My Plan for Reading the Bible This Year

In years past, my usual mode for reading the Bible through every year involved starting in Genesis and reading right through to Revelation. I estimated that about four chapters per day would get me through in under a year’s time. The method worked reasonably well, but it wasn’t without its problems. Sometimes I would miss a day (or days) and get behind, and I had no way to keep up with my progress. I needed a schedule so that I could keep myself accountable for finishing in a year.

In 2009, therefore, I did something I had never done before. I followed a Bible reading plan. I adopted Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Calendar for Daily Readings. It provided the schedule that I needed. It also outlined daily readings from different sections of the Bible. On any given day, I would be reading something from an Old Testament narrative, something from the prophets, and something from the New Testament. Although this plan provided the accountability that I needed, I found it difficult to be reading from three to four different biblical books every day. I know that not everyone is like me, but that approach lacked the focus that my brain requires. I missed reading the Bible in its canonical arrangement and focusing on one book at a time. I wished for a schedule that would go from Genesis to Revelation in canonical order.

So last year, I created a plan that does just that, and I would like to share it with you. This plan calls for reading all the books of the Bible in canonical order in one year. Each day’s reading is about 3-4 chapters in length, with the exception of the Psalms (which are covered in 5 chapters per day). The idea is to read longer chapters in groups of three (e.g., Pentateuchal narratives, Gospels) and shorter chapters in groups of four. There are 7 “catch-up” days scattered throughout the calendar. You can download the calendar below.

WORD: 2011 Bible Reading Plan

PDF: 2011 Bible Reading Plan

Christians need the Bible like humans need water. The Bible is our life-blood. The Lord Jesus plans to perfect His people by means of His word. That is why He prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Since the Bible is the word of God written, our progress in sanctification relies on our contact with the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. Every Christian, therefore, should make it a priority to master this book.

I want to encourage you to commit to reading the entire Bible this year. It may seem a daunting task at first. But it really isn’t. If you will make a plan and stick to it, then you can do it. I am a pretty slow reader, and even I can do it. So I know that you can too.

If you find this plan helpful, I hope you’ll use it. In any case, I hope you will commit to reading the Bible all the way through this year. It will be a blessing to you if you do.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.” -Psalm 119:9

“When you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” -1 Thessalonians 2:13

9 Responses to My Plan for Reading the Bible This Year

  1. mark December 28, 2010 at 12:35 am #

    Not a huge fan of ‘plans’, :-), but this sounds good Dr. Burk. Thank you for sharing! May the Lord bless your ministry efforts in 2011!

  2. Erik December 28, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    “Christians need the Bible like humans need water. The Bible is our life-blood.”

    Well said Denny.

    Thanks for the reading plans. Looking forward to diggin’ into to them.

  3. Brian Krieger December 28, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Yes, very well said, Dr. Burk. Thanks also for the resource/plan. I believe that I am going to do a chronological in 2011. Some other plans for those that might be interested (if it’s alright, Dr. Burk):

    Discipleship Journal: http://www.navpress.com/images/pdfs/9781576839744.pdf

    One Year Bible Online: http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/index.html (several plans)

    The bible straight through: http://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/reading.cgi?plan=straight&ver=NAS

    Chronological: http://www.ewordtoday.com/year/49/cjan01.htm (several other plans)

    Biblegateway: http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/readingplans/ (several plans)

    ESV reading plans: http://www.esv.org/biblereadingplans (several plans)

    Microsoft even has a one note template for Bible in a year! http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/TC011487731033.aspx

  4. Ken December 28, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Ligonier’s “TableTalk” magazine has a Bible-in-a-year program connected to its daily devotional readings. This plan helped me complete the readings twice through now.

  5. Larry Geiger December 28, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    I have been reading the NIV Bible in Chronological Order, by F. LaGard Smith. I like it for reading through. It’s not great for study. Hard to find things sometimes. Good for regular reading. I haven’t made it all the way through in a year yet.

  6. Donald Johnson December 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    The plan you posted has an advantage of simplicity.

    A possible disadvantage is that sometimes chapter divisions are not aligned with pericopes, so that the Bible’s natural teaching units can end up being chopped up, leading to misunderstanding.

    What I would like to see is a plan tied to pericopes. The reading plan for “The Books of the Bible” does this, but is tied to that publication, so using it with another is made difficult.

  7. Scott December 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    One of the biggest convictions I’ve had recently is how low my familiarity with the Bible is. Thanks for putting together these plans, I am going to attempt to use them to solve that problem.

  8. Rick December 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

    I recently ran across “Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System”. It is maybe the most unique reading plan I have come across, and has the advantage of never becoming repetitive, mundane, or stale as you will always be reading different parts of Scripture together. Do a quick search and you can find links to it in several places quickly.

  9. Roy December 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    @Donald
    @Rick
    I put together a plan adapted from:
    – Dr. Grant’s system
    – ESV Literary Study Bible

    It eschews the chapter breaks where necessary. You can access the files here:
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17646567/HornerLiterary.zip

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