Reading the Bible and Finding a Plan that is Right for You

As I mentioned in the video, my favorite plan for reading God’s Word is the One-Year Bible. You can find a One Year Bible at any bookstore or online store or you can get it as an e-book. It breaks the Bible down into dated, daily readings of an Old Testament passage, a New Testament Passage, a Psalm, and a Proverb. Some years I read the Bible through in a year, while other years I choose to read through the Old Testament in one year and the next year I read through the New Testament, along with Psalms and Proverbs. There is also the One Year Chronological Bible, which gives you daily readings in the order that they were written. Also, most Study Bibles include a plan to read the Bible through in a year.

Some Bible teachers suggest starting with the Gospel of John as a good introduction to who Jesus is and God’s redemptive plan. Author and pastor R.C. Sproul offers a pattern for people who have never read the Bible. He suggests the following:

The Old Testament overview:

  • Genesis (the history of Creation, the fall, and God’s covenantal dealings with the patriarchs)
  • Exodus (the history of Israel’s liberation and formation as a nation)
  • Joshua (the history of the military conquest of the Promised Land)
  • Judges (Israel’s transition from a tribal federation to a monarchy)
  • 1 Samuel (Israel’s emerging monarchy under Saul and David)
  • 2 Samuel (David’s reign)
  • 1 Kings (Solomon and the divided kingdom)
  • 2 Kings (the fall of Israel)
  • Ezra (the Israelites’ return from exile)
  • Nehemiah (the restoration of Jerusalem)
  • Amos and Hosea (examples of minor prophets)
  • Jeremiah (an example of a major prophet)
  • Ecclesiastes (Wisdom Literature)
  • Psalms and Proverbs (Hebrew poetry)

The New Testament overview:

  • The Gospel of Luke (the life of Jesus)
  • Acts (the early church)
  • Ephesians (an introduction to the teaching of Paul)
  • 1 Corinthians (life in the church)
  • 1 Peter (an introduction to Peter)
  • 1 Timothy (an introduction to the Pastoral Epistles)
  • Hebrews (Christology)
  • Romans (Paul’s theology)

Sproul adds, “By reading these books, a student can get a basic feel for and understanding of the scope of the Bible without getting bogged down in the more difficult sections. From there, he or she can fill in the gaps to complete the reading of the entire Bible.”(\

Scripture Union is a ministry that offers tools to help both adults and children read, know, and love God’s Word. They offer an Essential 100 Challenge (E100) as a way to read through the essential passages in Scripture. The E100 Challenge is based on 100 carefully selected short Bible passages, 50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New. The plan helps you get the big picture of the Bible and also helps you keep up with your progress. They offer a little pocket-sized planner listing the scriptures to read and providing a punch card so you can chart your progress. This is a great plan to do as a family or with other individuals. You can get the E100 planner at

Another tremendous resource for reading the Bible is (You Version) that offers a Bible app for your phone, iPod, tablet, or computer. You may already have their app, but did you know they offer reading plans as well? If you go to the “Plans” link on their menu, you will find a variety of ways to read the Bible. The cool thing is, the app keeps you informed on your progress and even gives you reminders if you are falling behind. You can choose a reading plan under the headings of Devotional, Topical, Partial Bible, Whole Bible, Youth, and Family, and You Version is constantly featuring new plans. The point is to find a plan that works for you. There are no perfect formulas for reading God’s Word; the important thing is simply to do it.

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