Sticking to a Bible reading plan can be quite the challenge if you’ve never done it before. One of the first steps is to find the right plan that will make you more likely to complete it.
Before I begin, let me give you some background. Like most people, I’ve started the Bible countless times. Before 2015, the furthest I got was somewhere in Leviticus or Numbers–maybe on a good year, Deuteronomy. Once the Bible became less of a narrative, I would zone out and give up.
I began my first successful (completed) read through the Bible in November 2015. On December 31, 2018, I will finish my 5th successful reading of the entire Bible since November 2015. I have read physical Bibles, and I’ve read through the YouVersion Bible App. While I’m no expert, I have had some decent success so here’s what I’ve learned along the way.
I know a lot of people have a lot of opinions on how to read the Bible. Shut out the noise. There is not one way to approach the Bible. Trust that God will speak to you through His Word no matter how you read it. He will. Trust that God will speak to others no matter how they approach the Word. Don’t stress if they choose a different plan than what you feel is best.
I hear people arguing that the best and only way is chronological. Here’s the truth: it is hard to sustain a chronological read through the Bible on your first try. It’s not impossible–for nothing is impossible with God–but it requires intense discipline as you won’t reach the New Testament until around August or September. The same is true of the canonical plans. Canonical plans begin in Genesis and read straight through to Revelation. Again, there’s no New Testament for a long time. I was not able to be successful with these types of plans until after I’d completed others first.
If you have never successfully read the Bible all the way through, I highly recommend the One Year Bible plans. You can purchase One Year Bibles–this is my favorite–or use the free plan found below (click on the picture) Each day in the One Year Bible plan has reading from the Old Testament, The New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. There are times when the Old Testament can be tedious–or dare I say it, boring–you will be thankful to have other parts of the Bible to sustain you on those days.
If not the official One Year Bible Plan, there are also plans that include Old and New Testament Readings each day or a Psalm in addition to the other reading. Here are some options. I’ve completed the first two. To see the plan in the YouVersion app, simply click on the photo that interests you.
Once you’ve complete a Bible plan and have the confidence to do it again, there are so many options for reading in different ways. In 2019, I plan to read the Bible canonically with my Daily Walk Bible. That being said, I also plan to simultaneously do a one year New Testament plan so that I am not waiting until the fall for the Gospels. That’s my advice for anyone considering canonical or chronological. Add a plan with at least a little New Testament everyday. I’ve included a couple below.
If you’ve been following along with me, you probably know that I have written my own Bible reading plans. You can find those in this post.
Now, for someone who wants a challenge, I give you The 52 Week Bible Reading Plan. This is a unique plan and by far the hardest I’ve ever complete. I would not recommend it for a first time through the Bible.
Hopefully this post gives some starting points for staying in the Word in 2019. Let me know in the comments what plan you choose. Let me know what plans you’ve completed before.
Maybe you’ve read this post and don’t feel ready to tackle the entire Bible. That’s okay! The Bible is a huge book, and it’s daunting. There’s a reason I made it into my 30s before I read the whole thing. If you are interested, but overwhelmed, I would consider one of the New Testament plans I included above. I read the New Testament all the way through before I did a whole Bible plan. You will get to know Jesus and Christian doctrine. God will use whatever time you can give Him. If the pressure of the whole Bible is too much, start small. You will still be blessed.
Do you have a Bible? Are you looking for a new one? Check out my Amazon storefront for my favorite Bibles and Bible study tools. I know that a wide-margined Bible, colorful pens and highlighters increase my excitement to dig into the Word and keep me focused. Let me know if you have any questions about the Bibles or tools.
My prayer for everyone reading this is that in 2019 you make time to get in the Word each day, even if just to read a few verses and meditate on them. I pray that the Lord makes you thirst for Him. Glory to God!
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