Let’s be honest: you want to read the Bible, but it seems no matter how many times you’ve tried following Bible reading plans, you just can’t get past Leviticus.
I get it. Really, I do.
For years I started the new year with resolutions to read through the Bible, only to slack off. We want to read the Bible, but we feel overwhelmed and guilty. So because we can’t stick with our plan, we often avoid it completely.
Here’s a secret: You DON’T have to read through the entire Bible in a year nor do you have to read it alone.
It’s much better to take one book at a time and dig deep, allowing the Spirit to change your heart, than to simply check a box. And that transformation is compounded when you read Scripture alongside others as well.
My slacker tendencies changed several years ago when I started reading the Bible with an online community, and since then I’ve led thousands of women through Bible reading plans, many of which I’ve created specifically for our community.
Every time we read the bible together, I continue to be impressed by the power of reading Scripture together in community. (Which shouldn’t be surprising, because if you think of it, that’s how Scripture was intended to be read in the first place: in community!)
So if you’re a chronic Bible-reading slacker, grab a buddy and start reading the Bible with one of the reading plans below, letting God’s Word it soak into your heart and mind rather than rushing through it by yourself to “get it done.”
You’ll notice that the Bible reading plans I’ve outlined below start short and simple, and gradually become longer as you progress. But don’t worry! Even the longer plans have helpful features that will help you stick with your Bible reading habit long-term. Read on, and you’ll find out exactly what I mean:
The Five-Day Food Is Not the Enemy Plan (over 100,000 completions)
If you’re struggling to read your Bible consistently, why not start with a short Bible reading plan that addresses a real need or struggle in your life? I wrote this 5-day reading plan and devotional based on my own need to learn what the Bible says about food, and over 100,000 people have successfully read it and started gaining freedom in their food struggles. Even if you’ve bailed on Bible reading plans before, you can do anything for 5 days, right? Why not start here, and then keep going with the Bible & Breakfast plan.
31-Day Bible and Breakfast Plan (over 10,000 completions)
Based on a community reading event started in October 2018, the 31-Day Bible and Breakfast reading challenge is just that: an invitation to read the Bible while you eat breakfast for 31 days. While it started as a month-long read-along, it’s turned into a book that offers both a “snack-sized” daily devotional for the days you only have a few minutes and/or an inductive Bible study “feast” for the days you want to dig deep into Scripture. You can try the free 31-day reading plan here, or buy the book for the full experience here. What makes this plan work for self-labeled “slackers” is that you have the option to choose a “snack” or a “feast” each day of the month, so it’s easy to stick with your new Bible-reading habit, and at the end of the month you’re on a long streak and well on your way to being the kind of person who reads the Bible every day! Plus, you’re linking a new habit (reading the Bible) with an established habit (eating breakfast), which has been scientifically proven to help you maintain a desired habit long-term!
6-week He Is Enough Bible study and reading plan (individual or group use)
The genius of this Bible study and reading plan is that it builds on the 31-day Bible and Breakfast format, and continues the “snack” and “feast” approach that gives you flexibility to choose a shorter or longer reading based on how much time you have each day. This Bible study takes you through the book of Colossians verse-by-verse, and it spans six weeks, which means that if you’ve followed the first three plans in order, you’ll have been reading the Bible each day for over two months. Way to go! You’re well on your way to establishing a daily habit of feeding your soul on God’s Word and feasting on the Bread of Life. Keep it up!
The Bible Project Chronological Bible-in-a-Year Plan (with videos)
Once you’ve established a daily Bible reading habit, you can now commit to a long-term reading plan, like reading the Bible in a year. I prefer reading chronologically (in the order events happened), but you’ll see other recommendations below. What I’ve found really helps me stick with these reading plans though is the companion videos from The Bible Project. Most recently (in 2021) I’ve been reading through this one, but I’ve also used this chronological reading plan twice.
Read the Bible in Two Years:
An alternative to the chronological reading plan above is to take it more slowly and read the Bible over the span of two years, still following along with explanatory videos (which I HIGHLY recommend—not just because it helps keep you interested in engaged, but also because you learn and understand SO MUCH more than when you’re trying to slodge through genealogies and prophesies on your own). You could read the Old Testament in 365 Days (with videos) and then the New Testament in 365 Days (with videos). Either way, I suggest you use the “invite” feature to invite your friends to read along with you and share your aha moments or questions with each other using the built-in comment feature.
Traditional M’Cheyne Plan (not for the faint of heart)
I’m including this reading plan because it’s traditionally one of the most well-known reading plans, but let me warn you it’s not for the faint of heart). Basically, you read four chapters a day, going through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in one year. It was developed by a nineteenth-century pastor, and it may be something you’d like to try once you’ve well established in your daily Bible reading habit.
Seven Year Bible Plan (aka How to Eat Your Bible)
I recently read this book by Nate Pickowicz and was so intrigued that I think this is what I’m going to try next. Basically, you pick a book of the Bible and read through it 30 times in a row before moving on to the next book. If it’s a short book (like one of the epistles), you might read the whole book each day (which surprisingly takes less than 20 minutes). If it’s a longer book (like Psalms, Isaiah, Deuteronomy), you read 20-30 minutes at a time, until you’ve read through the whole book, and then start over again, until you’ve read it through 30 times. At this rate, it will take about seven years to read the Bible, but the goal here is not speed but rather comprehension and meditation (and perhaps memorization too). Like I said, I’m intrigued by this idea, and if you are too, you can find out more here.
The New Covenant in 90 Days (audio edition)
If you’re an auditory learner, you might benefit from listening to the Bible while you also read along. Even if you don’t consider yourself a primarily auditory learner, you’ll probably still get more out of your reading this way (and bonus: you’ll be more likely to stick with your Bible reading plan if all you have to do is push a button and listen on your morning commute or while folding laundry or chopping vegetables). I listened to the whole Bible in about four months when my firstborn was an infant, and it was what kept me awake and going during those middle-of-the-night feedings. I’ve also listened to the entire New Testament in 90 days during the 2020 lockdown using the Dwell Bible App, and I’ve continued using it to listen to my daily reading while following along with my She Reads Truth Bible and highlighters. You can get up to 30% off through my partner link here
Reading in Community
Regardless of which Bible reading plan you choose, I do recommend that you connect with others who are reading the Bible and encourage each other in your Bible reading habit! You can find a Bible study group at your church or in your community, but there are lots of online communities too, like She Reads Truth and First 5. And with all the simple Bible reading plans to choose from, you can pick one that fits, complete that session, and then pick another one when you’re finished.