First published on December 31, 2016.
Reading the Bible In One Year
I think you would agree that reading the Bible in one year is not an imperative for Christian living, and that doing so or not does not make us a better or a worse Christian. Since the Bible is the Word of God, reading the Bible regularly is the means by which the Holy Spirit works in the heart of a believer. In fact, the Bible is the “sword of the Spirit” (see Ephesians 6:17), and Jesus himself says that the truth of God’s Word is what consecrates or sanctifies the believer (see John 17:17).
The goal of reading the Bible in one year is a discipline that I have adhered to since the beginning of my Christian life. I cannot say that I have systematically done so every year. For example, in 2016, I only read the New Testament. In other years, I partially or completely abandoned my goal along the way. Nevertheless, this discipline has served me well during the past thirty years, for it has helped me to learn about God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, and mostly to love them better as individuals.
I have developed my own yearly Bible reading plan over the years, based on what was helpful to me or not, and on what worked or not. (You will find a link below which will enable you to download the reading plan.)
Here are some of its characteristics.
The Characteristics of My Annual Bible Reading Plan
My annual Bible reading plan is a chart with four columns:
- The first column simply lists the 52 weeks of the year. The weeks are not dated, therefore, you can begin the plan at any point of time during the year and use it from one year to the next.
- Every week, the portions of Scripture are spread out over five days instead of seven. This gives two days in the week to either catch up or to take a break. I personally include my Bible reading as a part of my early morning routine before going to work, from Monday to Friday, and I take a break on Saturdays and Sundays.
- The other three columns provide a systematic reading of the Old Testament, the Psalms and the New Testament. You can decide to read only the New Testament, or only the Old Testament, or any combination that these three programs offer.
- In the Old Testament reading plan, the books are in chronological order according to their content. For example, the book of Job, which has to do with a story during the times of the patriarchs, comes right after the book of Genesis; the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Salomon, which were written by King Salomon, are listed in the middle of the book of 1 Kings when the life of King Salomon is told. Each of the books of the Prophets is placed within the chronological sequence of the historical books. The books written during or after the exile are listed at the end after the book of 2nd Chronicles.
- The Psalms are read three days out of five, but you are free to read them every day if you wish. This means that you would read through the book of Psalms three times over a two year period.
- Finally, the New Testament plan is divided up into four groups based on the four Gospels:
- For the Hebrews: beginning with the Gospel according to Matthew, which was written for the Jews, and followed by the Epistle to the Hebrews and the one of James.
- Peter’s writings: beginning with the Gospel according to Mark, who was most probably a close follower of Peter, and followed by the two epistles of Peter and the one of Jude.
- Paul’s writings: beginning with the Gospel according to Luke, who accompanied Paul on his voyages, followed by the book of Acts where you’ll find the letters of Paul listed in the chronological order in which they were written.
- John’s writings: which obviously includes the Gospel according to John, his three epistles and the book of Revelation.
To Download My Annual Reading Plan
The file that you can download by clicking on the link below will allow you to print it as a small booklet of 12 pages, 5.5” X 8.5”.
If your printer enables you to automatically print two-side pages, simply print out the six pages of the document two-side and fold the document in two to form a small booklet.
If you need to print two-side pages manually:
- First, print out the even pages only.
- Place the three printed sheets back into the paper bin of your printer, making sure that they are placed properly according the correct orientation (please note that each printer is different: I cannot give you more precision nor can I guarantee the success of this procedure; consult the guidebook that came with your printer if need be).
- Print the odd pages only.
- Fold the document in two to obtain a small booklet.
If you do not feel comfortable printing out a two-side pages booklet, or if you prefer to simply have a one-side document, click on the link below to download the appropriate file and print it out.