Are you one of those people who make New Year’s resolutions each January? If so, you might have considered attempting to read the Bible more strategically this year. For most people that try it, it’s hard to know where to begin and how to tackle it. People usually just pick a plan and then dive in. Depending on which plan you choose, you may get bogged down in some Old Testament section or fall behind in your reading. Either way, you often end up giving up altogether. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been there before. (I see those hands).
I’ve tried tons of different reading plans over the years (and even finished some of them!). Here’s a key lesson I’ve discovered: developing a habit of studying the Bible is more important than completing it in a set amount of time.
I’ve enjoyed different aspects of different plans over the years. Some were more intensive than others. For the first time, I’m offering you a plan I’ve created myself. It’s a variation on one of my favorite plans I’ve done in the past (see: Professor Horner’s Bible Reading System
). I love the premise of his plan but it requires reading ten chapters a day. That’s a lot. So I’ve created a modified version that does five chapters a day using his as a starting point.
The plan involves reading a chapter from five lists each day. This keeps you spread out throughout the Bible in five different sections each day. Three chapters in the Old Testament and two chapters from the New Testament.
There’s no way to fall behind on this plan. You just pick up where you left off and get back into it. There’s no finish line either. You could do this for years and not read the same five chapters twice. Most of the Bible you’ll read in a year. Some you won’t. Some you’ll read through multiple times each year. In my opinion, it is this setup that best positions the reader to develop a sustainable and life-giving habit of regularly reading the Bible without legalism or guilt.
If you’re interested in trying it, download this document
of bookmarks and cut out each of the five. This is intended for use with a physical Bible rather than an app, as I prefer this method for reading the Bible (even though I read most of my books electronically on my Kindle Oasis). You could also modify it for use with a Bible app, although it will take a little adjusting.
You’ll place each bookmark at the start of that list (i.e. one in Genesis, one in Job, one in Isaiah, one in Matthew, and one in Romans). Each day you read a chapter from each list and then move on to the next list. Five chapters a day. When you finish all the books in a particular list you go back to the beginning of that list and do it again (after you finish Acts, you reset listÂ 4 back in Matthew). Because each list is a different amount of books and chapters, this ensures your reading will always be unique.
This plan keeps you seeing the bigger picture of the Bible without reading it to check off a list. I pray that it would be as beneficial for you as it has been for my own time with God. Happy reading!
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