Crossroads Church | Sheboygan, WI | Manitowoc, WI

Reading Plans

It’s easy to look at the Bible and not know where to start.  A reading plan is a powerful tool that helps you work through Scripture systematically.  There are many different types of reading plans.  Here are some thoughts to help you pick a plan that’s right for you.

The most basic reading plan is to start in the beginning of the Bible (Genesis), read a bit, and pick up the next day wherever you left off.  All you need for this plan is a bookmark.  But if you’re brand new to reading the Bible, the best place to start is the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).  These four books record four different perspectives of Jesus’ life and ministry from different eyewitnesses.  Other plans help incorporate more variety to keep your reading engaging.  And there are hundreds of custom plans tailored to specific issues that you can find on the youversion bible app.

Sample Plans

How much should I read each day?

How much you read depends on your goal.  Sometimes you’ll want to read through a large section of Scripture quickly.  You might read through Romans in one sitting.  You won’t get the details and you won’t be able to investigate your questions, you’re just getting a sense for the overall flow of the letter.  Other times you’ll go much more slowly.  A chapter a day is a good pace for many people.  With 1,189 chapters in the Bible you can read through the whole Bible in 3 years and 3 months by reading a chapter a day.  Or, to read through the whole Bible in a year, you’d have to average 3.25 chapters a day.

But the goal shouldn’t be to cover X number of chapters a day.  Your goal should be to meet with God and hear from him.  That might happen after a single verse or a single story.  A good rule of thumb is to read until something really sticks out to you.  Maybe its something that doesn’t make sense.  Maybe its something that relates to what you’re going through.  Maybe its something you find interesting.  When you find that spot, stop and go deeper at that point to understand what God might want to say to you.

How to keep it interesting

One of the best ways to keep a reading plan engaging is to incorporate variety by reading from different places in the Bible at the same time.  This allows you to start seeing the connections between the different books of the Bible.  A simple version of this plan is to read a chapter a day from the Old and New Testaments.  So on day one, you would read Genesis 1 and Matthew 1.  You’ll repeat the New Testament more than the Old Testament on this plan since there are fewer chapters in the New Testament.  But this provides a good emphasis for the Christian.

Another variation you could try is reading an Old Testament chapter, a New Testament chapter and a Psalm or chapter of Proverbs.

At the more complicated end of this approach is the Professor Grant Horner plan which divides the Bible into 10 sections for daily reading.

A Word about Through the Bible in a Year Plans

Reading through the entire Bible is a great goal for every new Christian.  Hopefully, by the time our lives are over, we’ve read through the Bible many times.  One way many people accomplish this is by using a Through the Bible in a Year plan.  These plans require 3-4 chapters a day of reading and are manageable for most people.  They do require discipline to complete over a full year.  But it’s a very worthwhile goal.

The danger of Bible in a year plans is they can turn your daily time with God into something you have to do, a box you have to check.  When you start to fall behind because life happens, you can feel pressure to catch up or pressure to give up.  Remember, the goal is always to meet with God.  Getting through the Bible in a year should always be a secondary goal.  Don’t sacrifice the primary goal so you can mindlessly check off your chapters for the day.  If you find yourself falling into this approach, scrap the plan, and focus on a smaller amount of Scripture that you really try to understand.

Another danger of the Bible in a year approach is you may not have time to investigate the things you have questions about.  When God is speaking to you from a text or when something really doesn’t make sense, you may feel pressure to go right past it because you have to finish your daily reading.  Always be willing to throw the reading schedule aside to focus on what God wants to say to you right now.

A combination of a plan to get through the whole Bible systematically, with a flexible timeline that says if this doesn’t happen in a year that’s fine, because my real goal is to hear from God daily is the best approach.  Try some different plans and see what works for you!

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Crossroads Community Church, with campuses in both Sheboygan and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, exists to help people connect with God and others at the crossroads of life.

Crossroads Community Church

Sheboygan Campus | P: 920-694-1552 [email protected]

Manitowoc Campus | P: 920-663-2960 [email protected]


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