You want to read the Bible – but where do you start? Sixty six individual books are contained between its covers, some of which are intimidating and long. Perhaps you’ve never read the Bible through, or maybe there are books of the Bible you’ve never read at all!
If so, you’re not alone. One of the best ways to diligently approach the Word daily is to follow a Bible reading plan. This gives you the structure you need to know where to study. Plans will give you a passage each day, whether in a specific book or on a specific topic, to help you stay on track with your study time.
But with so many plans out there, how do you choose? Apps like YouVersion and Bible Gateway have some pretty awesome options. But even among those options you have to decide what plan works best for the place you’re at in life. If you’re stuck in a study plan quandary, here are some tips:
Assess Your Current Bible Study Temperature
If it’s been a long time since you really dug into the Word and you aren’t accustomed to deep study, it may be best to begin with a shorter book, like one of the New Testament epistles. Use this to get in the habit of opening the Word, taking notes, and really studying what God is saying through the text. Or perhaps you’re a regular student but you read the same books over and over – perhaps Psalms or Romans. For you, a more challenging book that requires historical context and deeper study would take you deeper in your understanding. You could do a plan on Ezekiel or Isaiah.
Decide How Long the Plan Will Last
I love reading through or listening to the Bible each year. However, when you’re reading a lot of chapters in one day it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Beginner bible students often feel discouraged by the sheer number of chapters and aren’t sure how to take notes or go deeper in the passage. If this sounds like you, you have a few options. First, do a one year plan over the course of two years, taking two days for each passage suggestion instead of one. Second, do shorter terms plans – 30-day or 3-month – instead of biting off a year-long plan right away.
Combine Length and Topic
Once you know what book you want to study and how long you want to take, search “30-day Romans plan” in the apps or online. You can either check off your progress in the app, or print out the plan and check it off manually. If you tend to get distracted reading on your phone, I suggest printing off the plan. Actually, I suggest using your actual Bible for your study time at least three times a week, preferably with a notebook where you can write thoughts, notes and prayers.
If you need more help with Bible study, I have a free Bible Study Jump Start email course with daily tips to help you become confident in your study time this year! I also suggest Jen Wilkin’s book Women of the Word for learning more about how to study and go deeper with the Lord.
Have you chosen your Bible study plan? Share with us in the comments!