I did it. The thing that I started this blog to record. I read the entire Bible, and it took me less than six months.
What was that? How did I do it? I’m glad you asked.
Over the years, I cycled through a lot of excuses for not reading the Bible. One was that I felt like I didn’t have time. (“Lol OK,” says God, who if you recall created the entire universe.) Another was that I couldn’t decide what plan to use.
I’m a very structure-dependent person. I like having routines and spreadsheets and to-dos to check off. I write my grocery lists in order by aisle. But in this area, structure had become an obstacle instead of a support. I would agonize over which plan was perfect, try one for a few weeks, feel bad about skimming passages that didn’t appeal to me, forget a few days, and then give up. I was holding myself too much to reading an arbitrary number of chapters and meeting arbitrary deadlines.
When I picked up the Bible this summer, I decided to just go with the flow. I did some cursory Googling to gather ideas on which books I should read first. From there I hopped around between the New and Old Testaments as I felt like it. Though jumping around might seem uncomfortable to someone like me who likes point-A-to-point-B solutions, I found I was actually experiencing a pretty cohesive story.
I’m sharing this plan so anyone who wants to read the Bible but has struggled to keep up before has a loose framework they can start with.
But before we get to the plan, here are three things that you should know you have permission to do.
1. It’s fine to stop after just a few minutes.
This plan does not prescribe a certain number of chapters per day. In my view, the important thing is to be filled up with God’s word as you read, not to get through a certain amount each day. If you’re not feeling it, it’s fine to just read one or two chapters. If you are, go ahead and read a whole darn book in one sitting. It’s totally up to you.
2. It’s fine to skim, every now and then.
I read a some of the Old Testament books pretty quickly. Generally you should avoid skimming, but let me be the first to tell you that you don’t have to memorize every single requirement for sacrificing sheep or pigeons or whatever. Especially if this is your first time through the Bible, the point is to learn about God and invite him into your daily life, not to get bogged down in details.
3. It’s fine to skip a day here and there.
Don’t beat yourself up. Just pick it back up when you can. Over the course of my study, I read at least every other day.
So, without further ado, here’s my ultimate not-a-Bible-plan Bible plan.
- To learn about Jesus’ life: Two Gospels (I picked Mark and John)
- To learn about the early church: Acts and Romans
- To learn about prayer: The first book of Psalms
- To learn about God’s first followers: Genesis and Exodus
- To learn about the law: Galatians and Leviticus
(Why Galatians before Leviticus? Here’s why.)
About Halfway Through
- To refocus on Jesus: Another Gospel (I picked Luke)
- For wisdom: Proverbs
- Because it’s the end: Revalation
- Jesus again: The last Gospel (Matthew)