At the beginning of the year most people decide it’s time to make a change to their lifestyle. Sometimes it’s deciding to eat healthier, workout, read one book a month… But if you’re like me, as a Christian, one of my hopes is to spend more time reading the Bible. This task can be daunting for many, after all there are dozens and dozens of reading plans to choose from. Some short, long, chronological, the options are endless. I’ve tried several and have come up with my top 3 reading plans that I find to be the best at keeping you on track and engaged with the Scriptures. But first let’s discuss the “why” to following a reading plan.
Picking and sticking with a reading plan helps hold you accountable. There’s no guess work, you see what passages you are supposed to read and you read it. It’s that simple! Otherwise, every morning you are faced with the question, “What should I read?” I find it more effective because it takes the worry out of what you will read that day and where you will go next. It actually helps me look forward to the next day of Scripture reading. If you’re in a small group, see if they would like to join you in picking a reading plan and beginning the journey. Mallory and I follow the same plan and it helps us stay consistent.
Below are my top 3, with pros and cons for each one:
- Church at the Cross Daily Readings (CATC) by JR Vassar. This is a new plan that I began following December 1st and I love it for several reasons. First, you get an Old Testament (OT), Psalm, and New Testament (NT) reading every day, and it’s sensitive to the Church calendar. The readings take you anywhere between 15-30mins a day, depending on your schedule. If you desire to, you can even do the OT reading in the morning, your Psalm over lunch, and your NT reading before you go to bed. If I find I have extra time, I love to pray through the Psalm of the day. Also, it’s a 2-year plan, and in that 2-year span you will have read the NT six times, the OT one time, and the Psalms twice. It’s repetitive in a good way that I’ve grown to love. Finally, every seventh day is a Reflection/Make-up Day allowing you to catch up where you left off or to spend the day in prayer.
- Pros: readings that fit easily into your schedule, sensitive to the Church calendar, allows you to catch up if needed, has an OT, Psalm, and NT reading every day, comes in bookmarks or you can sign up for the daily email
- Con: long term reading plan, may be too slow moving for some
- The One Year Chronological Bible NIV is a great plan for those who love reading the entire Bible in a year. You begin on January 1st (or whatever day you receive the Bible) and you follow the Biblical story along chronologically. It’s a great plan that you can follow year after year. The readings are slightly longer than the CATC Daily Reading plan, but nonetheless manageable. You will read through the entire Bible in a year. If you’d like more of a devotional chronological plan the Daily Bible by F. LaGard Smith is also a winner.
- Pros: readings that fit easily into your schedule, if you buy the actual Bible (linked above!) you just have to open the Bible to the day of the year and boom you’re reading, read through the bible chronologically in a year
- Cons: slow moving, getting through some of the OT books can feel dry and cause burnout
- The Bible in 90 Days is a great reading plan for those people who have lots of free time and like to cruise through the Bible. It’s not easy but it keeps you motivated as you read through the Bible. I did this plan when I was in college and loved the fast paced reading because it helped me understand the big picture of the Bible better. You have to be disciplined, but is extremely rewarding when you complete it.
- Pros: fast paced, you could read through the Bible 4 times in a year if you were able to follow it for that long! helps you understand the “big picture” of the Bible, the long periods of time in the Word can be fruitful
- Cons: enormous daily time requirement, depending on your reading speed expect to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour reading daily, easy to get behind and stay behind
Those are my Top 3 reading plans. Now, go grab your Bible and dive in!