Monday, January 19, 2015

A Plan for Bible Reading

The beginning of the year brings a decision - to plan or not to plan my Bible reading.

Some years I follow a plan. I print off a chart and check off the boxes.  I'm a list maker, and like chart to give direction to my Bible reading.



But often after a year of following a Bible reading plan, I'm ready for a change. So I decide to take a year off and just read what I whatever I want - no plan, no schedule.

Maybe others have more self-discipline than I but I find that without a plan I falter. Benjamin Franklin said "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." When I make no plan, I tend to open my Bible randomly, often turning to the Psalms or one of the Epistles - not bad place to read, but probably shouldn't just be my default setting.  My marker falls out and the next day I can't even remember where I was reading. I don't have a focus. My reading isn't deliberate but haphazard.

So when another year comes around, I'm glad to get back on track and have a plan for my Bible reading.

There are many different plans available. You can find a whole list of free printable plans here. I don't think my goal should be to read the whole Bible through in a certain amount of time as much as to be deliberate in my Bible consumption. To have a vision, a purpose, a goal.



Ed likes the One Year Bible. This Bible is organized with readings for every day of the year. Each day you read a portion from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. At the end of the year, you will have read through the entire Bible once and Psalms twice. I remember my mom using this Bible twenty years ago (and maybe she still does.)

The One Year Bible is a simple way to organize your Bible reading. Each day's reading only takes about fifteen minutes but if that is still too much, you can easily take two or more years to complete it by reading the Old Testament portion one day and the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs the next day.

But I'm a tightwad. I already own lots of Bibles. Why did I need another Bible? So though Ed enjoyed his One Year Bible, I continued printing off a Bible reading plan of some sort.

Until this year.

This year Ed decided to enjoy the advantages of technology. He bought the Kindle version of the One Year Bible. He loves that he can read it on his phone at the breakfast table, or on his Kindle on the couch, or on his work computer and it is always synchronized at the right spot. For Ed, this has been perfect. His Bible reading is always in his pocket. Works for him.

Since he wasn't using his One Year Bible, I decided to give it a try this year. I'm only a couple weeks into the new year but already I'm loving it.

With the One Year Bible I never have to check my paper to see where I'm reading, or flip pages to a new section of the Bible, or lose my chart, or forget to stop and read part of tomorrow's reading. We moms have enough on our minds. With the One Year Bible, I open the Bible and start reading until I come to the next date. Easy. Painless. I'm loving it.

The big question is what happens if for some reason you skip a few days? Or what if you read this post and decide to buy your own copy of the One Year Bible? Do you try to catch up for the weeks in January that you missed?

You may make your own decision but here is my advice. If you only missed one day, maybe you can read two days and get caught up. Thirty minutes of reading isn't too hard to squeeze in. But if it is longer than a day or two, just skip those days and start at today's date. If you force yourself to "catch up"you'll be too discouraged to continue and you will stop all together. The goal is not to read through the Bible in a certain amount of time. The goal is to read, learn, and apply God's Word. It is far better to read something than nothing. So keep going. Read what you can. Next year (or in two years, or however long it takes) you will come back through again and can read those chapters you missed.

What about you? I would love to hear what tips you have found to consistently read God's Word. Do find it helps to follow some sort of plan? Do you have another source of accountability? What works for you?

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21 comments :

  1. Like you Gina, I was reading here and there in the Bible for my devotions but after reading this post I decided to get a plan as well. I have a Daily Devotional Bible that I have not read and so I decided to start today. Thank you for the encouragement that even if I didn't start Jan 1, I can start anytime.

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  2. I also thought about starting a one year reading plan but decided to do my own thing. Since I have a hard time finding a devotional writing style that I like I am sticking with my Women's Study Bible (NKJV) and my goal is to read at least 3 chapters a day. I read once that you have to average at least 3 chapters a day you can read the bible in a year. I started with Psalms since I need to play ALL my trust in the Lord. I have really been enjoying it, what a great way to start out the year!

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  3. Last year I did the Thematic Bible Reading plan from BibleStudyTools.com. It was a great reading plan, and the first time I actually managed to FINISH the whole Bible in a year. This year, I prefer to go more in-depth with a few books than try to get through everything... but I'm really glad that I managed to actually finish the whole Bible in a year for once. Hooray for plans!
    -dep31

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I was looking for a new focus in Bible study this year, something beyond simply reading, and I think I found it. The webpage of reading plans was very helpful and I shared it on facebook for my friends and relatives because many of us are wanting to make daily study part of our life.

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  5. I usually follow a plan for reading through the Bible in a year, plus go through a devotional. But when I finished early with that last year, and was casting about looking for an idea for organized reading, I decided to begin copying books by hand. I've copied about 10 books now from the old and new Testaments, filling several notebooks! But I love the way that I read slowly, slow enough to write. It still takes discipline to keep my mind on what I am doing, similar to just reading. I'm doing some other studies, since it's slower to write through a book than read through it! We are so blessed to have the Word of God so available!

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    1. Love this idea! Over the summer Ed had the children work at copying chapters. I thought that I should sit down with them and work at it too.
      Gina

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  6. Good afternoon, Gina! I have seen that there are several versions of The One Year Bible. Which one would you suggest for someone whose mother tongue is not english, please??
    Thank you and thank you for your suggestions!

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    1. Could you look for a sample of the different versions online? Then you could decide which one you prefer.

      Can you find a version in your mother language?
      Gina

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  7. I've never tried reading the Bible in a year. Of all the devotional books I've read I like "To Live With Christ" by Bo Giertz. It's much more in depth and makes me "think". A Bible study/devotional. Bo Giertz wrote "The Hammer of God". He was an atheist before becoming a Christian

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  8. I have the One Year Bible and used it for several years. In 2013, I started using a journal while reading through the Hebrews. I learned so much by writing when I read that I have kept up with this method. While I don't "plan" which books to read when, I do pray the Lord will show me before the end of the book I'm reading and He leads in where to next.

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  9. We do our devotionals at night as a family, around 8p but that can vary. We have done that as far back as I remember. Everyone would be done with homework or chores. We gather at kitchen table with bibles . We have our dessert and tea etc at this time too. Now, every year I pick a different devotional book from the library, check it out for the year ( from our church/school library) . We have a wide variety of devotional books there. We do not necessarily read through the Bible each year, that is on each to do on own. At this we read the devotional entry, associated Bible readings and prayer. It is the only way I know to end the day that God gave us and prepare for the next.

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    1. Want to add since I wrote this at 3 am...couldn't sleep so was writing on the kindle in the dark bedroom, sitting in rocker. Now I have my books handy . We are using a shorter older book at the moment WHAT IS THE FATHER LIKE? by W. Phillip Keller 1996. It's a "look at how God cares for his children". There are the two of us plus our youngest daughter (in college) . Also from Christmas to Easter this year we have my husband's older brother who is developmentally disabled. I bring children's books for him. He has been using BIG THOUGHTS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE by Kenneth Taylor 1983. It's an alphabet book with a short rhyme, questions to ask and answer and a Bible verse, for each letter. We were up to R tonight....sometimes he likes to repeat a letter.

      My husband is very Bible learned. He spends at least an hour a day in reading and study. He is self employed and very disciplined . His family was Amish until he was 16.

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  10. I am trying to be more disciplined with my devotional time by doing some personal journaling alongside my Bible-reading. This is something I have done in the past, but I had fallen out of practice and stopped taking the time for it. I find that forcing myself to write down a few thoughts or some inspirations from the chapter I've read helps to solidify it for me. Plus I have a written record to look back on, which I really like! I am also reading an inspirational book by Elisabeth Elliot called Twelve Baskets of Crumbs and that has been a blessing, too. I guess there's nothing like a new year to inspire one to press forward and upward!

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    1. I too have found that I gain so much more if I write down what I'm learning. Somehow it makes me pay better attention to what I'm reading. But it has been a long time since I did it regularly. Thanks for the idea.
      Gina

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  11. I've used the KJV Daily Devotional Bible in the past. You just read through the Bible once in a year with that Bible. I've also used a number of Bible reading plans. The one I'm using this year is an old one devised by Robert Murray McCheyne and it takes you through the entire Bible once, and twice through the New Testament and Psalms. Another really interesting way to read through the Bible is using a chronological Bible. I have read through the Reese Chronological Bible (KJV) several times and found that to be really great, but I wouldn't want to do it that way every year.

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  12. My prayer partner and I have been friends for about 30 years now, and have both read through the Bible, chronologically a few times now, in the course of our friendship journey. Everything in-between makes better sense after reading from Gen to Rev! We have chosen various Bible studies to go through together. It's great to have a partner, for accountability and for discussion. We both relish the discussion. We live on opposite coasts and our prayers, chats and Bible reading are by phone. We talk nearly every single day, early in the morning.

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    1. What a great idea! You both benefit by sharing your journey together. I wish more of us had relationships like that!
      Gina

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  13. This year I was really wanting to read through the Bible chronologically. I have been enjoying reading Job in the context of the early Old Testament timeframe, and I can't wait to read David's Psalms right in the midst of his trials from I and II Samuel etc. In the past I have tried printing out a page of directions for that, but this time I have an actual Bible that intersperses the appropriate texts - it is easier for me to follow! I have done other "read through the Bible in a year" plans, and if (when) I would miss days, I would just pick up where my bookmark left off... It would take me past the next New Year, but I enjoyed the continuity! Thanks for bringing up the discussion; what a good topic! - Suz

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    1. I have never tried a chronological Bible but I love the idea! Thanks for sharing!
      Gina

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  14. My husband and I are trying the Daily Bible reading calendar that our church puts out this year, by the end if the year you have read the OT once, NT twice Psalms twice and Proverbs 12 times. It is not as hard as I thought it would be and it is keeping us on a schedule (which we need). I will admit it is easier now that we are retired!

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  15. I know this is an older post, but I keep thinking about it and had to come back to tell you thanks. I really love a Bible reading plan like the One Year Bible, and in fact struggle to stay engaged and motivated in Scripture reading without it. But then I deal with significant pressure to "keep up" and (often) to "catch up"... a task that can look overwhelming. You are the first person I have heard suggest skipping. :) Thank you so much. You're right--the point is to get in the Word, not to impress ourselves, or God, or others. I found this freeing.

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