us personally, because they were, and in doing so consider their message.

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