Should Christians Read Through the Entire Bible in One Year?
Edited: Was intended to be posted on another thread.
“Experts weigh in on whether that’s the best plan.”
whether it takes them a year, two years, or six months. Every year at this time, when I hear certain friends “swear” that they’re going to finally read the Bible from cover to cover this year, I’m tempted to ask “Instead of starting over, why don’t you just pick up where you left off last year?”
If setting a goal of reading the Bible in one year helps instill discipline, I’m all for it. I’m afraid, though, that over time, the method becomes the point.
I haven’t ever read my Bible through in a year. I’m really not sure what pace I go at. I skip around quite a bit and don’t keep a Bible reading calandar. Right now, I’m wrapping up a read-thru of the entire history of Israel from Gen 12 - end of 2 Kings.
Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.
I don’t think it’s the only way to study the Bible, but it does serve a purpose. Obviously, you cannot study in-depth while trying to finish in a year. On the other hand, reading through everything quickly occasionally (or at least once) provides a great overview. Frequently I hear people comment on how things come together in a way they had never seen before after reading through the entire Bible in a brief period of time, even people who have been saved and studying the Bible for a number of years.
Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?
I never realized that Kings and Chronicles gave the same timeline history until I was reading thru my One Year Chronological Bible!
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I’ve often chosen to listen to the Bible while driving. The first time was the KJV with Alexander Scourby (remember him?). The last time it was the NKJV dramatized Bible (with Richard Dreyfus as Moses and Jim Caviezel as Jesus—is that ok?) on my commute to work. A little more than 70 hours total time and profitable as it wasn’t the only Bible reading that I was doing.
"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan
I had a conversation a while back with my father about his yearly Bible reading schedule. For the past 40-some years, he has read the OT once, the NT and Psalms twice and Proverbs 12 X’s each year. For what it is worth, he always wins at Bible Trivia.
Clearly, the best reading plan is the one that you will do, but God gave us all 66 books for a reason. Some parts may not lend themselves to twitter and facebook updates, but the discipline of regular and thorough Bible reading is important for every Christian, whether or not you complete it in one year.
The last couple of years I’ve offered our people at least five different plans varying from fairly light (NT in a year) to intense (whole Bible in four months). I think believers should have some kind of regular daily practice of Bible reading, it strengthens your spirit in ways you may not even be aware of, not just directly from absorbing the facts of what you read alone.
Some of the plans we recommend come from the Navigators - http://www.navigators.co.uk/bible-reading-plans/ [Edit - while this link takes you to some plans, they were not the ones I was thinking of. Apparently NavPress is going through a reorganization and their plans are not currently available on their website.]
One of the things I like about their plans is they give you flex days so that if you get behind a little bit during the week you can catch up.
Since I am studying small portions through the week in depth I like a more comprehensive reading plan for myself, to keep the big picture in mind.
I think reading the Bible through cover-to-cover is important, as in essential. The time frame of a year is arbitrary, but totally feasible for anyone, even those who don’t like to read. A variety of reading plans can be helpful and give one lots of perspective and opportunities to connect the dots.
IMO, those who read voraciously have a responsibility to keep their Bible reading in proportion or balanced with other reading - at least that’s how it feels to me personally. So I’ve had a plan of reading 30 pages a day for about the last 15 years (20 pages in the OT, 10 in the NT). This means I read the Bible approx 6 times a year. This year I took some time off that schedule to write out the Bible (ht: writetheword). It’s a nice change up, and requires lots of focus for me.
“The most important thing is not how much Scripture we read; it’s how much we apply” sounds good, but at its core, it makes no sense. We are commanded to read and study the Word, and view it as precious. How can we apply the Word if we don’t follow a very basic mandate, which is to read it?
Reading through the Bible in different ways adds different layers of knowledge, IMO. An occasional “read throuigh the Bible in a year” helps remove the rust from our minds; the Bible contains so many narratives, for example, we can easily lose our fluidity. Although I do not recommend reading through the entire Bible every year, it is good to do at least once or twice a decade (to keep one limber) and then to read and study portions in a more in-depth manner in the years between.
One great plan is to read through a book or section of a book every day for a month. All levels of reading and study have their pro’s and con’s, but a mixture covers more bases.
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When our son was in college, he told me Spurgeon read through the Bible once a month. Sounded incredible to me. I did it seven months in a row. Wow, it was quite an undertaking. I like to read through
God’s Word in a month once a year now. Everything good in me is because of the Holy Scriptures which live and abide forever. The rest of the year I read whatever I want from God’s Word.
I must admit, however, reading through in a month does stimulate and humble me. I am who and what I am only by the grace of my Wonderful Lord.
Doing this in one month can be done by reading 45 chapters a day plus 10 on Sunday. God has magnified His Word above His name. Ps. 138::2