God has not told us when or how often we should read the Scriptures. He just told us we need them in order to live: “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). God’s words are life to us because of the life that is available through faith in Jesus Christ, who says, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger” (John 6:35).
As with most things that are important, it’s always good to have a plan. Most of us have some kind of strategy for what we will eat in a day. So, it seems practical and wise to plan for how we will read the Bible.
WHAT TO READ AND WHEN
The following reading rhythm will get you through the Bible in one year.
- Old Testament: Read 2-3 chapters per day and take 4 days off per month. Read 1-3 designated one-sitting Old Testament books in each quarter, indicated in blue. Reading several books in one sitting like this helps keep the daily chapter readings manageable. These specific books were chosen because they are the right length to keep the reading plan simple, and because some books, such as 1 and 2 Chronicles, can be helpfully read in a single sitting for the big picture.
- New Testament: Read 1 chapter per day and take 4 days off per month. One gospel is assigned to each quarter and Romans and Hebrews are assigned twice across the year.
- Quarterly Format: Some people prefer a reading assigned to each calendar day. This plan assigns several books of the Bible to each quarter and gives you a reading rhythm to follow. If you get behind, don’t feel like you have to catch up now. Just get back on the wagon and catch up on your own time by the end of the quarter.
- Reading Both Testaments Together: Since we read the Old Testament from our New Testament perspective, it is good to read both testaments together. Romans and Hebrews are assigned twice, since these two books are especially helpful for seeing how the Bible’s story unfolds and how the Old and New Testaments relate.
- Redemptive Historical Highlights: Every chapter in the Bible is important since every word in the book is from God. But some chapters are more crucial for helping us understand the overall narrative of the Bible’s salvation story. Red highlights indicate these kinds of chapters. Old Testament highlights indicate promises of a prophet, a priest, a king, a new exodus, a new creation, etc. to come. Others show the need for the promised savior in the unfolding drama of God’s grace toward sinful humanity. New Testament highlights show the fulfillment of these expectations in Jesus Christ.
Enjoy the Bread of Life, and let me know how it goes.