Reading Through the Bible in a Year

Many free plans are available that help people read through the Bible in a set given period of time.  Some Bibles offer suggested reading plans in an appendix.  Most of these plans will take a reader through the entire Bible in a year.  A year is a nice duration because it works out to about 3 to 5 chapters per reading, or about 20 minutes a day.

There are a number of different ways to go through the Bible.  It could be that your program starts on the first page of Genesis and ends on the last page of Revelation (the first and last books of the Bible).  There are some that will read something from the New Testament and something from the Old.  Or it could be more detailed, maybe something from the books of history, something from the wisdom books, a bit from the books of the prophets, then the gospels, epistles, and so-on.  Or it could be like the one I'm working on this year that's chronological by event (but you could even do one that's chronological by when the book was authored).

There are many programs available on-line. will allows you do develop your own 1-year program, taking into consideration translation and the type of read through you'd like to do.  It also has start dates on the 1st and 15th of every month, unlike some that start only on January 1st or go by day number (which gets confusing by day 11).     

There was a time when I couldn't stand the "programs" designed to help people read through the Bible in a year. My incorrect thoughts--which didn't work well in practice--went something like this:
  • Why would I want to restrict my reading to a ridged plan?  What if one day I wanted to read more than the program suggests, or less if I am short on time?
  • Doesn't a Bible read-through plan force a person to move forward even if they should stop and marinate on a single scripture for a while? 
  • Could it be okay to skim through some of the dry readings and work in more depth in the deeply engaging stuff? 
In reality, if we don't have a plan, and even some accountability, we tend to put off the reading until a year has passed and we realized we need to get back into the Word.  Or, in my case more recently, I can work on a single passage for a week.  I'll look at it in the Greek and read commentaries on it.  I'll contrast it against other scriptures and I'll pray about it.  While this can be great for study, it really doesn't allow me to hear the flow and beauty of God's word.  It also means I stay in one book of the Bible for a long, long time.  If this is you, that's great--keep doing this, but add a 1-year Bible reading plan.

The other problem I sometimes have (which isn't a bad thing) is I'll read large sections of Scripture. Sometimes 2 or 3 books in a night.  I ended up reading through the entire Old Testament twice in one semester and then I did the same for the new Testament the next semester.  If this is you, great, keep it up. However, add a 1-year read through too and commit to that each morning while you're having your Frosted Flakes and coffee.

While I don't generally suggest it for study, it might be a good idea to use dynamic translation, which tends to be a smoother reading translation.  I'm finding that the New Living Translation (NLT) is an easy read for my daily morning readings.  But this is just me; read what you're most comfortable with.  The important thing is that your reading.  If you've never read through the entire Bible, why not?

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