For many, the New Year is a time to make resolutions – commitments towards making personal improvements. While I don’t claim to be an expert on such things, I seem to recall reading that the vast majority of New Years Resolutions end up being unmet within a matter of weeks. This is unsurprising, as oftentimes we set New Years Resolutions that leave no margin for error, and then the second we go off track for even a moment it’s impossible to recover.
It’s also quite common for Christians to start Bible reading plans at the beginning of the New Year. And much like New Years Resolutions, it seems that these well-intentioned plans often get abandoned within a matter of weeks, often for the same reasons. For a certain personality type, Bible reading plans which specify the exact passage of Scripture to read each day like the M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan are incredibly helpful.
But for others, attempting to follow a Bible reading plan that is so prescriptive is a recipe for failure. I’ve spoken to many well-intentioned Christians over the years who undertook such a plan- but then unexpected realities of life caused them to get a day or two behind here, then a day or two behind there, until they quickly got to the point where they were feeling tremendous guilt and pressure to read broad swaths of Scripture quickly just to get back on schedule. Unsurprisingly, more often than not they abandon such plans.
I’ve spoken to others who find that these plans, with their prescribed amount of reading each day, cause them to feel like they can’t spend the time that they want on certain passages, removing the devotional aspect of Scripture reading in the name of brute efficiency.
As I mentioned, for certain highly structured individuals, plans that specify exactly which passage to read on which day are a blessing. But for others, that level of structure takes the reading of God’s Word – something that should be a delight, a feast, a salve for our weary souls – and turns it into a burdensome, guilt-laden chore.
If any part of the previous paragraphs resonated with you, I’d like to share a Bible reading plan that you might consider for 2022. The plan below is intended to serve those who are looking for some structure for their Bible reading without the unnecessary pressure of making the exact amount of specified daily process.
Here are the noteworthy features of this plan:
- The plan is broken up into four quarters, with a book slated for each month.
- During the month, the intent is that you read the specified book at whatever pace and speed works best for you. It’s more important that you are regularly reading the Word than it is that you cover an exact amount of distance each day.
- You’ll likely find that for many of these book, you will finish before the month is over. That’s a feature, not a bug. The intent is that you will start over again and re-read the book. In some cases with some of the shorter books (like, for example, Titus), that may mean that you’ll read the book quite a few times over the course of the month. As Nate Pickowicz says in his excellent book, How to Eat Your Bible, when you re-read the same book of Scripture several times in the same month you develop a deep sense of familiarity, such that at the end of the month you may find moving on to the next book is like saying goodbye to an old friend.
- For some books – I am specifically thinking of 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, and Hebrews – you may find that both the length and the depth of these books takes you longer than a month. That’s fine – each of the months with a longer book is followed by a month with a shorter, easier book. The intent here is that, for example, if it takes five weeks for you to finish the sixteen chapters of 1 Corinthians, you can “make up” that time in the much shorter Titus (just three chapters that are packed with rich, practical doctrine for Christian living).
- Related to the point above – the reason I have divided this plan into quarters is because as long as you are generally on track from a quarterly perspective, you will easily complete this plan over the course of the year. Hopefully this takes the pressure off of you – if you have to miss a day here or there, or if you need to stop and re-read a section a few times as you prayerfully work through it, you don’t need to feel unneccesary and unhelpful pressure to get back on track. As long as you are generally at the right spot at the start of a new quarter, you are right on track for where you need to be.
You can find a printable version of the plan here.
You are free to print, reproduce, or share this plan, although if you modify or share I’d appreciate it if you mention that you got the plan from OfFirstImportance.com.
Thanks Dave! Will try it out!
Looks much more meaty than just a sequential “whole bible in a year”.