Bible Reading Plans

from Justin Taylor by Justin Taylor

There are lots of ways to read the Bible in a year, and I won’t try to capture all of them. But here are numerous options, in no particular order. You may want to look through it and see what you think would work best for you.

First off, if you’re not persuaded that having a plan is necessary and biblical in some sense, then here’s a helpful piece from John Piper, written in 1984.

Stephen Witmer has a helpful introduction—on the weaknesses of typical plans and some advice on reading the Bible together with others—as well as offering his own new two-year plan.

George Guthrie has a very helpful Read the Bible for Life Chronological Bible Reading Plan. (I’ll have more to say later about Guthrie’s new book, Read the Bible for Life, and the church-wide campaign to promote biblical literacy. It’s really worth picking up.)

The Gospel Coalition’s For the Love of God Blog takes you through the M’Cheyne reading plan, with a meditation each day by D. A. Carson related to one of the readings.

The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers (Pastor Andy Perry explains the plan and why he recommends it.)

Before I mention some of the ESV plans, here are a few other options that aren’t one-year-plans per se:

Don Whitney has a simple but surprisingly effective tool: A Bible Reading Record. It’s a list of every chapter in the Bible, and you can check them off as you read them at whatever pace you want.

For the highly motivated and disciplined, Grant Horner’s plan has you reading each day a chapter from ten different places in the Bible. (Bob Kauflin read the whole Bible this way in five and a half months and explains why he likes this system a lot.)

Joe Carter and Fred Sanders explain James Gray’s method of “How to Master the English Bible.” My pastor, David Sunday, told me that “the plan they recommend is, from my vantage point, the most productive way to read and to master the Bible’s contents (or more importantly, to let the Bible master you!).”

There are 10 Reading Plans for ESV Editions, and the nice things is the way in which Crossway has made them accessible in multiple formats:

  • web (a new reading each day appears online at the same link)
  • RSS (subscribe to receive by RSS)
  • podcast (subscribe to get your daily reading in audio)
  • iCal (download an iCalendar file)
  • mobile (view a new reading each day on your mobile device)
  • print (download a PDF of the whole plan)
Reading Plan Format
Daily Reading Bible
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Outreach Bible
Daily Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Outreach Bible New Testament
Daily New Testament. Read through the New Testament in 6 months
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms or Gospels
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
ESV Study Bible
Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Literary Study Bible
Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Every Day in the Word
Daily Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Through the Bible
Daily Old Testament and New Testament
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Chronological
Through the Bible chronologically (from Back to the Bible)
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print
Book of Common Prayer Daily Office
Daily Psalms, Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospels
Web RSS iCal Mobile Print

You can also access each of these Reading Plans as podcasts:

  • Right-click (Ctrl-click on a Mac) the “RSS” link of the feed you want from the above list.
  • Choose “Copy Link Location” or “Copy Shortcut.”
  • Start iTunes.
  • Choose Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast.
  • Paste the URL from step three into the box.
  • Click OK.

The entire Bible on audio is usually about 75 hours (or 4500 minutes). If you commute to work 5 days a week, that’s about 260 days a year. And if it takes you, say, 17 minutes to commute each way to work—and if you listen to the Bible on audio during your drive each way—you’ll get through the entire Bible twice in a year. This probably isn’t the only way to do Bible intake—but it’s one most of us should take advantage of more.

Here’s some more detail on these plans (some from Crossway, some from elsewhere).


ESV Study Bible (The ESV Literary Study Bible contains the same plan)

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