I think it is really important that Christians know their Bible. If you only do a short devotional each day with a Bible verse and an explanation, you won’t get to know your Bible very quickly, and you will only know certain bits of it.
It is then a lot easier to be misled by wrong doctrine, or make wrong decisions, because you don’t really understand God’s ways.
I believe that all Christians should aim to read through their Bible regularly – the whole thing. That means that you will understand more of the fear of the Lord (which I get from reading the Old Testament), how to be wise (from Proverbs), and how great God is (from Psalms and of course many other books too).
And just generally you will understand more of how God thinks, what is right and wrong, what to do when trouble comes, how to counsel others, how to live in victory, what pleases God and lots more.
So here are a few different plans that you could think about using if you want to try and read through your Bible on a regular basis:
For a new Christian
One chapter or more a day, going through John first, then you could do Ephesians and Philippians, then the rest of the New Testament picking different books as you like. 1 John is good if you are not sure if you are really saved or not, and my husband recommends you save Revelation till last!
My husband’s plan
Read one to any amount of chapters a day, going through whatever book of the Bible you choose. Tick off the books you have read in the front of the Bible until they are all read through. Then start again.
He doesn’t like a schedule so this is a good system for him, and you get variety because if you’ve just read a hard book you can then pick an easy one afterwards. He reads with a Bible highlighter in hand, to highlight passages that stand out to him. Sometimes he will read a whole book in one sitting; other times he will meditate in depth on one chapter.
My Dad’s plan
Read one to any amount of chapters each day depending on time, going through the Bible from beginning to end and reading the study notes as you go along. He likes getting new Bibles and reads each new one this way.
I have tried reading the Bible through like this before but usually end up giving up somewhere around Leviticus or Numbers, because they are hard to understand and read! My son read the whole Bible through this way, but got stuck in Isaiah for a month or two, then went back to it and finished eventually. We are all different, so this works better for some than for others.
Read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice in a year. Each day has a set 4 chapters to read. You can find it here.
This is the plan I have been using for years now, and is a wonderful way of reading through the Bible every year. I think of it as a four course meal, with variety each day. Every so often I try other methods of reading the Bible, but so far have always come back to this!
If I have to skip a day I usually don’t catch up on the missed day unless I have time, because otherwise you just find yourself getting more and more behind, and get discouraged and give up. I think it is better to miss those few chapters and figure you will get them in next year than end up giving up completely!
A good all-rounder
Get three bookmarks, and put one at Genesis 1, one at Ezra 1, and one at Matthew 1. Then read a chapter a day from each place, or more if you feel like it. If you want to add an extra course to your meal you can stick a bookmark in Psalms too!
If you want an easy way to read through the Bible in a year but aren’t very good at sticking to schedules I think this would be a good plan for you. It also means you read from different places which I like for variety. If you skip a day then it doesn’t matter because you come back to the same place the next day.
The only real issue with this plan is that you might forget which was the last chapter you read, but hopefully that would motivate you to concentrate more next time!
Professor Grant Horner’s plan
Read 10 chapters a day, or modify the plan to suit you. Doing it as given will take you through the New Testament four times, Acts and Proverbs 12 times, Psalms 2-4 times depending if you read one or 2 a day, the books of Moses 2 times, and the rest of the Old Testament about 1 and a half times in a year. You can read how to do it here.
I wouldn't start this plan unless you have already been reading at least a chapter a day, and can devote half an hour to reading. This is the system I am using at the moment, but I have modified it to read through the whole Old Testament twice, Proverbs once a month, and the New Testament and Psalms four times in a year. That comes out at 9 chapters a day (with 2 psalms).
It takes me about 30 minutes, with reflection and writing, which really is nothing like as bad as I thought it would be! And I love how the chapters comment on and complement each other when I am reading from so many different places.
I once read somewhere that every Christian should read through their Bible once a year, and if you’re in ministry you should read through it four times a year. That has stuck in my head as something to try and do one day, which is why this system appealed to me, along with a means to get to know my Bible and God better.
More Bible reading plans
Justin Taylor has put together a list of different plans at his blog over here, and John Piper writes about reading the Bible in 2012 here. There is also the Bible in 90 days which I know many have tried, but I haven't listed it because it seems like a hard one to keep up with for more than a one off!
For more help on having a devotional time, you might like to read my 10 tips for devotional times, or what I have written about my devotional basket. And please remember, this is not something you should feel is a rule or a demand of the Christian life. Rather it is something you would want to do because it will help you to know God and His will better, and live in victory.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3
Please feel free to share what you have been doing or are planning to do with your Bible reading.
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