Bible Reading Plans for 2017!

Posted by on Dec 27, 2016 in EventReminder | 3 comments

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When the “publish” button was clicked for this post, we were in that Christmas Holiday gap between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  The gifts were wrapped, placed under the tree, and then unwrapped. All of the Christmas cookies were baked… and most were eaten.  All of a sudden we were about to wake up to the Mummers (in Philly, anyway),  New Year’s Day will be upon us, and we’ll be thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.  What can I do in this new year to make myself better for next year?

In addition to loosing weight, stopping smoking, or dropping some other bad habit, many of us resolve in January to read the Bible.  Sometimes we get overly ambitious and think we’re going to read the entire Bible in one year.  We plan to stick with that daily reading plan that’s in the back of most Bibles.   We start at Genesis, but by the time we reach all of that stuff about acacia wood and cubits in Exodus when they’re building the tabernacle, we loose interest.  By the time we hit Numbers and Leviticus and all of the laws about sacrificing turtledoves and lambs without defect, we’re really behind schedule.  By April or May, many of us are already thinking about making a fresh resolution for the next year!

Rev. Marvin Guice (long time pastor of PUMC in the 1950s) once said…

It’s not how many times you go through the Bible.
It’s how many times the Bible goes through you!

So this year, slow down!  Send some time in the Word and see if the Bible will go through you.

Below are three Bible Reading plans; all of them cover only one chapter a day.

Here’s some Bible Trivia…

  • There are 1189 chapters in the Bible
  • There are 929 chapters in the Old Testament.
  • There are 260 chapters on the New Testament.
  • Hmmm… there are 365 days in one year.

So… if you read a chapter a day from the Old Testament, you won’t finish the whole thing in one year.  But if you read a chapter a day from the New Testament you’ll hit the last chapter in Revelation sometime in October.  The plans below follow the “cherry pick” theory for the Old Testament  and the “double up and slow down” theory for the New Testament.  Here are the details…

 

Old Testament Plan

The plan skips over the “begat” and “cubit” parts that usually drive a good resolution to a screeching halt. It just hits the highlights in books like Exodus, Numbers and Leviticus. Not that the other parts aren’t important!  But, the goal is to develop a habit and “let the Bible go through you.” It also brushes over sections of the prophecies.

The plan is generally presented in Chronological order (using whatever information we have).  It weaves some of the prophetic books in with the history books (1-2 Kings & 1-2 Chronicles) so you can read them in the historical setting.  It also skips over parts that seem to duplicate themselves (for example, 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles).  It follows Kings to pick up the history of the Northern Kingdom, and then switches over to Chronicles after the Northern exile.

Here’s the link to download the Old Testament Plan:  Old Testament Plan

 

New Testament Plan

The New Testament is generally divided into the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s letters to the churches, Paul’s letters to individuals, letters written by people other than Paul, and then Revelation.

The New Testament plan pretty much follows the order established by the traditional cannon.  There are a few exceptions though…

  • Instead of reading all four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) in succession at the beginning of the year,  the Gospels are “spread out” so that the accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings will always be fresh in your mind.
  • The books of Romans and Hebrews (which can get a bit heavy in theology) are taken from their “normal” locations in an attempt to keep it “light.”

And, as noted above, one of the “problems” of reading the New Testament using a “chapter a day” format is that there are more days in the year than chapters in the New Testament.  So- taking it slow- most chapters are allotted two days.  Read half of it one day and finish it up the next.  Or, read it through one day, then look up the devotionals and ponder what you read.  Take a second look at the chapter the next day.  Remember; it’s now how many times or how fast you go through the Bible.  It’s all about opening yourself up to God’s Word and letting it go through you.

Here’s the link to download the New Testament Plan:   New Testament Plan

 

New Testament “Light” Plan

The New Testament plan takes you through the entire New Testament.  But, it  starts out with Romans and includes some heavy stuff along the way.  Hitting Romans chapter 1 on New Year’s Day might not be the best way for many of us to get us started in our Bible Reading habit.  So, a third alternative is available.  This plan starts out with highlights from Genesis and other Old Testament passages and then eases you into Matthew.  “Heavier” books such as Hebrews and Romans are interspersed with chapters from other books to help put the theological discourses in perspective.  The middle part of Revelation is  skipped over.  All of scripture is important, and this plan won’t take you through the entire New Testament. But, any time you open God’s Word it can “go through you.”

Here’s the link to download the “New Testament Light” Plan:   New Testament Light Plan

 

 

 

Print it Out!

Pick the plan you want to follow this year and then download it using one of the above buttons.  The plan will open in Adobe Acrobat reader (probably?).  Both plans consist of 11 pages.  The lists on each page are sized so that they can be cut out of each sheet and fit into a typically sized Bible.  In other words, you can use the list as a bookmark and keep it in your Bible.  If you have a printer that can print on both sides of the sheet, print out the lists double sided (and you’ll save some paper).

A Check box is provided so you can keep track of what you have read.

 

Ponder the Word

Included on the list are references to daily devotionals which feature a verse from the day’s chapter.  The list shows the date(s) of these devotionals where the chapter is discussed.  Look up the devotional article (links below) and dig deeper into the passage you just read.  References to two popular devotionals are provided (if you don’t have these books, you can access the articles online):

  • Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” devotional includes two devotional articles (featuring two different verses) for each day.
    Click Here to open the “Morning and Evening” archive.  Scroll down and click on the date cited in the reading plan list.
  •  Oswald Chamber’s “My Utmost for His Highest” devotional is also cited in the reading plan.
    Click Here to visit the Oswald Chamber’s website.  To find the desired article, click on the calendar icon (next to today’s date)- it’s right under the title of today’s article.  Use the arrows on the calendar to navigate to the date shown in the reading plan.

Note:  You can always find these devotionals by opening the “New Feeds and Devotionals” page (under the “News” menu on the top of any of our site’s pages).  A link to this post is also included on the “News Feeds and Devotionals” page so you can find this post throughout the year.

 

Which Plan is “Better”?

If you’ve never read the Bible, it probably makes sense to start at the beginning- Genesis. Try the Old Testament plan this year and then move on to the New Testament next year. Explore areas in the Bible where you haven’t been before; or areas where you haven’t been in a long time.

 

Talk it Over- Leave a Comment

As we go through the year, use the “Leave a Comment” form at the bottom of this post to share how the Bible has gone through you this year.

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Resolve to make this year a year where you commit to opening yourself up to God’s word.  Don’t rush to go through the Bible, but daily open yourself up to the Bible and let the Holy Spirit take the Word through you.

 

 

3 Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Chuck

    What’s your favorite Bible version (King James, New Living, New International, The Message, New Revised Standard, etc…)? Which translation(s) (or paraphrase) will you be reading this year?

  2. Christopher

    I read the NLT (New Living Translation). It uses modern English and is easy to read.

  3. Steve

    I like reading the Good News Bible book of James

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