It’s not too late to pick a Bible reading plan for 2023. Here are 3 options. (2023)

By William Wolfe, Op-ed contributor

It’s not too late to pick a Bible reading plan for 2023. Here are 3 options. (2)

At this point, we are over halfway into the first month of 2023. Valentine’s Day retail offerings are already on display. Blink just a few more times and January will be gone. Time flies.

If you made a New Year’s resolution, these next few weeks are crunch time. Will you keep it up or not? Or maybe you haven’t made any resolutions yet, but you know that you should add some structure to your life, especially when it comes to your time spent reading God’s Word, the Bible.

Even though we’re past Jan. 1, I’m here to tell you it’s definitely not too late to settle on a Bible reading plan for 2023 — particularly one that will help you read through the entire Bible before the year is over.

The Bible is our daily lifeline as Christians. In it, we find “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Still, as almost every faithful Christian can attest, sticking with a reading plan has its challenges. Just like February wrecks many well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions, so too can the book of Leviticus serve as a graveyard for ambitious “read-the-Bible-from-cover-to-cover” attempts.

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So, here are three options for Bible reading plans that will take you from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 before the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 2, 2024 — should the Lord tarry, of course.

1. Cover-to-cover consecutive reading plan

This is the most straightforward option. It takes out all of the guesswork or the page-flipping. Here’s how it works.

Between the Old and New Testaments, there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Divide that by 365 and you get approximately 3.26. Or, if you are starting on February 1, divide it by 334 and you get approximately 3.6. There you have it — that’s your “per day chapter target” if you want to read the Bible consecutively from cover to cover in 2023.

If you have never read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, let me highly recommend this approach. You discover a unity, cohesion, and richness to the arc of redemptive history when you go from Genesis to Revelation that can be lost by flipping back and forth or reading a chunk here and a chunk there.

The “pros” of this plan is that it gives you an overview of the entire Bible in what is essentially chronological order and it’s easy to keep track of! Just pick up where you left off the day before. The “cons” would simply be that it takes discipline to stay on track.

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2. Robert Murray M’Cheyne reading plan

Robert Murray M’Cheyne was a Scottish pastor who died an early death. Yet despite only living to be 30 years old, he lived a very fruitful and faithful Christian life. One of his lasting legacies is a Bible reading plan that is designed to take readers through the New Testament and Psalms twice a year and through the Old Testament once. So, if you follow this plan, you will actually read more than just the Bible “one time” this year.

M’Cheyne’s plan has a set schedule to follow and you can find an online version of the calendar here:Robert Murray M‘Cheyne’s Bible Reading Calendar.This plan has the reader reading approximately four chapters a day, with two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. The way M’Cheyne originally envisioned it working was that someone would read two chapters in their private devotions, which he calls “secret” and then two chapters with the family, which he calls “family.” So, if you combine the “family” and the “secret” readings, you read 4 chapters a day. Even though it isn’t January 1, you can just jump into the M’Cheyne plan on whatever date you start. I wouldn’t worry about “catching up” — just start now and you will benefit all the same.

The “pros” of this plan are that it takes you through the entire Bible once, as well as through the New Testament and the Psalms twice. The schedule is also pre-set so you don’t have to figure out what to read. The “cons” could be that you are flipping through 3 to 4 different books of the Bible each day, and you will need to have the calendar of readings available to stay on track.

If you have already read the Bible from cover to cover, this would be a very useful plan to use in 2023 in order to gain more insight and knowledge from God’s Word and to have a continuous diet of both the Old and New Testaments on a daily basis.

3.Bible in a year plus prep for Sunday sermon reading plan

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You can’t go wrong with either plan listed above. But I want to propose a third option, one that I think is particularly tuned towards helping you grow as a Christian because it incorporates your personal spiritual disciplines with the corporate spiritual discipline of gathering weekly with your local church.

I call this the “Cover-to-Cover Plus Plan.” Here’s how it works: Along with reading 3-4 chapters of the Bible each day in your effort to work from Genesis to Revelation, you also make time to read the passage of Scripture that your pastor plans to preach on for the upcoming Sunday.

One caveat here is that you must be attending a church that preaches through the Bible in an expository fashion; that is, the pastor preaches “through” a book of the Bible one portion at a time, making the key message of the Scripture for that Sunday the key message of his sermon.

Expository preachers usually post their preaching schedule in advance so all you have to do is get a copy of the “sermon card” and see what is planned. For example, if your pastor is going preach on Mark 1:1-15 on Sunday, you would read Mark 1:1-15 every day along with your 3-4 chapters a day progression through Scripture.

So, Monday might be Genesis 1-3 and Mark 1:1-15. Tuesday would be Genesis 4-6 and Mark 1:1-15. You get the point.

By steeping your heart in the text that is going to be preached on Sunday, you prepare it to receive the Word more fully when it is preached from the pulpit. You will learn the text far better that way as well. You might even develop some helpful questions from your own close study of the text that you could send to your pastor in preparation for the sermon!

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Whatever option you go with, remember that when it comes to reading God’s Word, you can’t go wrong. You could read a chapter a day, a verse a day, or an entire book in a day (it only takes about 16 minutes to read all of Philippians, for example). Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how many pages of the Bible a Christian reads in a year, but how faithful we are to submit to God’s Word and humbly rely on it as our “daily bread” for all of life.

For indeed, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Or as the Anglican pastor and theologian J.C. Ryle once said, “We must read our Bibles like men digging for hidden treasure.”

Dig for treasure in the pages of the Bible this year. Whether you do that with a Cover-to-Cover Consecutive Reading Plan, the M’Cheyne Reading Plan, or the Cover-to-Cover Consecutive Plus Sunday Sermon Text Plan — or an entirely different plan of your own choosing — your soul will be edified and God will be glorified. For God has promised that His Word “shall not return to me empty, butit shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11) — and we can count on that promise coming to pass every time we open the Bible.

Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center.

William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe

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What are some good Bible reading plans? ›

7 Best Bible Reading Plans
  • The One-Year Bible Reading Plan. The one-year Bible reading plans are for those who want to study the full sweep of God's story through his Word. ...
  • Chronological Bible Reading Plan. ...
  • 100 Days with Christ. ...
  • Gratitude Bible Reading Plan. ...
  • Daily Audio Bible. ...
  • A daily proverb. ...
  • The Bible Project.

Where should I start reading my Bible plan? ›

The New Testament is the best place to start reading the Bible. The first four books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are accounts of Jesus' life and ministry and are often referred to as the gospels. Reading the gospels is like reading the journals of four friends who went on a road trip together.

What is the best way to read through the Bible in a year? ›

7 Tips for Reading the Bible in a Year
  1. Be Realistic in Your Goals. If you make a plan to read 10 chapters every day, you will certainly fall short at some point in time. ...
  2. Be Intentional. ...
  3. Find an Accountability Partner. ...
  4. Read Faithfully. ...
  5. Get an Audio Bible. ...
  6. Download Helpful Bible Apps. ...
  7. Pray for Perseverance.

What is the best way to read through the Bible? ›

Simply use the “chunk it up” method. Rather than setting out to read passage after passage simply for the sake of reading the Bible front to back, try reading it in very small bits and pieces. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and then choose a single verse or two. Read it, then read it again.

What is the biblical theme for 2023? ›

According to a notice sent to local leaders on Sept. 6, the youth theme chosen for 2023 is “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

What is the fastest way to learn the books of the Bible in order? ›

But let's focus on memorizing the order first.
To make that process riveting:
  1. Read as much as you can and also memorize facts about each book.
  2. Write summaries of each book and your thoughts about them.
  3. Discuss often with others.
  4. Listen to lectures about each book in order.
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What is a good book of the Bible to start a Bible study with? ›

Consider Reading Genesis First

Naturally, reading the beginning of any book would help you understand the rest. However, Genesis proves to be a more important beginning to a story than any other beginning you have ever read.

What books of the Bible should a beginner read first? ›

The Gospel and Acts – The Gospels constitute the best place to start. Knowing about the life, teaching, death, and resurrection of Christ is ground zero for the Christian faith. Among the Gospels, many identify Mark as the best “first” book to read.

What is the best way to study the Bible for beginners? ›

10 Tips for Studying the Bible
  1. Begin your study with prayer.
  2. You don't have to start at the beginning.
  3. Choose a topic relevant to you.
  4. Get to know a character.
  5. Write down what you learn.
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  7. Read or share with someone else.
  8. Look up what you don't understand.

What is the easiest form of the Bible to read? ›

The Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) is an English translation of the Bible compiled by the World Bible Translation Center. It was originally published as the English Version for the Deaf (EVD) by BakerBooks.

How long will it take to read the Bible if I read 1 chapter a day? ›

Even something as simple as reading one chapter a day (which takes no more than 5 to 10 minutes) will get you through the entire New Testament in just under 9 months. Reading one chapter a day will get you through the entire Bible in just three years and three months.

How many days a week should I read the Bible? ›

The more Christians read or listen to the Scriptures at least four times a week, the more bold they will be in sharing their faith and growing in their faith. Their lives will begin to have a profound impact on those immediately around them.

What should I read in the Bible to get closer to God? ›

Books of the Bible that Will Rejuvenate Your Faith Journey
  • Psalms. Psalms is a collection of 150 poems and songs. ...
  • Genesis. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is one of the most famous. ...
  • The Gospels. The Gospels include four books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. ...
  • Acts. ...
  • Romans. ...
  • Get Started On Your Journey.

What happens when you read the Bible everyday? ›

Reading the Bible on a regular and consistent basis has several benefits. First, the Bible shows us God's character and provides us God's revelation of himself to his people. In each section of the Bible, we see God's holy, unchanging, faithful, gracious and loving character.

What is the primary theme for 2023? ›

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What does the Bible say about the next generation? ›

We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

What are the 3 themes of the Bible? ›

The 4 Major Themes of the Bible: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration
  • There are 4 main themes that interconnect the history of the Judeo-Christian worldview. ...
  • He created the stars, galaxies, fish, cucumbers, trees, giraffes, and his greatest work of all, humankind.
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Which version of the Bible is easier to read and understand? ›

What version of the Bible is easiest to read? For many people, the New Living Translation (NLT) is the easiest version of the Bible to read because it uses normal modern English. It is an accurate thought-for-thought translation of the original languages of the Bible and is widely accepted.

Is it better to read the Bible in chronological order or book order? ›

Studying or reading the Bible chronologically will help bring clarity to His character, and provide a more full comprehension of who God is.

What is the best version of the Bible to start with? ›

Easiest Bible Version To Understand: New Living Translation (NLT) The NLT is one of the most readable translations of the Bible. It uses verbiage and language that is commonly used in modern day. While there are easier to read Bible translations, this one strikes a good balance between being literal and easy to read.

What is the 5x5x5 Bible reading plan? ›

The 5x5x5 New Testament Bible Reading Plan:

Provides an easy to remember method: five minutes a day; five days a week; with five ways to go deeper. Offers a journey through the entire New Testament in a year.


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