Thursday, January 1, 2015

My favorite Bible reading plan

Happy New Year! 

Today is the first day of 2015 and most people are probably contemplating resolutions and goals and plans for this fresh new year. I'm not one for getting too caught up in resolutions, but I really do love January because it always feels like a fresh start. Time to put away the Christmas decor and jump into a 30-day organizing challenge, yeah? 

It's also the time when a lot of people mentally gear up and prepare themselves to tackle a one-year Bible reading plan-- determined that this will be the year they get through the whole thing and won't fall so far behind its irrecoverable-- only to be discouraged and ready to quit by February. That's always me, by the way. I start strong and tackle Genesis and Matthew with gusto (because that's where all the plans start), but six weeks in I'm pretty much done. It usually happens somewhere in the middle of the reading desert I affectionately refer to as Leviticus.

All this changed for me, though, when I discovered Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading plan a couple of years ago. It's the first one that has made sense to me and kept me both excited and free from discouragement, which is kind of surprising considering how daunting it can seem at first. 

Now, don't let "10 chapters a day" freak you out. My first reaction when I heard it was, "Say whaaaaa?! Who has time for that!?" But the truth is, I do have time, I just tend to spend it doing other things *coughFACEBOOKcough* Also, this plan gives so much grace, it really can work for anyone, so hear me out.

How it works:

Honestly, clicking on the link above is the best way to get a comprehensive overview of this plan (that's the post I originally stumbled across) but I will try to sum it up.

The Bible is divided up into ten different "lists" and each day you read one chapter from each list. When you reach the end of one of the books on your list, simply go to the next book on the list and start on it, one chapter a day. When you've read all the books on the list you go back to the beginning of the list and start with the first book again. There's no start date or end date; you are just continually in the Word but you're never behind.

The ten lists are as follows (don't get overwhelmed, I will link to some bookmarks and checklists that make it so easy to keep it all straight):

List 1
  • Ma tthew, Mark, Luke, John
List 2 
  • Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
List 3
  • Romans, I&II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews
List 4
  • I&II Thessalonians, I&II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, I&II Peter I,II&III John, Jude, Revelation
List 5
  • Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
List 6
  • Psalms
List 7
  • Proverbs
List 8
  • Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I&II Samuel, I&II Kings,  I&II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
List 9
  • Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
List 10
  • Acts

What I love about it:

If you read through how the books are divided up, it's really an amazing concept. Every day, all year long, you are reading from the gospels, Psalms, Proverbs, the book of Acts, the pentateuch, the epistles, AND from the prophets.  I love the variety! 

Other benefits:

  •  I don't get bogged down in some of the books that are more difficult because they are offset with others that are easier/more enjoyable for me.
  • I am cycling through the books much more frequently than with other plans. 
  • There is no "falling behind" because there are no dates attached. If you don't have time for ten chapters that day, that's okay! Read what you can and the next day pick up where you left off. Some days I get five read, some days two, and some days more than ten. Some people read five chapters in the morning and five at night, or five one day and the other five the next. Either way, this plan just helps you remember where to start and to keep moving forward wherever you're at.

Getting Started:

A lot of people like to use ten different book marks that they keep in their  Bible and just move along as they read each chapter. This is what I did when I first tried this plan. If you do a quick google search there are a LOT of free printables for bookmarks for this plan.
Created by Click on the picture to visit and download the free bookmarks.

There's also an app, if you're so inclined.

But what's been working best for me lately are these great (free!) printables from JalandOak that have each chapter for each book on the list so you can mark them off as you go along. I find it very motivating to color in the circle when I finish reading the chapter, and it also helps me instantly see where I'm at. I keep the stack in the back of my Bible and just start with whatever list is on the top of the stack that day. Highly recommended!

Now, obviously I haven't been using this system for two years solid, otherwise I would have made it through the Bible by now. Shortly after I started using it the first time I hit a rough patch that derailed me for a bit (funny how that always seems to happen) and I spent some time in a pretty dry and lonely season. I wish I would have stuck with reading my Bible because that "rough patch" undoubtedly wouldn't have lasted so long, but God is so faithful and His kindness always draws me back.  I started again on December 17th and didn't even start at the beginning of some of the lists. I started right in the middle because there are some books I have read a hundred times (Genesis and Matthew anyone?) but others I'm not as familiar with (e.g. Revelation), so I chose to start there. I have no guilt because the lists are cyclical and I know I will get to the other books eventually. You seriously can't mess it up.

What about you? Do you have a Bible reading/study plan that really works for you or something you're excited to use in this new year?


  1. I'm loving it so far! THANK YOU for blazing that trail before me! I also LOVE that there is no schedule/date/now I'm behind panic. I feel totally on top of it even if I get through just 5 chapters or read for just a handful of days a week. Loving it! You, my friend, are awesome!

  2. Wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.


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