Bible reading plans for the new year


The New Year is upon us and, although you can start following a reading plan at any time of the year, now is an excellent time to start! The big decision, though, is which plan? And how much time will it take?

For some of us, reading the whole Bible in a year is a daunting prospect.

  • Some of us are slow readers . . . help!
  • Some of us are really, really busy.
  • Some of us spend a lot of time in the car, commuting.

According to Bible Gateway, “By the end of February, reading plan traffic drops by one-third from January’s overall levels, and by the end of May, it drops by nearly one-half.”

In order to avoid failure, choose the reading plan that best suits your unique needs.

There is a plan to suit everyone

This is the beauty of these reading plans (and there are many more than we have listed here)—that there is a plan to suit everyone.

  • You can take it as fast or as slowly as you like.
  • You can choose a plan for only for 5 days a week, giving you the weekends to catch up.
  • You can read the Bible on your phone, tablet or kindle, taking advantage of those free minutes you get when waiting in queues, etc.
  • You can listen to an audio version as you commute to work or fetch the children from school every day.
  • You can take as long as you like to get through the whole Bible—1 year, 2 years, 3 years—so there’s really no excuse.

How long does it take to read the whole Bible?

Answers to this question vary from 54 to 125 hours. The Bible is about 800,000 words long and the average person reads 250-300 words per minute, so it would take about 3,200 minutes or 54 hours. It takes just 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible through “at pulpit rate,” and aloud!

  • This fascinating YouTube clip discusses how long it takes to read the Bible.
  • J.A. Medders has an interesting graphic on how long it takes to read each book of the Bible.

Some Bible reading plans for you to consider:

1. 5 x 5 x 5 Bible Reading Plan

5 minutes a day, 5 days a week (weekends free or for catch-up), 5 ways to dig deeper. This is a great place to start if you’re not currently reading the bible, as it’s do-able. This reading plan will take you through all 260 chapters of the New Testament, one chapter per day. The gospels are read throughout the year to keep the story of Jesus fresh all year.

2. Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway has some great reading plans, including reading the Bible in 2 years, or just the New Testament in a year. What’s also really nice, is that you can also choose a devotional to go with it, and they will send your readings to your inbox every day. How convenient is that!

3. Paul’s Life & Writings – 10 Week Bible Reading Plan

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you may like to try this 5 days a week, 10 week reading plan which chronologically melds Paul’s life and ministry with his letters.

4. Olive Tree Bible Study App

If you prefer gadgets to books, Olive Tree has apps for Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Mac and Windows. Choose a Bible reading plan on topics such as marriage and forgiveness, or focus on books of the Bible and specific people found in scripture. Find a plan that fits your schedule with options from five days to as long as a year.

5. MyBible Social App

Read the Bible together with your friends anywhere! Plenty of Bible reading plans to choose from here, and also Spurgeon’s Morning Devotions. For iPhones and iPads.

6. Read the Bible Chronologically

Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically, and see the big picture, and how all the little pieces fit in. Bible Gateway has a plan for this and you can also download a PDF here or here. For those of you really familiar with the Bible, this would be a new take on some of the content and quite appealing to try.

7. Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

Are you up for a challenge?

Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the Old Testament history and prophetic books about one and a half times.

You can download the free document here, and and read Tim Challies interesting article about this reading system here.

8. The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers

The title says it all (guilty feeling of empathy here). It takes away the pressure—take as long as you like. You get variety each week by alternating genres every day. Here’s the basic idea:

Sundays: Poetry
Mondays: Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy)
Tuesdays: Old Testament history
Wednesdays: Old Testament history
Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
Fridays: New Testament history
Saturdays: New Testament letters

9. Read Through the Bible on Your Own

When you’ve tried Bible reading plans, but never finished reading the Bible through . . .

Here is the perfect plan for you, because all you have to do is download this plan from Rachel Wojo and just cross off the chapters as you read them, then choose a passage you haven’t read, and before you know it, you’ll have completed the whole Bible, in your own time, without any stress.

The cool thing is that you don’t have to read in any particular order at all. If you want to follow a particular order, you certainly can. But you don’t have to. This way if you get interested in a particular book, you just keep going! – Rachel Wojo

10. The One Year Bible

I, personally, have found that the easiest thing to do is to read a One Year Bible where each day’s reading is set out for you (day and month only, so you can jump in any time). There is an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a passage from the Psalms each day. You can buy this Bible in a few versions and it’s available on Kindle.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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