Bible reading plans can help you grow as a follower of Christ. They guide you through reading the Bible, so that you can see God’s plan for this world and why it matters.
An intentional Bible reading plan also helps you stay committed. The regular cadence of reading, studying and applying God’s Word will help you develop Bible reading as a habit — something you work into your everyday routine.
Going through a reading plan makes sure that you don’t just camp out on your favorite Bible passages. Some of the stories in the Bible will surprise you. Some passages may puzzle you. Some verses you’ve never seen before will jump off the page. The element of surprise as you read through the entire Bible is one of the great reasons you should consider a reading plan.
But most importantly, it’s life change that we’re after. You’re not following a reading plan just to check off your Bible reading for the day. You’re meeting with God, who inspired the words of this Book. A reading plan that keeps God’s Word in front of you in a systematic and consistent way is a tool that God can use powerfully in your life.
But there are so many plans available. How do you decide? Let’s discover the right Bible reading plan for you by looking at what they offer.
The 88-Day Plan
The first kind of reading plan is the most “intense.” The 88-day plan will take you through the Bible in three months. It takes 30 minutes a day. It’s a full-on immersion experience into God’s Word. Let me advise you – if you take on an intense reading plan, you’ll need to make this a priority in your life.
You’ll have to make the choice to turn off the TV in the evening, or put down your phone during the day. You may need to spend your commute time listening to the Bible on audio. Whatever it takes, you’ll have to make some adjustments in your life to ensure that you get that 30 minutes every day so you can stay on track. The strength of this approach is that you will read the Bible in three months time! The weakness is that it’s super fast and there’s a lot of reading required.
The One-Year Classic
The second kind of reading plan is the one I call the One-Year classic. It comes with selections from the Old Testament and New Testament every day. You read through the Old Testament once over the course of the year, and you read through the New Testament and the Psalms twice. Some people read two of the selections with their family and two on their own. Other people read them all privately. This approach takes you through the entire Bible in one year.
The One-Year Chronological
The third kind of reading plan is the One-Year Chronological. It takes you through the Bible’s grand narrative, so that you follow the storyline chronologically. Have you ever tried reading the Bible and gotten bogged down in certain parts, like the prophets? This reading plan makes sure you understand where all the prophets come in the Bible’s overarching story. It puts the Psalms in their context as well. It helps you see how the Bible fits together to tell one big story that points to Jesus Christ. The strength of this reading plan is that it takes you through the Bible at a leisurely pace over the course of a year, helping you see the Bible’s big story. The only weakness in this plan is that, due to the New Testament being so much shorter than the Old Testament, you won’t get into the New Testament books until the last quarter of the year. It’s in Week 40 when you finally cross over from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
The Three-Year Plan
The Three-Year Plan takes you through the Bible at a much slower pace. You spend more time with each part of the Bible. This is the option you should choose if you want to spend considerable time meditating on and savoring God’s Word as you go. The Chronological version of this plan is helpful, but know that you won’t get into the New Testament until the third year.
The Foundations 260 Plan
The Foundations 260 Bible Reading plan highlights foundational Bible passages every believer should know. The plan is for believers to read one or two chapters a day for five days each week, with an allowance for weekends off. The two off-days a week are built in so you may catch up on days where you’re unable to read. In order to digest more of the Word, the F-260 encourages believers to read less and to keep a journal that helps you understand and apply God’s Word.
The He and She Reads Truth Plans
More recently, we’ve seen the development of the She Reads Truth or He Reads Truth Bible reading plans. These plans focus on different books of the Bible. For example, you go on a journey in which you read Matthew in 28 days, or you do a study of the Parables of Jesus in 21 days, or you read through Paul’s letter to the Romans in 42 days. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount takes 28 days. The beauty of this approach is that it leads you to a slow, steady, meditative encounter with God’s Word. The She Reads Truth Bible has plans for reading each Bible book. The focus here is not on finishing the whole Bible in a certain amount of time, but on sticking with a plan that takes you through Bible books.
Tips for Making the Most of a Reading Plan
We’ve looked at a number of Bible reading plans. Now how do you start one? Whichever plan you choose, keep in mind a few tips:
First, keep to a schedule. If you’re going to succeed at keeping with a Bible reading plan, you need to make an appointment for Bible reading just like you’d do with anything else you’d schedule.
Second, consider reading through your plan with a partner. Accountability is important to maintain consistency.
Third, make sure you find the right Bible to use as you follow your plan. There isn’t a single right Bible translation or edition for everyone. We all prefer to read in different ways. Some good options include:
You may feel discouraged if you fall behind in your reading plan, but don’t be. Remember, the beauty of a Bible reading plan is that it gets you reading the Bible and hearing the voice of God.