With the year ending and another beginning many are pondering their New Year’s Resolutions. As Christians who are well aware of our inability to change truly and permanently without God’s help, it makes sense to include in our list a commitment to read the Bible. To read the Bible in a year can be intimidating on its own, but once you start looking into the multitude of methods available it may seem to complicated to attempt. Before you select a plan, here are some things to consider.
Type of Plan
When you decide to create a daily Bible reading plan it’s important to answer a few questions: What are you trying to accomplish? In what way do you hope to improve your understanding of the Bible? Is this about developing devotional habits or getting a feel for the whole of scripture? How much time do you have daily? Depending on your answers, different plans have been created throughout history to fit your needs. Here are a couple of the best options:
- Sweet and Simple Genesis to Revelation- The Bible has 1189 chapters so to read it through you need to read 3 to 4 chapters every day. This is the best way to get a feel for the story of scripture. However it is important to remember that not all of the Bible is laid out in chronological order: The prophets fit within 1 and 2 Kings and Chronicles, the epistles fit (mostly) within the book of Acts.
- New Testament before Old Testament- This approach is especially good for newer Christians. Although you need to be familiar with the Old Testament to have a deeper understanding of the New, it is very hard as modern Christians to understand the place of the Old Testament without the extensive explanations given in the new. Reading the NT first is good preparation.
- Chronological- Some plans have re-orderd the Bible in chronological order. If you’ve never read the Bible in this way it can be very helpful in tying together the timeline. It is worth noting however that there are a few different approaches involved, so not all chronological plans are the same (chronological by book authorship or by event for example).
- M’Cheyne Plan. Robert Murray M’Cheyene was a pastor who prepared a reading plan for his own congregation. Read about his plan in his own words here. His desire was that they would be constantly in the Word of God. Over the course of the year you read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice. His plan is also broken daily into two sections: family and personal (or if you prefer morning and evening). Every day you end up reading from 4 different books in the Bible. Although you get daily diversity and depth, this plan may end up being too burdensome.
Method of Reading
In our day there are many different ways to go about following a plan. You need to know yourself and your preferences well enough to decide what works best. The choices basically fall into three categories:
- Truly analog- Print off your plan and stick it in your Bible and use a pen to mark of the days as you complete them.
- Fully digital- Both your plan and your reading takes place on a computer or device. Some services will email you your daily readings. Some Bible software will maintain a reading plan for you within their program.
- Digital Analog Hybrid- Receive or maintain your plan on your device but do the reading in your personal Bible.
Here are a couple websites i’ve found helpful for creating and using a reading plan:
- eBible.com– You’ll have to make an account (free) but if you do you can sign up for a reading plan and they will send a link to your email every day. The great thing is, if you don’t click-through it will leave the day undone, and send it again tomorrow. This is helpful because you’ll never feel the weight of having to “catch up”.
- Logos- If you use Logos Bible Software you can create a reading plan and access it within the desktop software or their mobile app. Here is a basic introduction to how.
- bibleplan.org– Lots of plans to choose from, just pick a plan and your prefered translation and sign up with an email address. They will send your daily reading right to your inbox.