Where to Start?
The Bible is a book full of smaller books and letters, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Fortunately, many Bible reading plans exist that can help you navigate your daily reading. When looking for a reading plan it is good to find one that supplies something from the new testament and old testament to read each day. Reading from the old testament can help you catch the broader picture of what God has been doing since creation. Likewise, reading from the new testament will give you valuable insight into our salvation and Jesus Christ. With so many Bible reading plans out there what one should you choose?
How much time do you have each day?
One of the first decision that you make when finding a Bible reading plan is how long do you want to read each day. Do you have 5 minutes or a couple of hours? Most 1 year Bible reading plans require about 12 to 20mins of reading each day. If you have an hour or more to spend with God in your current season of life, you might consider choosing a 1 year Bible reading plan. When choosing how long you can read, you need to remember that you will also want to have time to pray and think/study about what you are reading each day. 1 year Bible reading plans can help to give you a good overview of the Bible, but if you have less than a 1 hour to spend with God each day it will be easy to get behind in your reading and stop the plan altogether. It might be good to consider a shorter reading plan that takes you through a portion of the Bible or select a reading plan that is 2 years or more.
Short VS Long Term Bible Reading Plan
Advantages can be found for both short and long term Bible reading plans. Short term Bible reading plans can help you jump all over the Bible quickly and long term Bible reading plans can help you find consistency over the long haul. Bible reading plans that only last a week or a couple of months are good, but they often leave you asking what to read next. If you are looking to consistently read the Bible every day then it might be good to consider a long term Bible reading plan. The key to picking a long term Bible study is to not choose one that locks you into the same kind of reading for weeks.
Historical VS Topical VS Chronological
Historical or canonical Bible reading plans are the more traditional way people have tended to read the Bible. These plans use the historical order of the books as they are found in the Bible. It is the equivalent of opening the Bible and reading from the first page to the last or some portion in between. The problem with these kinds of plans is that you might spend a week reading nothing but genealogies. The typical solution to this problem is topical or thematic reading plans (often in the form of devotionals). However, reading select topics can polarize the Bible and prevent you from having a full picture of God and what He has to say. Another approach in the last couple of decades has been the Chronological Bible reading plan. These types of plans arrange Bible readings so that you experience events and prophecies in the order they took place on a Bible timeline. This can be a great approach, but it can make it so that you spend months reading stories from the Bible and then months of reading deep spiritual instruction. So, what is best? Well, probably a mix of all three of these.
One of the best things you can do in reading the Bible each day is to find someone else who will do the same reading plan with you. Reading with someone else will give you a connection point to talk to someone about what you are reading and learning. In addition, you will also find someone who will help motivate you to stay on track and catch up if you get behind. One of the best ways to find someone to read with you is to ask a family member or person that is part of your local church. Most genuine Christians want to read the Bible every day and are excited if someone wants to read with them, so be bold and ask…you won’t regret it!
Where to find Bible reading plans?
In the past, the only place to find a reading plan was in a printed Bible, but these days it is much easier. The internet is full of them and is only a google search away. In addition, many apps at both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store have Bible reading plans in them. Simply searching for “Bible Reading Plan” will give you a ton of options. My favorite Bible reading plan for long term daily Bible reading is Bible Study Together’s 2-year Chronological Cross-Reference reading plan. It combines the new and old testament into daily readings that are in the order of which events occurred but also enables you to read parallel passages to show you how the old testament is fulfilled in the new. They also have lots of resources wrapped around the plan. As a result, you can read this plan with an app, printed bible, or even daily journal with their workbook. Click here to get started with Bible Study Together!
What is holding you back?
People make excuses about reading the Bible like, “I don’t have any time” or “it’s too confusing” or “it is too dry”. Please remember that daily reading the Bible is not about checking off that you finished your spiritual duty for the day. It is about communing with the risen Son of God. Time in God’s word needs to be accompanied by prayer, meditation/study, and fellowship with others reading the Bible. When you see the value of daily being with Jesus, it will motivate you to carve out the time. If the Bible is hard for you to understand there is likely someone who would be excited to read and help you understand it (just be brave and start asking). If God’s word feels dry to you, please take some time in prayer for the next week just to ask God why you are more excited by the things of this world than His truth. He might just take you on a journey that will remove the hindrance and bring you into a much deeper place with Him.