So you resolved to read the Bible through this year. Great decision. Regular Scripture reading is vital to developing a healthy faith and strong relationship with God. Following a reading plan helps us benefit from the full counsel of the word–not just limiting ourselves to familiar passages and favorite books. But now we’re into January, and this thing is getting real. Genesis is good reading, but the idea of spending weeks in Leviticus and Deuteronomy gives you pause. Here are some Bible reading plans that may work for you.
What it is: Start in Genesis, read a little every day, and finish Revelation by the end of the year.
Pros: It’s simple. No flipping around–just read your selection for the day and pick up where you left off tomorrow. Reading whole books at a time gives you a good feel for the themes and structure of each book.
Cons: It’s easy to get bored or bogged down in what may seem dryer or more difficult passages. Often people start strong through Genesis and Exodus, then wind up dropping out when they hit the Old Testament Law.
Where to find it: Many Bibles have a traditional reading plan listed in the index. You could also check out Bible Gateway’s comprehensive reading plan, or use the Bible Gateway app for reading on your mobile device. You could also simply read four chapters every day, which should allow you to read the entire Bible in a year with a few extra days to spare.
What it is: Read the Bible in chronological order, so that readings are arranged in the order in which they took place.
Pros: This plan has the advantage of putting the books in their historical context. For example, readings from Kings, Chronicles, and the prophets that cover the same time frame are put together. Reading Scripture in this way helps you put events together and make connections that might not be evident when reading the Bible in the traditional order. It also you helps pick up the nuance and unique emphasis of different books that cover the same time period. For example, how does Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth differ from Luke’s? What insights can we gain from reading them side-by-side?
Cons: While reading this way can help keep you engaged, you may miss out on the big picture themes of the different books.
Where to find it: Check out the One Year Chronological Bible from Tyndale, or look at Bible Gateway’s Chronological Reading Plan. Bible Gateway’s plan is not a comprehensive plan, but it will give you a chronological study of the major stories in the Bible over a 60 day period.
Bible In 90
What it is: Designed for group study, the Bible in 90 plan is a reading plan that helps you read the Bible from cover to cover in 90 days.
Pros: If you want to read the Bible in a year, this plan will get help you get it done. Instead of extending your readings over a whole year, this plan encourages you to invest time in reading the entire Bible over a 90-day period. If you’ve never read the Bible from cover to cover, reading the whole Bible in a relatively short time gives you a good introduction to the Scripture and helps you make connections between books you may miss if you read them further apart.
Cons: The 90-day plan is pretty intense, especially if you’re a slow reader. Also, I find that Scripture speaks best when it is savored. When I did this plan with my church it was beneficial, but there were also days I felt like I was just checking it off my to-do-list. I found myself needing to do my Bible in 90 reading to keep up, but also setting aside time to read a passage slowly so I felt I could actually hear from God.
Where to find it: You can read more about this plan at the Bible in 90 homepage.
What it is: Blended Bible reading plans will help you read through the entire Bible in a year, but are arranged so that your readings from the Old Testament and New Testament are interspersed.
Pros: Having readings from different books interspersed keeps you from getting bogged down in Leviticus and can help make sure that there is a reading that resonates with you every day.
Cons: Breaking the books up in this way can make it difficult to follow the story line and major themes of a book.
Where to find it: There are several different plans of this type out there. Your Bible may have a blended reading plan in the index. I like the One Year Bible, which arranges daily readings by date. This makes it convenient to pick up and read without a lot of flipping. You might also look at the Read Through the Bible Program for Shirkers and Slackers. This plan encourages you to read from different Bible genres on different days of the week. Sunday is for Old Testament poetry like the Psalms and Proverbs, Monday is for the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are for Old Testament History and the Prophets, and you finish up the week with New Testament History and the Epistles on Friday and Saturday. It’s a good way to keep your reading varied.
Whichever plan you choose, stick with it. You will be blessed by spending regular time in God’s word.
Q: Have you chosen a Bible reading plan for this year? How will you be investing time in Scripture this year?
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