Have you ever gotten jazzed up to read the Bible in a year? Ever bought one of those “Through-the-Bible-In-A-Year” Bibles that break it up into 365 daily readings that run straight through from Genesis to Revelation? I have. In fact, I think I have a few of them around here.
But I never liked those plans. I wanted to, I really did. It seemed like a lot of people I knew were reading the Bible that way and they were doing fine. But not me. By the time I got into the second half of Exodus, I was just bored. And halfway through the next book, Leviticus, I was done. In fact that’s where most of these 1 year plans die– Leviticus.
Now, lest you think I’m a complete heathen, it’s not that I don’t love the Bible. I do. Deeply. It’s not that I don’t think Exodus or Leviticus is important in the canon of Scripture. It’s that these plans are tedious and they leave many people discouraged.
So, I’m going to give you three options that I have used that I have found to be a far more engaging way of reading the Bible devotionally. I’ve broken them down into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.
New Testament Focus (Beginner): If you are just starting out with the discipline of reading Scripture, I’d suggest you start with Matthew and Romans. Read 1 chapter a day of Mathew, and then read one chapter a day starting with Romans. Think of the Gospels and Acts as a self-contained whole so that you’re always reading from them. Therefore after reading Mathew through Acts, you start again with Matthew. In the meantime, once you finish Romans, you go on to 1 Corinthians and continue until you finish Revelation. So when you finish you will have read the Gospels and Acts several times and the entire rest of the New Testament.
The Daily Office Calendar (Intermediate): This is a historic way of reading the Bible that takes you through the Bible (most of it) on a two-year cycle. The plan from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer gives you an Old Testament reading, a reading from the Psalms, a New Testament and Gospel lesson each day. There are a couple of lectionaries (schedules of readings) possible, but I suggest this one which you can read online through the ESV website. Check it out here >>> You can also find it in the back of the Book of Common Prayer (1979) or on this app >>> If you’re up for it, I’d suggest integrating this with praying the Daily Office, which you can do online here >>>
The McCheyne Plan (Advanced): If you would like to read through the Bible in a year, I’d highly suggest the McCheyene plan. It actually takes you through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the Old Testament once each year. It was developed by Robert Murray McCheyne, a Scottish minister, in the 1840’s. It is unique in that it begins with the 4 great beginnings of Scripture, Genesis 1 (Creation), Ezra 1 (Return from Exile), Matthew 1 (The Coming of Christ) and Acts 1 (The beginning of the Church). This keeps you moving through the Scriptures and avoids getting you bogged down in one section for an extended period of time.
So there are three options. It’s not important what plan you choose (or if you choose another one), it’s just important to pick one that works for you and be disciplined about doing it. Go for it!