When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, telling him to turn stones into bread, the God-Man responded: “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (ESV). Bible reading plans help Christians to live on every word of God each day of their lives.
What is a Bible reading plan? Bible reading plans give you a simple schedule for studying Scripture on a daily basis. No matter how much time you have, what your reading level is, or how much you know about the Bible, there is a perfect reading plan for you.
How can a daily reading plan help me? Daily reading plans organize passages of Scripture in a way that can be easily tracked as you pursue your goals, like reading one chapter of the Bible per day or reading through all of Scripture in one year. Plans are arranged into simple charts that are easy to follow.
Are there different kinds of Bible reading plans?
There are several different reading plans from which to choose. Before selecting a plan, it’s important to think through the time you can commit to reading each day as well as your reading level.
If you are new to Bible reading, you may not want to pick an advanced plan that overwhelms you. There are many plans below to consider. Using a Study Bible to read Scripture is also a wise consideration (recommendations below). But first, it’s important to understand the different types of reading plans there are.
Example #1 – Read Through the Bible in a Year: Reading the Old and New Testament in 12 months is a popular approach to studying Scripture. To read through the Bible in one year, you will need to read three to four chapters per day. For many people, this would take about 20 minutes per day.
Example #2 – Read Through the Bible in Two Years: The goal of a Bible reading plan, isn’t to read Scripture fast and to merely check off daily readings like it’s just another thing on your to-do list. This being the case, you may want to consider a two-year reading plan.
Reading through the Bible in two years is a great plan for many readers. To read through the Bible in two years, you will need to read one to two chapters per day.
See comparison charts, links to reading plans, and Study Bible recommendations below.
Example #3 – Chronological Readings: Part of the Bible is arranged in chronological (or historical) order and part of it isn’t. Some readers prefer to take a chronological approach to Scripture because it puts the people, places, and events of both testaments in historical sequence. (See the reading plan in the Chronological Study Bible below.)
Example #4 – Topical Readings: Some people like to read about different topics every week, month, or some other length of time, for more variety. For example, in one month, they will read every day about the attributes of God, like his love, grace, and power. Then, the following month, they will read about forgiveness. The next month, they will read about marriage or parenting. (See the app recommendations for more.)
How can I choose a reading plan? Scroll below to see several options, read the summary descriptions, and choose the one that is right for you. You may want to access one of the many plans available free online. Or, you may want to download and print a reading plan to keep in your Bible. Some Study Bibles include reading plans as well (examples below).
Reading Plans for Beginners
Reading plans that are one to three months in length are great for those who are new to reading Scripture on a daily basis. Following a plan in which you read through the Bible in a year — if it’s your first year reading the Bible regularly — might sound like a daunting task. If that’s the case with you, see the options below.
|30 Days in the New Testament (30 days)||An excellent one-month overview of the New Testament. Daily readings come from a variety of New Testament books.||Link|
|One Psalm a Day (150 days)||Read through all 150 chapters of Psalms in about five months.||Link|
|One Proverb a Day (31 days)||Lots of people like to read a chapter of Proverbs a day. This checklist makes it extremely easy to track your progress.||Link|
|Bible Reading Record (no time component)||This reading plan consists of a checklist of every chapter of the Bible. Go at your own pace.||Link|
|YouVersion||Short and sweet reading plans for those who are new to Bible reading. Download the YouVersion app for free from your preferred app store.||Link|
|Bible Project||The famous Youtubers now have an app with a Bible reading plan.||Link|
Examples of short YouVersion Bible Reading Plans include: “Foundations of Faith” (5 days), “How To Stop Worrying” (5 days), “Dealing with Uncertainty” (5 days), and “From Anxiety to Peace” (6 days). If you want a reading plan that is longer than a few days, there is “The New Testament in 90 Days.”
Intermediate Reading Plans
The difference between the beginning and intermediate plans is the daily time commitment it will take to complete each reading and the overall reading objective takes longer to complete (e.g. six months as opposed to one month).
|New Testament in 6 months (182 days)||Read through the New Testament in six months. Daily readings are divided into manageable lengths.||Link|
|Navigators: 5x5x5 New Testament Bible Reading Plan||Read through the New Testament in one year with an interactive plan. 5x5x5 refers to five minutes a day, five days a week, using five ways to dig deep into Scripture.*||Link|
*The five ways to dig deep are: (1) Underline or highlight keywords or phrases, (2) Put it in your own words, (3) Ask and answer questions, (4) Capture the big idea, and (5) Personalize the meaning. Follow the link in the table above for more explanation of each of these interactive concepts.
Advance Reading Plans
What this article is referring to as “advanced” reading plans are those that take a year to complete.
|Read Through the Bible in a Year (365 days)||365 daily readings on two printable checklists. The average length is 1-2 chapters per day, including weekends.||Link|
|Robert M’Cheyne’s Plan (365 days)||Take readers through the New Testament and Psalms twice each year, and through the rest of the Bible once.||Link|
|Daily Light (366 days)||Written in the mid-1800s, Daily Light was born out of the faith of Samuel Bagster, a British bookstore owner determined to share his faith with his twelve children.||Link|
|Navigators: Read Through the Bible in a Year (365 days)||Daily readings from four separate books of the Bible to maximize variety. Combines Old and New Testament passages on daily basis.||Link|
|Navigators: Read Through the Bible in a Year (365 days)||Read through the Bible one book at a time. Daily readings average three chapters of the Bible.||Link|
Study Bible with Reading Plans
Study Bibles are excellent resources that any Bible reader should strongly consider. Study Bibles contain explanatory notes to help people understand what they are reading. They commonly include maps, charts, timelines, and pictures. Some Study Bibles, like those featured below, include reading plans.
The Chronological Study Bible – Bible Reading Plan
The reading plans included in the Chronological Study Bible are very easy to follow. There is a one-year plan and a two-year plan. The reading-plan chart is found at the back of the Bible, is easy to understand, and will help you put the people, places, and events of Scripture in historical order.
The CSB Study Bible – Bible Reading Plan
In the back of the CSB Study Bible, you will find a three-year reading plan as well as Robert M’Cheyne’s one-year plan (mentioned in the table above). Also included is a 52-week Scripture Memory Plan.
The ESV Study Bible – Bible Reading Plan
The popular ESV Study Bible includes a one-year reading plan that guides you through four different passages each day. Daily readings are arranged into roughly equal lengths, which will help you establish a consistent routine for reading the Bible.
Bible verses about studying Scripture
- Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
- Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
- Matthew 4:4, “But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
- Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
- Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
“The Bible is not just a collection of inspired books written by various prophets and apostles, but that it’s a single story, a coherent narrative of the redemptive acts of God. The single story has God as its author, its primary actor, and its center, and the climax of this story is the glory of God in salvation through judgment.” (Michael Lawrence, Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church, Crossway, 2010, p. 37.)
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