How to read the entire Bible

Have you ever thought about reading through the entire Bible? Maybe you started reading it from the beginning, but your enthusiasm petered out after a few weeks. Or maybe one look at the intimidating size of the family Bible was enough to scare you away.

Fortunately, there are some good tools here in the community to help you conquer “Leviticus burnout.”

If you start your Bible-reading project with a plan, you’re much more likely to stick with it. We’ve rounded up some solid reading plans to help you get through the entire Bible in the way that works best for you.

New to the Bible?
If you’re not sure where to start and aren’t quite sure that you want to commit to reading the entire Bible, there are three shorter reading plans to start with:

  • A Bible Reading Guide for New Christians—this 31-day reading plan from the Into Thy Word ministry doesn’t cover the entire Bible, but touches on the stories and passages that are critical to understanding the Bible and the basics of the Christian faith.
  • Into Thy Word also has a 31-day ‘refresher course’ Bible reading plan for Christians who want to be reminded of the core truths of their faith.
  • The 61-day survey reading plan at the Bible Gateway is similar to the above plans in that it hits on all the basics of the Bible and Christianity, but covers two months and a bit more territory than the previous two plans.

Daily, cover-to-cover reading plans
Several ministries offer reading plans that start with Genesis and go all the way through Revelation in a year:

  • A comprehensive reading plan at the Bible Gateway, taken from Sanford Communications’ book How to Read Your Bible. Each passage is linked to the online Bible text, so this one is ideal if you want to do your Bible reading online.
  • The Year of the Bible has a slick 365-day reading plan (PDF format) that fits on one page—ideal for printing out and keeping near your desk or on the fridge! There’s a two-page version as well, in case the text on the first version is a bit too small.

Weekly reading guide

  • This weekly reading guide covers the same ground as the 365-day guides above, but groups up your readings by week, if you prefer to read the passages over the course of a week instead of each day.

Other reading plans: how do you want to read the Bible?
The Bible, of course, is not like most other books—it’s not written like a novel and sometimes it’s easier not to read it from cover to cover. These alternate reading guides take you through the entire Bible, but have shuffled the reading around a bit both to make it easier on you and to focus on particular themes:

  • Biographical reading plan: this reading plans focuses on each of the major characters of the Bible in turn—think of it as a Who’s Who of the Bible. From Adam to Zechariah, you’ll get to know them and see their significance in the Gospel story.
  • Chronological reading plan: want to read the Bible in the order in which the events occurred? This plan makes for a more history-focused reading. On a similar note, a historical reading plan lets you read through the books of the Bible in the order in which they were written.
  • The new before the old, or vice versa: if you want to read the New Testament and then the Old Testament, has guides to help you do that. You can also read a mixture of readings from the Old and New Testament each day by following Back to the Bible‘s Old and New Testaments together or blended reading plans. These plans might be a good pick if you’re really struggling to get through the difficult first several books of the Old Testament.

Phew! That’s a lot of reading plans, and believe it or not, those are just some of the plans available from community ministries. We’ll leave the others to explore in a future post. Hopefully there’s a plan here that fits your style—reading through the entire Bible is an incredibly rewarding spiritual experience and is one of the best ways to grow in your knowledge of God and the Christian faith. (And even if you’re not a Christian, there’s certainly value in getting to know the world’s most popular book!)

To those who have decided to read the Bible in its entirety, we salute you. Good luck!

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