I published this article on January 1, 2015 at Satisfaction Through Christ as 10 Unique Bible Reading Plans for 2015. Recently, my pastor encouraged our church to read through the Bible in 2016, and it occurred to me that maybe your pastor did too (or maybe it’s going to be one of your own New Year’s resolutions). I checked all the links last week, and they were all still working, and most, if not all, of of the plans could be used in any year, so I thoght I’d just re-run this article in case you were looking for a reading plan for this year (or one that’s shorter/longer than a year). Whatever your study strategy, let’s spend 2016 in God’s word!
Happy New Year! Do you make resolutions or set goals you’d like to accomplish during the new year? A lot of people resolve to read the Bible more often or read it through in a year. If that’s you but you’re not quite sure where to start, here are ten awesome and unique reading plans that can help.
I cannot recommend this plan strongly enough. You’ll read through the entire Bible in a year, following the events as they happened chronologically. I have been through this plan three times (I even took my ladies’ Sunday school class through it in 2014). It is wonderful for helping you see the big picture of the Bible as well as how all the little pieces of the biblical puzzle fit together. ESV.org (of course you can use any translation) has the plan in five different user-frienly formats.
This Bible reading plan consists of four simple steps:
1. Choose a book of the Bible.
2. Read it in its entirety.
3. Repeat step #2 twenty times.
4. Repeat this process for all books of the Bible.
I said it was simple. I didn’t say it wouldn’t be time consuming. But it’s a great way to allow God’s word to grab a hold of you.
How about reading through the Bible in a year with your spouse or family (you could also do this one individually)? With the M’Cheyne plan you’ll read through the Old Testament once, the New Testament and Psalms, twice. Each day, you’ll read an OT chapter and a NT chapter as a family and another OT chapter and NT chapter on your own. Free Daily Bible study offers suggestions for making this a two or three year plan if one year seems too daunting.
This is a fun little web site. Take a brief test to find out how many words per minute you read, and this plan will show you how long it takes to go through each daily reading. You might be surprised at how little time it takes each day! You can also set your reading schedule for anywhere from one month (it CAN be done!) to 36 months to read through the whole Bible.
New to daily Bible reading and don’t want to bite off more than you can chew? Try Back to the Bible’s 21-Day Challenge. Each day, you’ll read one chapter in the book of John, and in three weeks, you’ll be finished. It’s a great way to get your feet wet.
This is a great plan for people (like me) who occasionally miss a day or two of a daily Bible reading plan. It’s a slower paced, 5 day per week plan (weekends are for reflection and catch up), taking about 5 minutes a day, with 5 ways to dig deeper and apply what you’re reading. You’ll go through the whole New Testament in a year, reading approximately one chapter per day.
Another great one for those who struggle with long term commitment. “The 90-day Bible reading plan integrates readings from Genesis, the foundational book of the Old Testament, with the three [synoptic] Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. On one side you’ll see God’s creative work and earliest interactions with His people; on the other, you’ll get to know Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, fulfilling the promises made even in Genesis.”
Take time to slowly savor God’s word with this relaxed pace plan. Readings alternate between the Old and New Testament to keep you from getting bogged down in some of the more difficult sections. You’ll read through the whole Bible, one to two chapters per day, in three years.
This is a pretty nifty little self-directed plan: “Old Testament: Read 2 to 3 chapters per day and take 4 days off per month. Read 1 to 3 designated one-sitting Old Testament books each quarter. New Testament: Read 1 chapter per day and take 4 days off per month. One gospel is assigned to each quarter and Romans and Hebrews are assigned twice across the year.” Historical redemptive passages are highlighted to call your attention to the “big picture” of the Bible.
Up for a challenge? The Horner system is sort of an osmosis system, the idea being “inundation” rather than “meditation.” With it, you’ll read ten chapters per day from ten different books. Over the course of a year, “you’ll read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters 4-5 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1 1⁄2 times.”
Does one of those plans seem like it might be a fit for you? If not, there are lots of others available here and here. And be sure to check out these two helpful resources: 5 of the Best Free Bible Study Tools and Read the Entire Bible in 2015. Both of these have additional reading plans as well.
Which plan looks most interesting to you?
Have a plan you love that isn’t listed? Please share!