Saturday, May 1, 2010

Basic Bible Reading Plans

One of the simplest, but most effective ways to hold yourself accountable to effective study is with a simple Reading Plan that takes you through the Bible with a daily reading schedule. I have heard a number of testimonies from people who's lives have been changed and whose devotions have been given a jump start by a simple plan that they can follow to read God's word. Bible reading plans have become popular enough and widespread enough that many Bible publishers are including plans at the front or back of their Bibles (I believe the journaling Bibles and Noteworthy series both include this feature). This post will cover some simple plans that I've run into including one year plans to more intense 26 day plans. I hope to cover the basics here and save more complex Bible reading systems for later posts.

Deliberate People

Deliberate People is the ministry of Phil Joel, the former bass player for the group the Newsboys. He's pursuing his own ministry based around encouraging people to deliberately seek God. You can check out his ministry and look at his Bible reading plans at He began the ministry in part because journaling with a Bible reading plan and a deliberate strategy radically impacted his relationship with Jesus.

  • Twenty One: It takes 21 days to build or break a habit, this 21 day plan will get you started on reading, praying and journaling.

You can check out the full plan here.

  • 6 Month Plan: Deliberate People also features a six month plan to take you through the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. You can download the PDF from them or purchase one of their Deliberate People Journals. 
  • Full Year Plan: A simple plan to read the whole Bible in one year.

All of these plans include guides for prayer, reading, journaling and simple devotions, and are an excellent resource for all ages. The reading plans are laid out simply in a calendar format and feature check boxes next to each day.

The Discipleship Journal

The Discipleship Journal also offers a dynamic one-year reading plan, which can be purchased in a number of formats or downloaded for free here. The plan features four readings per day: two in the New Testament, two in the Old Testament, and features only 25 readings per month, which will give you extra days (Sundays) to catch up if you get behind. The Discipleship Journal plan comes reccomended by John Piper and Desiring God.

It is also set up in a calendar format and features checklists for each day.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne Reading Plan

One of the plans that comes the most highly reccomended is Robert Murray M'Cheyne's Bible Reading Plan and Calendar. features a whole plethora of options adopted by this famous puritan preacher.

Whole Bible in a year
Old Testament in a year
New Testament in a year
Old Testament in two years
Words of Jesus 4 times in a year
Whole Bible chronologically in a year
Whole Bible chronologically in a year #2
New Testament Letters 3 times in a year
New Testament & Proverbs twice, Psalms once in a year
New Testament & Psalms twice, rest of Bible once in a year
Proverbs in a month
Gospels in a month
Psalms in a month
Online or by email.
The main, one year plan, has a simple, Calendar layout, but no checklists. You can find this plan a number of places on the web.

Local Church Publishers

Local Church Publishers is a nonprofit Bible publishing ministry which features calfskin, handsewn bindings for remarkably low cost. They are a KJV only ministry, and the KJV is clearly a strict part of their theology, which I in no way condone or support, though I like the KJV. You can use the plans for whichever version you prefer. They have created a number of useful plans and a simple checklist for creating your own plan. You can find all their resources here.

  • One Year 

  • 4 Month Plan: Read the Bible through three times per year.

  • 60 Day Plan: Read the Bible in 2 Months.

  • 30 Day Plan: Feeling Ambitious? Read through the whole Bible in a month.

SermonIndex 26 Day Plan advocates an intense 26 day reading plan, which goes through the entire Bible. It's intended to take 1-2 hours each day: 30-50 Chapters. It seems like it should take much more than 1-2 hours, but if you read about one chapter every few minutes, it should average out. My guess is that for most people it will take more than 2 hours even if you are reading straight through without pausing for thought. I've actually tried this plan, though it was during school, and I only was able to keep up for 14 days. Still it feels great to be in the Word that much each day. You can get the plan here. Notice the convicting quote by R.C. Sproul.

Create Your Own Plan

Last but certainly not least, you can create your own plan. I admit that this is largely what I do, and works well as long as you can keep yourself accountable. Right now I'm reading through the New Testament according to author (I started out with John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation and I'll end with the Pauline Epistles). Local Church Publishers has put out a simple checklist that can help you make your own plan.

I hope these resources are a blessing. Feel free to comment and let me know what plan you use. I'll keep posting plans as I find new or unique ones, and I've already got plans to post about more complex plans.


  1. So thankful for your oustanding resources, may God extend your teritoty like He did for Jabez may He bless everything that you do as you encourage all of us to commune with Christ in a practical way!
    Be blessed.

  2. With God's grace I will be completing the 26 day reading plan. Thank you, for posting it. I scoured the internet trying to find a month long plan. God has impressed on me the need to read through the Bible in a more intensive way in a shorter span of time so that I can greater perspective of His overall plan.

  3. Awesome commitment! I read through the Old Testament Readings on the 26 day plan this summer and was greatly blessed. It feels good to be in the word that long everyday. I'm glad the resources are being used.

  4. Thank you so much for this project.. It is very useful. My church friends and I have just renewed our commitment to read the whole bible. But I want more than just a schedule. I need also some guiding questions to lead us in every chapter that we read because I and my friend want to discuss the chapters we read in a week every Wednesday meeting.If you have such kind of project, would you share it with me? I'll be very thankful for it.

    God bless you!

    1. Thanks for the encouraging words. There are a number of places you can find Bible Studies through the whole Bible. There are study Bibles that have guiding questions. I don't know that I have a project with specific questions tailored to each chapter. But the DBS Bible Study post ( I just wrote is a good approach for approaching the whole text as is Reading the Bible through the Jesus Lens and Reading the Bible for All its Worth by Gordon Fee. Those two books go through each book of the Bible with study questions. Blessings.


  6. thanks for the info. God bless you

  7. Thank you for the information. I would like to use the one year bible reading plan but when I click on the link it tells me the page I am looking for is no longer there. :(