Contending For The Faith

December 3, 2008

Bible Reading Plans

Filed under: Bible Study,John MacArthur — Lynda O @ 8:44 am

For several years now I’ve done two “read the Bible in a year” plans.  These are both provided free by websites, where you sign up and then get each day’s reading in your e-mail.  Aside from occasional technical errors (sometimes the e-mails don’t arrive, or arrive late), these are easy ways to read through the Bible in a year.

Free Bible Email allows your choice of versions (NIV or KJV), and each daily reading consists of three parts:  New Testament, one Psalm or chapter of Proverbs, and other Old Testament.  This plan actually reads through the New Testament and the Psalms-Proverbs every six months, twice a year through — and once through for the Old Testament.  Free Bible Email is calendar based, so if you join in the middle of the year you will get the readings for that part o the year.

Bible in a Year allows more version choices (eight versions), and three different reading sequence plans:  straight-through from Genesis to Revelation; or alternating books — an Old Testament book, then a New Testament book, back and forth;  or, the plan I’ve done most often, chronological sequence.  All three plans work you through the complete Bible once in a full year.  This plan can also be started at any time of the year; instead of waiting until January 1, or joining into the middle of the Bible, you can start at the beginning in May or August or October, if you so choose.  On a calendar year schedule, since the majority of the Bible is the Old Testament, these reading plans (except for the alternating schedule) won’t get to the New Testament until early October.

I’ve recently learned a new Bible reading strategy, from John MacArthur’s sermon “How to Study the Bible.”    (He has mentioned this plan in a few other sermons as well.)  The reading plan for the Old Testament is straightforward enough:  just read it once through in a full year;  either of the above schedules would work, or any other such plans.  For the New Testament reading, though, MacArthur suggests reading through the same book, up to about 7 chapters at a time, every day for a month.  Start with 1 John — 5 chapters — and read it through, every day for the first month.  Then go to the book of John. Since it’s a longer book, 21 chapters, break it into three sections.  Read chapters 1 through 7 every day for a month, then 8 through 14 the next month, and 15 through 21 the following month.  MacArthur specifically mentions reading Philippians the next month, followed by the book of Matthew (again, break it into sections, in this case four months), and suggests alternating back and forth between shorter and longer books.  Though he says this plan will take 2 1/2 years, when I tried to map it out for all the New Testament books, even combining a few shorter books together for some months, the schedule will take 37 months.

I started a day late (December 2), but that’s still 30 days to read 1 John.  Here is my tentative monthly reading plan of the New Testament books for the next few years:

Month 1: 1 John Month 20: Mark 1- 8
Month 2: John 1-7 Month 21: Mark 9 – 16
Month 3: John 8-14 Month 22: 1 and 2 Timothy
Month 4: John 15-21 Month 23: Romans 1 – 8
Month 5: Philippians Month 24: Romans 9 – 16
Month 6: Matthew 1-7 Month 25: 1 and 2 Peter
Month 7: Matthew 8-14 Month 26: 1 Corinthians 1 – 8
Month 8: Matthew 15-21 Month 27: 1 Corinthians 9 – 16
Month 9: Matthew 22-28 Month 28: 1 and 2 Thess.
Month 10: Ephesians Month 29: 2 Corinthians 1 – 7
Month 11: Luke 1 – 8 Month 30: 2 Corinthians 8 – 13
Month 12: Luke 9 – 17 Month 31: James
Month 13: Luke 18 – 24 Month 32: Hebrews 1 – 7
Month 14: Galatians; Philemon Month 33: Hebrews 8 – 13
Month 15: Acts 1 – 7 Month 34: Titus; 2 John, 3 John
Month 16: Acts 8 – 14 Month 35: Revelation 1- 8
Month 17: Acts 15-21 Month 36: Revelation 9 – 15
Month 18: Acts 22 – 28 Month 37: Revelation 16 – 22
Month 19: Colossians; Jude

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