Regular Bible reading is one of the most important factors related to spiritual growth and maturity, but only about one-third of Americans who attend a Protestant church regularly report reading the Bible on a daily basis, according to LifeWay Research.
With Bible reading being a popular New Year’s resolution, here’s a roundup of Bible reading plans to help you develop the habit of engaging with God’s Word on a regular basis.
Bible in a year
At the beginning of a new year, many people commit to reading the entire Bible, and there are a number of ways to approach it. Some read straight through the Bible in book order, some take a chronological approach in the order that events happened, and some may take a historical approach and read in order of the estimated date the books were written. Other plans have daily readings from both the Old and New Testaments. This site provides a summary of different plans to read the Bible in a year.
Bible in 2 (or 3) years
There’s nothing to say one must read through the entire Bible in a year. In fact, the Gospel Coalition’s Stephen Witmer writes that “The plans that guide you through the whole Bible in a year sometimes require so much reading each day that you don’t have sufficient time to reflect and pray about what you’re reading.” So Witmer developed this two-year reading plan. Others have developed a three-year approach, which will take you through the entire Bible by reading just one or two chapters per day.
F260 Bible reading plan
The F260 Bible reading plan is described as a “Bible reading plan for busy believers.” It was developed by pastor and ministry leader Robby Gallaty after failed attempts at reading through the Bible in a year. The plan included 260 days of reading that covers the foundational passages of scripture. The plan features one or two chapters of reading a day for five days a week. The plan also includes weekly memory verses and encourages participants to record insights in a journal. Access the plan online or download a PDF copy.
The M’Cheyne plan
Popularized by 19th century Scottish minister, Robert Murray M’Cheyne (sometimes spelled McCheyne), this plan takes readers through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice over the course of a year. Each day’s reading includes four chapters per day with options for family and personal readings (or you do the entire plan individually). Access the plan online or download a PDF copy.
Book at a time plans
Consider reading books of the Bible repeatedly over a period of time. In his book, “How to Master the English Bible,” former Moody Bible Institute president James M. Gray encourages reading whole books of the BIble in their entirety in one sitting. A summary and adaptation of the plan is available here. Pastor John MacArthur recommends a similar approach. He recommends reading the Old Testament in a year and reading New Testament books in their entirety in one sitting once a day for a month or more. MacArthur recommends dividing longer books into sections and reading those sections repeatedly for 30 days and then moving on to the next session. MacArthur outlines the plan in more detail here. Benefits of this approach include understanding individual books as a whole and how they relate to the entire Bible.
This list is far from exhaustive, and there are numerous other approaches to engaging with scripture. Many additional plans are available from sites such as Bible.com, BibleStudyTools.com, BibleGateway.com and YouVersion.com.
How do you plan to read the Bible in the new year?
(EDITOR’S NOTE – This article originally appeared at ncbaptist.org.)