As we thank God for another year, we almost immediately remind ourselves of goals, plans and desires we have for the coming year. One desire that almost invariably tops our wishlist as Christians is to spend more time reading God’s word. Though noble, the desire in itself is not enough. In fact, we often notice that our passion begins to fade as the winds of laziness, indiscipline and misplaced priorities blow, and we realise that we are not even half way through the year.
Today, there are variety of Bible reading plans that help us schedule our Bible reading and thereby glean more from it for our spiritual nourishment. They challenge us to take our commitment to grow in our relationship with God more sincerely. They also help us to make sure that we don’t cherry-pick our favourite verses and build our understanding of God on them, rather it unfolds a fuller picture of God and His purposes before us. And following a Bible reading plan forces you to read both Old and New Testament systematically, in case, you are one of those who have always dreaded some passages of the Old Testament.
There are plenty of Bible reading plans available today. Here, we have narrowed down five that you can choose from, depending on your convenience, goals and interests.
BIBLE OVERVIEW PLANS
This plans don’t take you through the entire Bible, but provide readings that help you to have a bird’s-eye view of the events and people in the Bible. You may choose from 60-day, 90-day, 180-day plan or even have an overview of major events and people from the Bible. This might be a very good plan for new believers in Christ.
GENRE-BASED BIBLE READING PLAN
As its name suggests, this plan divides your readings according to its genres. It may have number of readings corresponding to the number of genres it uses, genres such as Pentateuch/Law, History, Wisdom Literature, Prophets, Gospels and Acts, Epistles etc.
CHRONOLOGICAL BIBLE READING PLAN
What this plan does is to set the readings in the same order in which the events actually took place. This helps you place the people and events in their historical context. For instance, it may help you understand in what historical situation David wrote a particular psalm. If you choose to read the entire Bible in a year, it may take you around 3 chapters to read daily.
SHORT-TERM READING PLANS
Those of us afraid to make long-term commitments or just trying out the discipline of reading through the Bible for the first time may find this option more conducive. These are plans that may offer you a short-term reading plan to understand life of Jesus (Gospels), history of early church (Acts), or just the Psalms. These plans may stretch from two weeks to six weeks, and from one book to one genre of literature. If you want to have an in-depth study of a particular book in a shorter time period, several ministries also provide you books that inform you about the historical context, word studies and a running commentary to aid your reading.
CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE BIBLE READING PLAN
Here is an offbeat alternative for those who have already read the entire Bible, but now wants to study major doctrines of the Bible. Though it does not help in wading through the entire Bible, it does provide several passages on each doctrines, and so offers rich theological insights.
In addition to all these, there is also the classic read though the Bible plan that simply helps you read the Bible from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation, in a given period of time.
A note of caution before we end. If these tools are turning you into a sprint runner running through the Bible to win the gold medal of self-satisfaction, you are in a danger zone. Following the plan is not the end, listening to God and drawing closer to Him is.
This year, as you commit yourself to listen more intently to God by reading His word, consider employing these tools, while always “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”