When I first became a Christian and wanted
to read the Bible, I was told about this little form called "A
Bible in a year" where you could check off the chapters as
you read, and if you followed the plan, you could read the entire
Bible in a year. I was thrilled at first, but then started feeling
very pressured, and my Bible reading time became more about checking
off that box than it was connecting with God.
So I started using the "Bible in
Three Years" plan. That gave me more time to allow the Holy
Spirit to work in my heart as I read, but I often found upwards
of a couple of weeks or more before my "plan" resulted
in any New Testament readings. If you've never compared the thickness
of the Old Testament with that of the New Testament, try it. I realized
that with the traditional Bible reading programs, that was the same
percentage of my Bible reading time I was spending on each of the
Testaments. As a Christian, I want the bulk of my Bible reading
time to be in the New Testament, but since I loved the Old Testament
as well, I didn't want to leave it out entirely.
So, I decided to develop my own plan. What follows
is the result of my desire to have more control over my Bible reading.
The first thing you'll notice is that there
are no check-boxes, and no dates. It's just a listing to allow you
to read methodically, but without the pressure of having to meet
some man-made deadline. I heard someone once say, "I would
rather you read and applied to your life a single verse from Scripture,
than memorize the entire Bible cover to cover and get nothing out
of it." I read every day (pretty much), but I'm not legalistic
about it, and I don't try to meet deadlines. The Holy Spirit is
completely in charge of what I read quickly and what I camp on.
It's not a race, and you're not trying to impress
anybody. You are trying to learn about, connect with, fall in love
with, and be changed by the Holy God, Creator of the Universe. Slow
down and let Him be in charge.
Both of the following plans are arranged in
such a way that, if you read one line per day, you will get through
the entire plan in three years. I have mine in my Palm Pilot (Doc
to Go), in 100-line chunks, so I can 'Bold' what I've read and keep
a running tally of my progress. As I said, I am not legalistic about
reading "a line a day." I use my plan to keep myself structured
and organized, but not rigid. I guarantee I won't get through it
all in three years, but I'm okay with that. Every day is filled
with treasures from God, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
1) For my Standard
Bible Reading Plan,
click here. This is a very doable, practical Bible-reading program
spread out over a three-year period. The Old Testament is in standard
Bible order, Proverbs are interspersed in order, Psalms are random,
and the New Testament is organized, to some degree, so that you
get a large book, then a small book, then another large book, to
break up the reading patterns. Over those three years, you will
read the New Testament twice a year, the Old Testament (History
and Prophets) one time through, Proverbs three times a year, and
Psalms once a year. With a normal, relaxed reading style, it will
take approx one-half hour per day. The file is a 30-page Adobe PDF
file (64kb). See the graphic below.
2) For a Chronological Bible Reading Plan,
It is still a three year plan, and you will still read the New Testament
every six months and Psalms and Proverbs as in the standard plan.
The difference, however, is that, to the degree this information
is knowable, the books of both Testaments are arranged in chronological
order. Psalms and Proverbs are listed in a column next to the books
where they would have been written (yielding one reading of them
through the plan), and also listed in a separate column repeated
(to yield additional readings throughout the plan). The book order
is derived from http://www.bibleplan.org,
as well as my Bible, the New Inductive Study Bible (New American
Standard Bible). The chart below illustrates graphically how this
works (does not include the chronological psalms and proverbs).
The plans are 27-30 pages long, but aren't as
complicated as they might seem. I recommend you print only one page
at a time and keep it as a bookmark in your Bible. Draw a line through
what you read as you go. If you would rather have the Microsoft
Excel .xls version to do this electronically, let me know.