The new year is nearly upon us, which means it’s time to consider what sort of Bible reading plan may be best for the next year.
With a solid Bible reading plan, you can be sure that you’re reading a little bit of the Bible each day without having to make the decision of where to start, or forgetting where you were when you left off.
What Bible reading plan may be best for you next year?
There are tons of Bible reading plans available all over the internet, and it can be difficult to decide which one may be best for you. So we’ve compiled a list of five of the best one’s we’ve discovered and used over the years. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out one of the Bible reading plans below.
The Five Day Bible Reading Plan is a favorite of many who regularly use Bible reading plans and attempt to read the entire Bible in a year. It requires a little bit more time each day of the week than a typical seven-day reading plan, but it bakes two catch-up days into every week.
Of course it is good for the Christian to read the Bible every single day, but many weeks that just doesn’t happen. A Bible reading plan that accommodates this reality makes keeping up with weekly readings a lot easier.
This Bible reading plan is loosely chronological, but with an Old Testament, a New Testament, and a Psalm reading every day.
Our friends at Crossway have a bunch of Bible reading plans you can choose from at any time, but a chronological Bible reading plan is one of the most popular kinds around.
Many people have never read the Bible in the order of the events that take place. Of course we don’t know with 100% certainty where certain passages fall in terms of timing, but this Bible reading plan does as good of a job as any at leading you through the Scriptures as they happened across the historical timeline.
“A good Bible reading plan can serve as a roadmap to intimacy with God.”
Please note that there are no catch-up days baked into this seven-days-a-week Bible reading plan, so while you may be asked to read less on any given day in this plan than you are in the Five Day Bible Reading Plan, you will have to double up readings if you miss any days.
Like the two previous Bible reading plans in this list, Michael Coley’s 52-Week Bible Reading Plan sets up users to read the entire Bible in a single year. It also has no off-days or catch-up days like the ESV Chronological Bible Reading Plan, so be aware of that.
What is pretty cool and unique about this Bible reading plan is that it prompts readers to read a different genre of Scripture every day of the week. Here’s how it works:
This sort of Bible reading plan is great because you don’t find yourself stuck in the trenches of a particular book or genre for an extended period of time. This method provides some variety, which can be helpful for the reluctant Bible reader.
You can find this kind of Bible reading plan many different places, but this one from Heartlight Ministries is as easy to read and understand as any of them out there.
This kind of Bible reading plan is straightforward: you read from the front of your Bible to the back of your Bible. Not too complicated! Some may mistakenly call this a “chronological” Bible reading plan, but the books of the Bible are not arranged in chronological order.
If you’ve ever wanted to read the Bible from the front to the back, this is the plan for you!
Our friends at The Gospel Coalition provide a great two-year Bible reading plan for Bible readers who want to take their reading a bit slower than these other plans require.
Reading the Bible in a single year can sometimes be so heavy on reading that it makes journaling or otherwise reflecting on the Scripture somewhat difficult. This sort of two-year Bible reading plan requires less reading on any given day and may provide readers a bit more freedom to journal along with their reading as a means of thinking through the text. This plan does offer a couple of catch up days each month for readers to make up for where they may have fallen behind.
We’re right to approach the Bible with anticipation, to expect to hear from God in a powerful and personal way. But the way the Bible does its work on our hearts is often not through the lightning bolt, but through the gentle and quiet rhythms of daily submission, of opening up our lives before this open Book and asking God to change us. Change doesn’t always happen overnight. Growth doesn’t happen in an instant. Instead, it happens over time, as we eat and drink and exercise. The same is true of Scripture reading. Not every meal is at a steakhouse. Not every meal is memorable. Can you remember what you had for dinner, say, two weeks ago? Probably not. But that meal sustained you, didn’t it? In the same way, we come to feast on God’s Word, recognizing that it’s the daily rhythm of submitting ourselves to God and bringing our plans and hopes and fears to Him that makes the difference.
Reading the Bible is like eating a meal. Not every meal we eat is going to be the best meal we’ve ever had…but we still need to eat so that we have the fuel we need to live our lives.
Sometimes, reading the Bible may sound about as appealing as flossing your teeth or doing the dishes, but maintaining a regular habit of Bible reading, even when it feels like drudgery, creates an environment in which God may soon use a particular piece of Scripture to strike truth into the deepest depths of our hearts, changing our perspective, and sticking with us for the rest of our lives. But we can’t have these moments without a regular reading of God’s Word.
This is why a Bible reading plan can be helpful. It can set you on the path and take the confusion and decision-making out of your hands. A good Bible reading plan can serve as a roadmap to intimacy with God. Consider using one in the new year.
by Howard Hendricks and William Hendricks
For every person who draws strength and direction from the Bible, there are many more who struggle with it. Some call it a long book...
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