Read the Bible Chronologically in a Year

BibleThere are a lot of books, reading plans, and online resources to help you read through the Bible in a year. Many of them move you back and forth between reading parts from the Old Testament and parts from the New Testament. I’m not really a fan of those because I feel like I’m missing the bigger story.

One of the things that almost every plan has is a checklist for every day (read this today, read this tomorrow). Though I’m a box checker, when it comes to reading just about any book, I can’t do it that way.

So I have my own plan by reading it, not cover-to-cover, but in chronological order with no check boxes! My reading the Bible chronologically plan (PDF) is one I found and tweaked a bit many years ago. I’ve made it available so you can print and fold the paper in half and use it as a bookmark…or for notes.

The idea is not to check boxes every day, but give yourself plenty of grace reading what you can when you can. However, to do it in a year you need to average 3-4 chapters a day (that’s just the math of it all).

I’ve only done it once many years ago but it was great. I’m planning to do it again in 2008. Here’s some tips to doing this:

  1. Read a translation of the Bible that is easy to read. My favorite for this is the New Living Translation because it’s accurate and easy to read. You can read any version but the point here is to not make it hard on yourself (for me that would exclude the KJV (too hard) and The Message (a paraphrased book)).
  2. Give yourself plenty of grace as you work through it. Some days I didn’t read, other days I read a lot. I never gave myself a hard time about it and ended up finishing it in about 10 months.
  3. Read for the story, not the details. You’ll find a lot of details as you go, but the advantage of going in this order is you see the overall story. Read for that — more like a novel.
  4. The most common complaint about something like this is reading books like Leviticus. Well, here’s my advice: read from a higher level. Don’t get bogged down into the details of the text. See the overall picture of how God wants to take care of His people.

So I’m going to give it another shot in 2008. Anyone want to join me? Just download and print the reading the Bible chronologically plan (PDF) and read along.

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  • Thanks Rob. Great resource and awesome tips.

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  • Brent

    Hey Rob–there’s something Mike Osborne mentioned a while ago that I’ve been doing. It’s at Bibleplan.org and it has all different types of plans for reading the Bible in a year. Then it’ll email you every day with a link to that day’s passages. And since it’s through Bible Gateway, they have every translation you’d want. it’s pretty cool.

  • rob

    @Brent: yeah, there are a lot of cool ways to do it. My thing though with this plan is that it’s not about “read these chapters today” then if you miss it’s “read yesterday’s three chapters and now read today’s three”. This plan, in fact says to start with “Genesis”. When you’re done (at your pace), read “Job”. Then read “Exodus”. Etc… No box-checking (which is what the email plans and others do). I have no problem with them. Great plan. Great delivery. I just like this one for a grace-based reading. It’s better to do something than nothing though!

  • blake

    Hey Rob,

    This is a great idea. I haven’t read the entire Old Testament ever and it’s been a long time since I’ve systematically gone through the New. I’m in. I’ll be reading the KJV. 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • rob

    @Blake: cool! go for it. If the KJV is good to you, then do it.

  • jeffholton

    GNAAACK! Your PDF has disappeared. !! 🙁

  • jeffholton

    GNAAACK! Your PDF has disappeared. !! 🙁