Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

A new year is here and many of us are thinking about Bible reading. Today I want to share 5 Bible reading plans you could use to make this a year of great spiritual growth. Keep reading because I’ll also tell you what reading plan I’m going to use and why I’m going to use it.

The truth is the Bible can be an intimidating book, and if you don’t have a plan to read it, you probably won’t. While many Christians have the desire to read it, it’s overwhelming for many. How often do you really pick up a book this size and try to read it?

With technology, we can now keep better track of our progress and even be reminded to read.

The YouVersion app has been one of the great gifts to the kingdom of God in recent years, and it’s full of great Bible reading plans. Here are five of them.

Five Great Bible Reading Plans on YouVersion

ESV Study Bible Plan: I generally use the ESV to read and study the Bible, so the ESV plan makes sense. It breaks reading up into four sections: Psalms and wisdom, first five books of the Bible and the history of Israel, the prophets and chronicles, and the fourth one is the New Testament. The thing I like about this plan is that you could break your reading into four times per day and understand what you’re reading each time.

Eat this book: Join me in reading Eat this Book: One Year Bible with Daily Psalm: this one will start in the Old Testament and continue on into the New Testament with a Psalm each day. I know multiple people who completed this plan last year.

M’Cheyne One Year Bible Reading Plan: this one is a classic. Each day you read from the OT, the NT, and either the Psalms or the Gospels. Another great way to read is to break it up into four times a day…maybe at each meal and then right before you go to bed.

The One Year Bible: this has daily readings from theOT, the NT, the Psalms, and Proverbs. It’s pretty straightforward and is very popular.

The Bible Project Plan: This chronological plan includes a video overview of each book. Their videos are incredibly well done and give great insight into the Bible.

So there are 5 reading plans to get you started in the Youversion Bible app this year.

Put a comment below about what your plan is for reading the Bible this year. I’d love to see.

So which plan am I reading?

I recently got invited to participate in a plan called As it Happened. I’m reading it with a group from my church, so I decided to accept that invitation and read through the Bible with them.

It will help with accountability which is key if you’re going to stick with the plans this year.

I also made a video about using the SOAP method for studying the Bible. You can watch that video by clicking here.

Three Rs of Bible Reading

This week as I was sharing with our youth group, I reminded them of the 3 Rs of Bible reading. Often, I find myself and others reading passages so quickly that we glance over most of the details that give insight into what’s actually happening.

I’m trying to remember to do these three things when I read the Scripture, whether its in my own personal time or with a group. I call them the “3 R’s.”


The #NTvember Challenge

Can you read the whole New Testament in the month of November? That’s my challenge to you. I’m going to commit to reading the New Testament in the next 30 days, and I want you to do it, too!

It’s definitely possible. The New Testament is only 260 chapters, and it is estimated to take 18 hours and 20 minutes to read through completely.

Even though November is busy, I think we can find 18 hours to read.

If you’re up to the challenge, let me know in the comments below. It will encourage me to know that someone is doing this with me.

You can also follow along and share what you’re learning on social media using the hashtag #NTvember.

Can You Stop a Wave?

When we first moved back to the USA from Mexico City, we spent about 6 months near the East Coast of Florida, and we took advantage of that time to take the kids to the beach every once in a while. If you’ve ever been to the Atlantic Ocean, you know that the waves and undercurrent are very strong, especially for little kids (and dads that have little kids draped on their arms).

Kids and Waves

I would take each of the kids by the hand—usually one at a time—to brave the waves and walk in the water against the waves. Every time the wave would hit us so hard that it would knock them over and I would hold on to them for dear life while trying to stand my ground. It was terrifyingly fun—for a while. We did learn one truth during our time in the waves, though. They are impossible to stop.

After a few minutes walking out in the waves, I taught Nathan how to simply go with the waves and stop trying to resist them. Once we were out in the water, we could jump when the biggest of waves came and just enjoy them. We could swim with them and ride them into shore, and it was a lot more fun than trying to stop those strong waves or resist them.


Examples in 3 John

The letter of 3 John to Gaius is often overlooked simply because of its size, but the message that it teaches is one that I have experienced time and time again throughout my ministry.

As a missionary, I often visit new places where the only connection I have with the people there is the fact that we are believers. Their hospitality often reminds me of John’s commendation of Gaius and the way that he supported the messengers in their journey.

The contrast between the way that Gaius acts and the way that Diotrephes acts is a strong word of teaching for us as we minister. We are to think of others and help others instead of putting ourselves first, and we are to accept God’s servants instead of refusing to welcome them in a manner “worthy of God.”

As I read and study 3 John, I am reminded of the need to be humble, seek the good of those who are doing God’s work, and be warned, careful to not put myself first and talking against others.

Once again, in this short letter, we see the way the New Testament puts out good examples for us to imitate and poor examples for us to avoid. These two men, Gaius and Diotrephes, are great examples for us as we seek to interact with others.

What strikes you about 3 John?

Theology and You This Coming Year

We are getting to the end of the year when almost every Christian I know resolves to read the Bible through again the next year. I'm not sure how many times that has been one of my yearly goals. Do you do that?

If you are like me, you get into periods of your life in which you read the Bible like crazy, only to be followed by times when you go for a while without reading it like you should. Sometimes, I think, we don't realize what our Bible study is actually supposed to do for our lives. We sometimes just do it our of habit or because someone else has told us about its importance for our lives.

God's goal for us has to do with so much more than just reading through the Bible in a year.

One of my theology professors gave me me this idea of how theology is meant to function. The Bible, or our study of theology, is supposed to impact our head, heart, hands, and habitat.

Let me explain:

  • Head: God's Word is to renew the way we think. Our sinful minds think a certain way, but the Bible is meant to come into our heads and cause us to think God's thoughts. We are to meditate on Scripture in order to reprogram the way we think and align our thoughts to His thoughts.
  • Heart: The truth of the Bible is to reside in our hearts so that we come to love the truth that we know in our minds. The affections, or the part of us that values things, must see the truth of the Bible as something that is precious. Our hearts come to love what God loves and hate what He hates.
  • Hands: After coming to know God's Word in our minds and loving it with our hearts, we begin to live according to those truths that we have come to know and love. Our actions are influenced by our affections, and having come to love God's truth, we will begin to live it out with our hands.
  • Habitat: When we live according to what God's truth tells us, we begin to have an impact on our habitat. Our families, coworkers, friends, and neighborhoods will be impacted as our lives are restructured according to the truth of God.

As you begin a new year, may you resolve to allow God's Word to influence your head, penetrate your heart, guide your hands, and impact your habitat.