How To Read Through the Bible in 2015 (and Why You Should)

rtbfl-logoEarly in my ministry, I met a sweet widow named Marie. Marie was a godly woman. She was a poet, a prayer warrior, and a lover of Scripture. I remember once that Marie told me that she had read through the Bible from cover to cover over twenty times in her life. Her declaration both inspired and intimidated me. Since Marie had that conversation with me two decades ago, the status of the Bible in America has dwindled. Al Mohler adeptly dissects the latest attack on God’s Word from Newsweek. Moreover, in a 2014 Barna survey  39% of Millennials say they never read the Bible and only 37% of Americans claimed to have read the Bible at least once a week. Of course, it should be common sense that Christians should read the Bible. The reality is that few people read any part of the Bible, much less all of it. Compared to the devout Muslim or Orthodox Jew it is shameful just how little regard Christians give the Bible. It is more than shameful. It is sin.

A key part of my spiritual growth plan for 2015 is to read through the Bible because, as Don Whitney has said, “no one is changed by an unread Bible.” To help me stay on task I wrote down the top five reasons why I intend to read through the Bible in 2015.

  1. To Grow. I have already emphasized this, but it is only through immersion in God’s Word that I can have hope of growing in Christlikeness.
  2. To Learn. I want to learn more about Scripture. Yes, this goes along with growth, but I never ceased to be amazed at how fascinating the Bible story is! No matter how many times I read through the Bible, a new discovery is always there for me.
  3. To Organize. I need a framework for my daily quiet time. Having a scheduled Bible reading plan keeps me on track and helps me focus. I do better if I wake up knowing what to read next. I am free to deviate from this plan if I sense the Lord wanting me to linger in a passage, but having a plan helps me stay focused.
  4. To Apply. Again, this is linked to spiritual growth. We should never read the Bible without asking, “In light of this truth, what am I supposed to do?” Common sense dictates that I cannot apply the Bible until I have read the Bible.
  5. To Model. As a young disciple, Marie gave me a gift in her example. Likewise, I want to set an example for my family and other Christians. This is one way disciples can “spur one another on to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).

While there are many good Bible reading plans out there, I will use the plan developed by George Guthrie called “Read the Bible for Life.” Here’s why I recommend it to you:

It is chronological. The readings are organized to read through the events of the Bible as a story in the order of the events in time. This helps me get the context, particularly when reading the history sections along with the prophetic books.

It has lots of helps. Guthrie has written several companion resources to help a reader stay on track and get the most understanding and application out of Bible reading. More here.

It has an abbreviated plan. For those who may feel overwhelmed by starting off with the whole Bible, Guthrie has included a “Start Here” plan that provides key chapters only but follows the same schedule as the full readings. This is great for the new believer reading for the first time. It is also a good tool for families. In the past my kids have read the abbreviated plan while my wife and I read the full version. This kept us on pace as a family but didn’t set too high a bar for the children.

It is available on YouVersion. I prefer using a paper Bible for my reading, but as one of the numerous options on the Bible app from YouVersion (called Reading God’s Story in the reading plans) I have access to the plan on my iPhone for when I am traveling. I can also check off my readings on the app, helping me stay on target.

It has a make up day. The plan is scheduled for reading six days a week. This allows me a catch up day for the inevitable week(s) I miss a day.

So, start today. Click here and you can begin your reading plan in less than a minute. Make 2015 your most spiritually fruitful year ever by reading the Bible for life!