The Bible is clear. We should be reading God’s Word, studying it, memorizing it, and thinking about (meditating on) it.
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
See also Psalm 119.
Life is busy. How are we supposed to fit in daily Bible reading? To be honest, it takes commitment. It requires making time with the Lord a priority.
The main thing is to read at least a little Scripture every day. Priscilla Shirer says that when her boys were small, she posted Bible verses in the places where she spent the most time: over the kitchen sink, over the changing table, etc. Then she could read them and meditate on them throughout the day.
Find what works for you.
There are several Bible reading plans. The current trend is to read the entire Bible in one year. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my favorite. I get behind schedule and then stress out because it takes SO MUCH to catch up again. No thanks.
So what plan do I use?
I use a variation of Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System. He advocates reading 10 chapters per day. I find it hard to set aside that much time, so I’ve modified it to be 2-4 chapters per day. That’s less than the typical read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan.
Here’s how it works.
The Bible is divided up into 10 lists of books (roughly by division):
- Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (the Gospels)
- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (the Law)
- Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews (what I call the longer letters)
- 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John, Jude, Revelation (what I call the shorter letters)
- Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Wisdom literature, minus Psalms & Proverbs)
- Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (OT History)
- Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Major & Minor Prophets)
- Acts (NT History)
I like several things about this approach.
- I like to mix up Old and New Testament in the same reading time.
- This approach fosters a complete view of Scripture, allowing one to see themes and imagery repeated throughout the Scriptures. (See The Bible Tells One Big Story.)
- I agree with Dr. Horner that we should read through Proverbs and Acts more often.
- I don’t get bored, stuck in repetitive Leviticus or judgmental prophets for months on end.
- There are no dates on the calendar to follow, so I never get behind. It’s an ongoing reading plan that cycles so I can go at any pace.
How do I modify this 10-chapter system?
I’ve taken the ten lists and put them into five couplets:
- Lists 2 & 3 (Law & the longer letters)
- Lists 8 & 10 (OT History & NT History)
- Lists 6 & 7 (Psalms & Proverbs)
- Lists 4 & 5 (the other books of Wisdom & the shorter letters)
- Lists 9 & 1 (the Prophets & the Gospels)
Each day I read one or two couplets.
I’ve been doing this for a while now and it works pretty well. If I need more time in Scripture that morning, I just add the next couplet. Right now I’m reading Song of Songs and Revelation together. I often need more after those odd books. If I am interrupted and only get one chapter read, no problem. I either read the other chapter later in the day or skip it until the next time I read that couplet. It means I’m a chapter further in one list, but that doesn’t matter.
I don’t use the supplied bookmarks in my Bible since I often listen to the audio Bible while I read along. That’s just easier to do on my phone. So, I downloaded a customizable checklist app to track where I am on each list. It works great!
Is this right for you?
I can’t answer that question. I can say this: Keep searching until you find a Bible reading plan that works for you. Don’t give up! Spending time in the Word and prayer every day is important. It’s worth the effort.
What Bible reading plan do you use? What do you like about it? What makes it challenging? Let me know in the comments below.