How to Develop a Daily Reading Schedule

If you want to read the Bible in Hebrew every day, you must work this practice into your daily life. Many people find it helpful to develop a regular routine for reading, as well as a schedule of which texts they will read.

This post explains how to develop a daily reading schedule. It is the follow-up to this post that explains why you should read the Bible in Hebrew every day.

Carving Out Time to Read the Bible

Establishing a routine for daily reading is essential if you want to read the Bible in Hebrew. However, different times work better for different people.

Some people like to read when they first wake up. Others read as they’re having a meal or during fixed breaks in their schedules. Some choose to read in the early evening or others right before they go to bed. I even know one person who brings his bible with him to grocery stores and reads it as he waits in line.

As you can see, there’s no perfect time to read the Bible. What’s important is that you find the perfect time for you.

Choosing Which Biblical Passages to Read

It is a good idea to plan in advance which passages to read from the Bible. Here are three ways to choose what your daily reading will be:

          1) Pick a biblical book and start reading a bit of it each day

This is probably your best option when beginning. Don’t worry about your progress, but just pick up a text and read for 15-20 minutes. Gradually you will be able to read more and more text each day.

When beginning, make sure that you pick relatively easy texts. A Graded Hebrew Reader has a list of texts that are appropriate for beginners. You can use its selection as a guide. Ruth and Jonah are also good choices, as are many of the narrative passages in the Torah.

          2) Follow a lectionary

Some people choose to follow a lectionary in their daily reading. Some important lectionaries that people follow include:

  • The Parashat HaShavua (the weekly Torah reading according to Jewish tradition) and its Haftarah (a traditional selection from Prophets accompanying the Parashah).
  • The Revised Common Lectionary (an interdenominational lectionary that has weekly readings from the Hebrew Bible)
  • Daily lectionaries associated with different Christian denominations.

Following a lectionary can be beneficial in that it imposes an external structure upon your reading practices. However, depending upon which lectionary you choose to follow, it may be unrealistic to complete all of this reading in a week.

          3) Create your own reading schedule

Some people find it helpful to create their own reading schedules. They choose passages from different parts of the Bible and make up a personalized lectionary for themselves.

Making your own schedule is nice because you can  mix up your readings in terms of genre and actually read the texts that you want to read. However, some people still prefer the external structure of a traditional lectionary.

Helpful Tips For Getting Started

Here are some helpful tips to help you get started reading the Bible everyday:

  • Start small. If you’re beginning, it is unrealistic to read a chapter in 15-20 minutes. Don’t focus on how much progress you are making, but instead on actually reading the text!
  • Remember that you’re doing this to develop fluency, not to solve or master a difficult text. You don’t have to look up every single word, parse every single verb (though parsing can be helpful!), or identify and solve every crux in the text.
  • At least part of the time, you should read the Bible aloud. This will help you to hear and speak the text, rather than just read it with your eyes.
  • If you’re truly a raw beginner, you may want to consider using A Reader’s Hebrew Bible. A Reader’s Hebrew Bible provides glosses for words used less than 100 times in the Bible, making it a great resource for beginning students with limited vocabularies.

Most importantly, have fun! Don’t focus so much on the discipline of daily reading that you forget how much fun reading Scripture can be!

Final Thoughts

Creating a routine for reading the Bible in Hebrew can sometimes be difficult. However, if you stick with your reading each day, you will experience dramatic improvement in your Biblical Hebrew reading fluency.