“Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”Charles Spurgeon
The Bible is an amazing book; we can’t study it enough. Keep studying, learning, and growing. We turn to the Bible to learn, and then we also turn to the Bible in difficult times for comfort and consolation. “When the world beats you down, open up your Bible,” said Lysa TerKeurst.
Turning a Bible study into a habit means it will actually happen. We really only need 3 things for a solid Bible study:
- A Bible
- Time set aside
- The will to get started
An optional #4 is why you’re here: a Bible study plan. This is helpful to keep you on track. When we expect to “just read” each day, it’s not easy to make it a habit, but if we use a plan—especially one we can “check off” each day—we’re more likely to stay on track.
“Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.”Helen Keller (emphasis mine)
Make it a daily practice. Block out the time and study. Don’t just read it without retaining. Get into the Word, write in your Bible, highlight, make notes. I quote Spurgeon again: “A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” How true is that? Put in the work. It’s worth it.
2021 is approaching quickly, and we love to start new things on January 1st. I’m not going to go into the research and studies on how these resolutions often fail, because 1) you are actually going to stick with it, right? …and 2) Bible studies are something people actually do seem to stick with throughout the year, even after they stop going to the gym, and start eating whatever they want again.
Additionally, we need to remember to apply the things we learn to our life. I always begin my Bible study with brief meditation,1 a worship song, prayer, and then reading. I always pray God will help me apply this knowledge and wisdom to live differently and to become more Christlike each day. Francis Chan, author Crazy Love (among many other great books), says, “Don’t fall into the trap of studying the Bible without doing what it says.” Or as James said,
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.James 1:22-25
Yes, this week I’m taking a break from talking about money, and focusing entirely on Jesus. It’s Christmas week after all. How appropriate it is that we talk about studying God’s Word right now.2
“We go from Malachi to Matthew in one page of our scriptures, but that one piece of paper that separates the Old Testament from the New Testament represents 400 years of history – 400 years where there wasn’t a prophet, 400 years where God’s voice wasn’t heard. And that silence was broken with the cry of a baby on Christmas night.”Louie Giglio
I hope you find a good Bible study below. The amount of options we have to study God’s Word is a blessing in itself.
Note: All of these plans can be found at Bible.com, or within their YouVersion Bible app. I was originally going to include plans from multiple locations, but honestly, this is a resource that has almost any plan you could ever want. There are links to each plan below.
1. Bible 2021
Reading the Bible aloud for one minute a day.
This is pretty cool. We don’t tend to read the Bible aloud often. I like the idea of this and it could be done in conjunction with any other plan below. Here’s what the plan creators say about it: “Be part of a global movement changing the world around you by reading the Bible aloud for just one minute every day. The Bible is powerful – it is God’s own word written for us, and it changes lives forever. Started in 2020 and continuing into 2021, we are bringing people together to read the same passage of the Bible every day across the world.”
2. The Bible Project Plan
The complete Bible with video introductions.
This was my 2019 plan and I loved it. Each week, in this 365-day plan, you’ll read chapters grouped and organized. In other words, if a certain topic spans three chapters, you’ll read three. If it spans, six, you’ll read six. The coolest thing about this plan is, at the beginning of each book, you’ll watch the Bible Project’s signature explanatory videos. Along with other topical videos throughout.
3. Bible in 90 Days
The complete Bible with a lot of daily reading.
Yes, this is the entire Old and New Testament is 90 days. The plan says it’s roughly 12 pages a day, which is a commitment to be sure, but not impossible. If you stick with it, you could read the Bible four times throughout next year. That being said, if you’re looking to spend more time on each chapter, consider the next plan.
4. Daily New Testament
The New Testament only with minimal daily reading for deep study.
In contrast to reading the entire Bible four times in a year, as the previous plan allows, in this plan, you will read through only the New Testament, once, over the year. That means you will have a short reading each day — only one chapter. If you’re looking to deep-dive into Jesus’ teaching, this is a good plan for you. There’s a brief devotional explaining each chapter before you read it. This is the plan I did for 2020.
5. Chronological Bible Plan
The complete Bible in chronological order.
The complete Old and New Testament, organized in order of when the events happened, according to the most recent research. You’ll start with Genesis, and quickly get into Job, and then continue on in chronological order throughout the entire Bible. If you’ve always read the Bible in the order the books were canonized (the order they appear in your Bible), consider trying this way for a year.
6. Whole Bible in Under Two Years
A slower reading plan for a deeper study.
If you’re wanting to spend more time in each book, and you don’t have an hour a day to do so with a 365-day plan, consider doubling the time it takes you to read through and read the entire Old and New Testament in two years, instead of one.
7. Four Streams Bible Reading Plan
Heavy on the New Testament, still including the Old.
This is a unique plan created by John Morton and Tom Anderson, members of the Four Streams ministry team, which goes through the New Testament and Proverbs four times, the Psalms twice, and the Old Testament once. It’s heavily focused on the teachings of Jesus, while including the Old Testament teachings too.
8. Life Journal Reading Plan
New Testament twice, Old Testament once.
Similar to the previous plan, you’ll read through the New Testament twice, and the Old Testament once over the year. However, there is a little less reading with this one, since it omits the daily Psalm and you only read Proverbs once.
9. The Entire Bible in a Year
A balanced daily reading of the Old and New Testament.
This reading plan guides you through the entire Bible in one year reading every verse, chapter and book one time. You’ll read from the Old Testament and New Testament everyday and a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs every second day. It’s a balanced way to read the entire Bible in a year.
10. 5x5x5 Reading Plan
The New testament in 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Five minutes a day, five days a week, five ways to dig deeper. In Discipleship Journal’s plan, you’ll read one chapter a day, but only five days a week. It’s great if you are limited on time. It also omits the excuse of not having enough time to read the bible — it only takes five minutes.
11. An In-Depth Study of Matthew
A very deep and slow study, starting with Matthew.
This is a 193-day study through the book of Matthew. It dives deep into each word. This would be a good start to a lifelong deep-dive into the entire New and Old Testament… eventually. These daily studies are taken from Tabletalk, a devotional magazine from Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. Once you finish Matthew, you could continue on through the New Testament with other deep studies on the other books.
The Bible Plan for You
You have endless options for a Bible plan. You can choose any of these, or one of the physical study plans below. And it’s not like a set plan is mandatory. If you prefer to just read your Bible daily, and pick whichever chapters you want, that works too. The important thing is spending time in God’s Word.
If you start in prayer, and read fervently, you’re going to grow as a Christian.
Figure out how to fit this into your schedule. If you have five minutes, that’s great, there are plenty of quick plans. If you have 30 minutes or an hour, even better, you don’t just have to stick to one plan. But the goal is to grow in our spiritual wisdom and relationship with God, not just to read as much as we can each day.
I hope you have an idea of what you want to start next in your Bible reading.
God bless and Merry Christmas!
Physical Bible Study Plans
- Large-Family Minimalism: How We Declutter 5,000 Things a Year
- Budgeting for Kids: How to Teach Budgeting From Age 3 to 18
- The Media Threat: How Much Screen Time is Too Much?
- How to Teach Your Kids to Invest
- 47 Things You Weren’t Taught in School (That Our Kids Need to Know)
- How to Save Money on EVERYTHING for Your Family: The Complete Guide
- I use the Insight Timer app for meditation (it has many Christian meditations), but you can also just focus on your breathing and listing to the Holy Spirt for a few minutes before you begin reading.
- It’s not the time or place to discuss that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25th — that’s not the point. Let Christmas simply be a time to celebrate Jesus, regardless of when He was actually born.