A Simple, Intentional Bible Reading Plan

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

During a recent sermon, I mentioned a daily Bible reading plan that I have used for almost 15 years.  Some have asked me to share it here.  In addition to my Bible reading plan, I am also sharing some thoughts and ideas about reading other material on a regular basis and in an intentional way.

Reading the Bible Is God Speaking to You

Reading the Bible is a spiritual discipline.  Reading is different from studying.  It is not memorizing or mediating.  While all of those disciplines are of great value, I believe a great place to start my day is just reading the Bible.

The Bible is God’s Word.  It is God speaking.  When we read the words of the Bible, it is God speaking words to us.  That’s pretty awesome!  And, almost 15 years ago, I decided that I would like to hear from God regularly, so I started a plan of reading my Bible regularly.

The system that I developed for me is not complex and it is certainly not novel.  But it works for me for a few reasons:  First, it doesn’t take long to do what I am about to describe (about 20 minutes or so, depending on the particular text).  Second, because I do the same thing every day, I don’t have to think about what to read next (which is often a stumbling block for some people; i.e., “where do I start?”).  Third, the plan I use takes me through the Bible systematically and completely each year, and for many portions of the Bible, several times a year.  I like the discipline of reading the entire Bible, not jus the parts that I “like.”

Here is my daily routine:

  1. Read 2 chapters in the Old Testament (start at the beginning), except don’t read Psalms or Proverbs in this section of the plan. (By doing this each day, you get through the entire Old Testament at least once in a year).
  2. Read 1 Psalm every day.  (By doing this each day, you will read through the book of Psalms more than twice each year).
  3. Read the Proverb chapter that corresponds to the day of the month.  (There are 31 Proverbs so there is one for each day.  By doing this, you will essentially read Proverbs 12 times each year).
  4. Read two chapters in the New Testament each day.  (By doing this, you will read through the New Testament several times each year).

Read Other Good Books, Too

In addition to reading the Bible, it is very important to read a variety of other good books on a regular basis.  I have found that the more intentional I am with my reading of books, the better I become in nearly every other aspect of my life.  As I read, I become a better leader, father, husband and friend.  I am wiser and more patient.  I am much more thoughtful.  I believe it helps me be a better pastor, too.

There are many things to read.  There are more books available to read than any one person could ever accomplish in a lifetime.  So, it is important to be intentional in choosing what to read.  While reading in and of itself has value, there can be no real argument against the proposition that some books are more valuable than others!

Be Intentional in Your Reading Choices

Vary your areas of reading so that you get a broad spectrum of insight and knowledge.  Read books that are related to your profession so you can keep up on trends and new information.  Read books on leadership and history.  Read books that are classics, including Christian classics.  Read books that will inspire you.  Read biographies.  And, it is even good to read a good, fiction novel every now and again (but not exclusively!).

I suggest that you have at least one book that you are reading at any given time.  Some people I know often have several books they are reading at one time.  I usually have a couple going at any given time, with a few “on the shelf” waiting.  For example, right now I am reading “Team of Rivals” (a historical biography of President Lincoln and others) as well as a leadership book by John Maxwell.  Recently I finished a book by Marc Driscoll titled “On Church Leadership” which was very good.

The more you read, the more you will enjoy it.  Try it.  I challenge you to turn off the t.v. for just 30 minutes a day and read instead.  See what changes will happen in your life.

Share Your Best Reading Suggestions

I invite you to share your best reading suggestions in the comment section of the blog.


11 responses to “A Simple, Intentional Bible Reading Plan

  1. Great advice for being intentional about reading the Word of God. It is God’s instructional manual for how to live our lives well and we won’t know what it says without reading it. Our small group has started reading the Bible weekly and our first week’s reading was Genesis 1 and it was amazing how much we had to discuss from just one chapter. I can’t wait to see what God will do through this reading process. There are lots of reading plans out there – just find one and get started. You will be blessed!

  2. my dear brother Buddy—-thank you for this post on study—-i am ALWAYS looking for anything that i can gleen from to fine tune my personal study time. Not long ago, i found that fatigue from my daily/ weekly work-travel-work grind (working as many as 60-70 hours a week PLUS traveling about 800 miles a week on the road) just left me as often as not in “zombie land”. Realizing that so MUCH of my time was spent on the highway wevery day, often 7 days a week, i ecided to experiment a little bit. I bought an 8gb MP3 player and downloaded into it the entire bible, read by Max McClain. Now, i would love to tell you that it made me a bible scholar–(not true)–but a repetititive long drive is like anything else you do repetitively—my mind WOULD wander, or i would get distracted as i listened to my Bible download. I eventually figured out that i could listen to the book of proverbs easily once a day—–so i did that for awhile—-then i started listening to the litle books of the new testament for a week or so—-i spent days and dayd and days running the book of romans through my ears……i listened to the book of daniel over and over and over again……hebrews the same——i wore out ephesians in a time……..now here is what i surprisingly don’t know for sure—–how MUCH do you gain when you make this an habitual practice? i have been using this process now for 14 months, and i will NOT leave home without it——nor return either! 🙂 —-all i know for sure is that i seem to be doing a lot better emotionally than prior to doing this—– i STILL get “wiped out” emotionally and spiritually on occasion—–but i seem to recover more rapidly—–i guess my REAL question has to do with what you and others might think about what this does to/for you on the SUBCONSCIENCE level…….i don’t always stop and reflect upon what i am hearing—–but i simply listen as though sitting in a tub of water and letting it “soak in”—–to the depths of my skin (soul)—little by little cleansing away that which i had not recognized as being “missed by the washrag”……..i revel and rejoice in the truths and promises that are pouring into my ears…….i have shed more one tear on my seatbelt travelling in this fashion…….i am NOT advocating at all that this is a substitute for the kind of study that Buddy is advocating here……just wanted to pass this along to those who may be like me——freakish and zealous to take a swing at ANYTHING that might inhance my walk with the Lord and keep my heart in tune and as “right with God” as i can get it………my listening time averages about three hours a day on the highway, and a very comfortable upper arm carrier keeps it playing most anytime i want to use it………..God bless you all…………..

    • Sounds like you are really digging in to the Word, Lewis. You know that makes me happy! Glad to see you are doing so well. Thanks for all of the comments and encouragement. And, yes, I think that listening to the Bible does “seep in” to our sub-conscious and make a difference for us. Keep it up!

  3. Lot better game plan than front to back IMHO

    Easier than just plowing through some history, take a baby step at it, day by day.

    Your math is off though

    260 in NT so you read it 2.81 times
    929 in OT minus 31 Proverbs and 150 Psalms leaves 779

    779 chapters reading two a day would take 389.5 days

    So every Sunday read 3 in OT and it would work out

    Great reading plan!

    For me I lock in on one subject for about a quarter and then switch. Recently I have been just going all OT

    Planning on doing this Jan 1

    • Thank you for reading and for doing the math for me! Honestly, I have been doing this same plan for so long, I kinda lost track of what the actual numbers were. Plus, I know there are times that I read a little more here and there (for e.g., I like to read the NT letters as a whole since they are “letters”). God bless your reading and study. Let me know how it is working out for you when you begin next year.

  4. If you read 5 Psalms a day & 1 Proverb a day you get through them both every month. If you divide the OT up into “history” – Gen – Neh. and “poetry/prophecy” – Job – Mal (less Psalms & Proverbs) and read 4 chapts each daily you get through OT almost 4 times a year. If you divide NT into “history” – Matt – Acts plus Rev and “letters” – Rom – Jude and read 2 chapts each daily you get through NT in almost 6 times a year. This only takes 30 – 45 mins

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  5. Some recent reads that have been very good are “The Resolution for Men” by Kendrick/Alcorn and “Raising a Modern-Day Knight” by Robert Lewis. Currently ready “Courageous Leadership” by Bill Hybels…excellent book!

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