Bible Reading Plan

Greg Strand – January 4, 2013 2 Comments

One of the most important spiritual disciplines in which Christians ought to engage is the faithful reading of the Bible. For many of us, January is the time when that annual read-through the Bible plan begins. I would encourage you to find a Bible reading plan that brings you through the Bible in one year, or two years if you desire to read and ponder more slowly, and then make the daily reading a part of your life. For Christians this is not optional but essential for the well-being of one’s spiritual life.

A great guide that has been used profitably by many is Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Bible Reading Calendar. This guide has you read four different texts each day, and allows you to read through the Old Testament once, and the Psalms and the New Testament twice. A great help in this regard are the two volumes written by D. A. Carson, For the Love of God (Crossway), now available online. One of the daily Bible readings from M’Cheyne’s guide is explained, and the reading is also placed in the context of the whole Bible. This is an excellent devotional commentary; I know of none any better. (Carson is also writing volumes 3 and 4 in this series, so that each of the four daily readings will be commented upon, thus making a daily devotional/commentary on the whole Bible.)

Over the years, I have used M’Cheyne’s plan numerous times, along with Carson’s devotional commentary and profited greatly. The last two years, I used a combination of M’Cheyne’s Bible reading guide along with The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan. The Discipleship Journal Plan has you read four different texts of Scripture each day for 25 days each month, thus allowing for further study on some days or catch up on the reading, if necessary, and allows you to read through the whole Bible. I followed M’Cheyne for the Old Testament reading, which I completed in two years. I followed the Discipleship Journal plan for the New Testament, the Psalms and Proverbs.

This year I am using The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan once again. What is your plan to read the Bible in 2013? (If you need help to figure out which plan might be the best for you, Justin Taylor includes an annual post addressing this question.)

Greg Strand


Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

2 responses to Bible Reading Plan

  1. A personal routine I’ve managed to maintain includes reading Chambers’ “My Utmost for His Highest” then Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening Devotions” (morning), then one-to-many sequential chapters in God’s Word (depending upon the time available in the morning). Slowly, deliberately, intentionally, I’ve read the NASB version of the Bible, the Reformed NASB and am now reading through the ESV. As is God, wherever I happen to be when in the Word each morning, is applicable to my daily life. Most evenings I close my day with Spurgeon’s Evening devotion and journaled prayer, (a nice bookend to the day).

    Must admit, the M’Cheyne and Carson combo intrigued me. I’ll have to look into that as a future daily routine…

    • Thank you for sharing your plan, Donna.

      The M’Cheyne Bible reading plan along with the Carson devotional commentary is rigorous in that it is through the OT once and the Psalms and NT twice. It is, however, very good, not just for growing in the content of the Bible but also for putting the whole Bible together, i.e. understanding both the parts and the whole, with the goal of loving God and being transformed into the image of the Son.

      In fact, for those in the three-year licensing process leading to ordination, I encourage them to follow this plan for those three years, not just to gain what I noted above, but also so that after three years it will be a discipline that will become part of life so that this important discipline will continue throughout life.

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