Bible Reading Guide: The 21 Day Challenge

Bible Reading Guide: The 21 Day Challenge

Bible Reading Guide: The 21 Day Challenge

Objective: record 21 consecutive days in personal worship of God

As Christians we believe that the ultimate answer to anyone’s search for satisfaction, significance, and happiness is the glory that comes from God. We were designed to be satisfied by nothing less than the glory God bestows, yet humanity forfeited that glory by pursuing counterfeits that can’t truly satisfy – we’d call these idols (possessions, power, pleasure, etc.). Yet, God is merciful and offers the promise of renewed glory when we embrace His son Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:27).

The question is, how do we actually embrace Christ (receive satisfaction, significance, etc.) in our daily lives?

The answer is that the primary and regular means God has given to receive this satisfaction is through personal and congregational worship. One silver lining of beginning in-person worship after the coronavirus stay at home orders is we all have an opportunity for a ‘fresh start’ when it comes to our communion with our Heavenly Father.

Personal worship is the daily path of a Christian

The goal of this unit is to help you understand how to begin a lifelong habit of embracing Christ in daily personal worship.  Personal worship is the daily path of a Christian. It is an enriching expression of your devotion to Christ. Personal worship is the daily time you spend devoting your attention exclusively to the  glory of Christ and receiving the satisfaction He gives. (This is why it is sometimes called “devotions”). The two key activities that comprise personal worship are prayer and Bible study. These are critical for your spiritual growth, and without them your spiritual journey will be seriously hampered.  If the act of praying or reading the Bible is unfamiliar to you, don’t feel anxious. Below is a simple way for getting started that you can follow as long as you feel that it helps you to engage with God. Along the path of your spiritual journey, you will discover other methods that will help you, too.

Consistent place and time are significant

Find a place where you can best focus, prepare your environment by removing distractions. Repeatedly visit ing the same place at the same time will help form a healthy habit. We’ll be honest, this is hard. There is nothing especially wrong about you if you find your heart cold towards this practice, but you do have to be intentional about making time for personal worship. Take a look at your schedule, and decide on a time and place where you can carve out few minutes of consistent time for personal worship. Shoot for 20 minutes if you are just starting out or getting back into it. If you only get 5-10 that better than none. 

Don’t Get Caught Up in Structure

This isn’t about finishing a list of to-do’s, it is about connecting with God. This doesn’t earn you a special place in God’s heart. It’s really an opportunity, an invitation, for you to enjoy the glory of God in Christ.  If reading the Bible regularly is a new experience for you, ask your group leader to recommend a plan for you. A very easy option is to start with the Gospel of Mark (it’s the shortest Gospel, and there is no shame in starting there, it is the Bible after all). 

The PRAISE acrostic below is one way to help you understand the basics of how to read, interpret, and apply the Bible to your life. 

P. R. A. I. S. E. 

PRAY asking God to speak to you from this passage. 

Our nature is to be blind to spiritual things, so we need God to make us spiritually sensitive to what He wants to teach us. The Psalms contain a prayer that would serve us well: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” (Psalm 119:18).

READ the text carefully, noting your observations about the passage. 

If you read the Bible randomly—a verse here and a verse there—it’s almost certain that you will never really understand the major teachings of Scripture. Most of the Bible is meant to be read in paragraphs and sections. Chapter divisions are convenient section markers.

ASK questions to help you interpret and apply the text to your personal life. 

Ask interpretive questions to help you get at the facts. What is the issue? What does that word mean? What is the flow of thought? Why did he say that? But be sure to ask application questions, too. What should I do? Learn? Believe? Repent of? How should I respond?

INTERPRET the passage in a way that is consistent with the teaching of the Scripture.

Be careful that you don’t interpret a word, phrase, or verse in a way that isn’t consistent with its context. Check your conclusions by asking yourself if the author would have intended his original audience to understand him the way you’re interpreting him.

SUMMARIZE a specific and measurable application of the text to your personal life.

A useful exercise is to capture the main point(s) and personal application(s) of a section (whether a paragraph or chapter) in a journal or notebook. This forces you to think through the meaning of a passage and your response, rather than skimming through without much benefit.

ENGAGE with God in prayer (we will have more on this later). 

Now, talk to God in response to what you have read. Ask Him to apply His Word to your heart; to give you understanding, faith, and obedience. If you are new to prayer, you can pray aloud or silently, but don’t worry about fancy words. God is interested in the sincere expression of your devotion to Christ. If you don’t know what to pray, it may help you to focus on elements of prayer which Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13).


– adapted from: The Journey,

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