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The New Year Game Plan

If you’ve ever been unsuccessful in an attempt to read through the Bible in one year, you probably know that Leviticus is where it starts to go wrong. Genesis is action-packed and full of familiar stories and people. The same goes for Exodus—most of it, that is. And then comes Leviticus. And somewhere among the descriptions of burnt offerings, required feasts, and the proper care of tabernacle accessories, the dream of reading through the Bible in one year meets the reality of working through passages that seem impenetrable. And the quest that began so promisingly sputters to an end.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can read the entire Bible in a calendar year. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible—929 in the Old Testament and 260 in the New Testament. In order to finish them all in 365 days, you would have to read, on average, a little more than three chapters a day.

That’s a sizable task, but one that’s certainly manageable—if you approach it with the right game plan. Here are a few tips to consider if you’re serious about reading the entire Bible in a single year.

Choose a plan that works for you.

Because of the Bible’s unique structure, there are several different ways you can approach it. The traditional reading plan starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation, the Old Testament followed by the New Testament.

The chronological reading plan follows the events of the Bible in the order in which they occurred (or will occur). It requires some jumping around between books, but it gives a sense of progression and establishes a helpful timeline of events.

A thematic reading plan is built on subject matter. The goal of a thematic plan is to establish as many associations as possible between different parts of Scripture and to see how different books deal with similar themes.

You can find daily reading schedules for these and other plans online. All of them will take you through the entire Bible in a year. Before you embark on your challenge, try out different plans to see which one appeals most to you.

Count the cost.

In Luke 14:28, Jesus asks His disciples, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” Anything worthwhile that we pursue comes with a cost of time, attention, and resources. We have a limited amount of each. So if we draw on them for a sizable project, whether it’s building a tower or reading through the Bible in one year, we won’t have enough for other areas of our life. Something has to give. Before we embark on our reading plan, we need to come to grips with what must be sacrificed in order to complete it.

Depending on our schedule, we may have to cut back on the time we spend on social media or the time we spend binge-watching TV shows. We may have to get up earlier or forgo a walk during our lunch break. Whatever the case, it’s best to know the cost beforehand so that we can prepare accordingly.

Find iron sharpeners.

A wise man once said, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17). One of the best strategies for reading through the Bible in one year is to surround ourselves with “sharpeners,” people who have a vested interest in our success and who won’t hesitate to confront us when our focus wanders or when our discipline falters.

In order to facilitate iron sharpening, we need to be transparent about our reading adventure. We need to admit when we struggle or miss a day. We need to open up about passages that are difficult to understand. We need to give our accountability partners the information they need in order to help us.

Remember your real goal.

Letting your eyes fall over the words of Scripture until you reach the end of a designated passage just so that you can place a checkmark next to that day’s reading plan is not the same as reading through the Bible.

Remember James’s warning: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). If the words of Scripture aren’t influencing your life, it doesn’t matter whether you read them all in one year. Your goal is to understand the Bible and apply its truths to your life.

You do that by wrestling with Scripture—by not letting a passage go until you’ve wrung from it everything that you can. The Lord honors that kind of persistence, as the story of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32 demonstrates. (You’ll get to that story in the first two weeks of your reading adventure, if you opt for the traditional reading plan.)

When you read each day’s passage, interact with the material. Keep a journal of your thoughts. Write down questions that occur to you, quotes that inspire you, and incidents that trouble you. Pray about the things you read. Ask the Holy Spirit to deepen your understanding and give you a sense of how individual passages connect to the big picture of the Bible.

36 comments on “The New Year Game Plan

  1. Lemuel Rawlins says:

    By the grace of God I will do this

    1. Ackim Mc Cloy says:

      Thanks for the information,I will try this year and see if I can finish reading the whole Bible in a year.

  2. Sheron Marks says:

    Thanks for information shared.

  3. Marica Sevudredre says:

    Interested very much in your reading plan plz.
    Thank you

  4. to Maria says:

    I would love to read the Bible chronological but I don’t know how

  5. Keith says:

    Thank you for these wonderful tips, and for producing a variety of great quality Bibles.

  6. Natukwasa Tarsis says:

    I have learnt something and got encouraged by this portion of writing about reading the bible.

  7. Modupe Hughes says:

    Great advise. This is how to be successful with a project. Thank you. God bless you.

  8. Sheila Litheko says:

    I would really love to start reading my Bible on daily basis as this will help me to have a deeper understanding about the word of God.

  9. Aloyo Ruth oryem says:

    It’s a great reminder to the goals ahead

  10. Odel Sterling III says:

    Where do I go to find the different read the Bible in a year plans?

  11. Maggie Blue says:

    It’s a great oportunity for studing all the Bible. Thanks

    Sincerelly, Maggie

  12. Alesia says:

    This is definitely a game plan for me, and this has been very helpful. Thank you!

  13. Gayle says:

    Thank you for the very important insight into reading the Bible in a year, and your suggestions on keeping notes, asking questions, etc. I will apply this method.

  14. Martin Kalaula says:

    Thanks for the help

  15. Henry Ayoroh says:

    Thank you. Very helpful

  16. Glenda J Juarez says:

    Why is it do difficult to get guidance? My experience with a Church is lack of knowledge in how to guide people in learning the bible. I have been needing this information for awhile now. So excited to find which method works for me.

  17. Chidi Imoh says:

    How to read the Bible in one year.

  18. Steve Bishop says:

    Thank you for the encouragement

  19. MARY HAGGARD says:

    I am interested in reading the Bible through in a year. How do I get started?

  20. Savitry A/P Pappu Anandan says:

    I’m going to start today …by GOD grace i will try my best to finish reading the bible

    1. Nick at Thomas Nelson Bibles says:

      That is great news!

  21. Jockonias Sanele Mandlazi says:

    Thanks for sharing this it’s amazing and I will try it.

  22. Hetty says:

    Thanks a lot. Please where can I get some of the reading plans from? I’m interested in the thematic plan. I’ve tried the traditional plan and failed. Help please.

  23. Diane Tompkins says:

    Can you send me the reading plans. I want to do this.

  24. Norman Padayachy Abel says:

    Thank you for the encouragement and tips

  25. GODSENT says:

    This is really helpful. Thanks for the information.

  26. Ackim Mc Cloy says:

    Thanks for the information,I will try this year and see if I can finish reading the whole Bible in a year.

  27. Charles Moyo says:

    Helpful tip, I am going to choose the one of the suggested options and run with it by His. Thank you very much.

  28. Festus Akinwale says:

    Thanks for this useful information on spiritual growth.

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