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Two Christian-centered Bible reading plans

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, click here. 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.



  To read the PDF file, you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already have this software loaded onto your computer, click here to jump to the download site for this software. Once you've successfully downloaded and installed the Adobe Acrobat Reader, then you can return to this page to read and/or download the PDF file.  Return to top of page.
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Sue H. McHenry, LCSW-C
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