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bible-reading-plans

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 some awesome and unique reading plans that can help.

1. The Chronological Plan

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-friendly formats.

2. How to Change Your Mind (The Gray Method)

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.

3. The M’Cheyne Plan

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.

4. The Bible in 90 Days

“Read the Bible cover to cover by investing as little as 30 minutes a day.
In 90 days (two “grace days” are included) you’ll see the big picture of God’s great story unfold before you.” Can’t be done, you say? Think of it as binge-reading the greatest story ever told.

5. The 21-Day Challenge

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.

6. The 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

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.

7. The 90 Day Challenge

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.”

8. Every Word in the Bible

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.

9. The Bible Eater

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.

10. Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

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.” (Tim Challies)

11. Denny Burk’s Bible Reading Plan

Do you find it difficult to follow a plan that includes readings from several different books per day? Denny Burk did, so he developed this reading plan that takes you through one book at a time in canonical order over the course of a year. “Each day’s reading is about 3-4 chapters in length, with the exception of the Psalms (which are covered in 5 chapters per day). The idea is to read longer chapters in groups of three (e.g., Pentateuchal narratives, Gospels) and shorter chapters in groups of four. There are 7 catch-up days scattered throughout the calendar.”

12. The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

With only 25 days of readings per month, this plan is one of the most flexible. Take Sundays off, use catch-up days as needed, or go back and review passages that need more attention at the end of the month. Read from two NT and two OT books each day and finish up in a year, or easily divide the readings up over a two year period.

13. The Bible Project Reading Plan

The good folks at The Bible Project have taken a fairly typical one year plan (you’ll read Genesis – Revelation once and Psalms 2.5 times {one Psalm per day}) and jazzed it up with some neat features. They’ve grouped the Scriptures into 16 “chapters” based on major biblical events, eras, and categories, with a brief introductory video at the beginning of each “chapter” explaining the theme of that section and what to watch for as you read. There are also free downloadable posters accompanying each video.

Need more suggestions? Check out these collections of Bible reading plans:

  • Ligonier– A wide variety of plans, most available in PDFs.
  • ESV Bible– These plans will work with any translation, not just ESV. Most are available in RSS, iCal, mobile, print (PDF), and e-mail.
  • Bible Gateway– Several great plans, especially if your church uses the Revised Common Lectionary or the Book of Common Prayer and you want to follow along at home. Log in each day and the selected text is displayed on your screen, or subscribe to your plan via e-mail. (Note: I would not recommend the Daily Audio Bible plan. It uses several different “translations,” which is an interesting idea, but while some are accurate, reliable translations (ESV, HCSB), others are faulty paraphrases (The Message, The Voice). However, many translations on Bible Gateway have an audio option, so pick another plan with a good translation and listen away!)

Which plan looks most interesting to you?
Have a plan you love that isn’t listed? Please share!

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