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Choosing a Bible Reading Plan for the New Year

Choosing a Bible Reading Plan

After Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and nights, the devil tempted Him to turn stones into loaves of bread—something the Son of God surely could have done in that moment. But instead of performing that miracle, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

We simply cannot overstate the importance and power of God’s Word. And we are blessed to live in an age in which literacy rates and accessibility to the Bible are at all-time highs. Within a few taps on our phone screens, we can read something for which many faithful followers of Christ have died. It’s a glorious gift that we should never take for granted. So, whether you are setting out to read the Bible for the first time or the fiftieth, we hope one of these plans will help you say with the psalmist,

In the way of your testimonies I delight
 as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
 And fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
 I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:14–16)

M’Cheyne Reading Plan

If you’re a longtime listener to Alistair’s sermons, there’s a good chance you’ve heard him reference Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s reading plan. It has long been a part of his spiritual diet, and Truth For Life makes it available in several different formats to make it very accessible. You can bookmark this page, purchase this $1 booklet, download or print this PDF, or subscribe to either of our daily emails.

The M’Cheyne reading plan will guide you through four passages of Scripture each day, giving you a road map for reading the entire Bible over the course of the year. In his suggested readings, M’Cheyne divides the plan into two parts: one for personal reading and one that can be read together as a family. When you use this daily plan, you'll end the year having read the entire Old Testament once and the New Testament and the book of Psalms twice!

Bible through the Year

If you plan on using Alistair’s new daily devotional, Truth For Life, over the course of the next year, you can find this plan at the bottom of each page. This plan has been arranged by the book’s publisher, The Good Book Company, and it will take you through each chapter of Scripture in a year’s time. (This plan is not presently available online.)

Chronological Plans

It has often been said that the Bible is best understood when we begin in the back of the book. That doesn’t mean we start with Revelation 22:21 and work our way to Genesis 1:1; it just means that our studies of the Old Testament are greatly helped when we have a firm grasp on the events of the New Testament.

That said, many have been helped by chronological plans like this one. Chronological plans are arranged with the aim of walking the reader through God’s Word in the order in which the events across all sixty-six books actually unfolded.

Listening Plans

Sometimes the circumstances of life make listening to the Bible much more manageable than sitting down and reading without any interruption. There certainly are pros and cons to listening, but there’s no doubt that it can be a tremendous supplement to one’s daily spiritual disciplines. You can find the entire ESV audio Bible available on the website or in the Truth For Life app.

Additionally, the publishing ministry Crossway has created the following Bible reading podcasts to which you can subscribe and listen daily:

M'Cheyne Reading Plan

This is the same M'Cheyne reading plan mentioned above. Each day has two passages from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, and one from either the Psalms or the Gospels. In one year, you’ll hear the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice.

Digging Deep into the Bible

This podcast is designed to help you hear the entire Bible in a year through 365 daily readings, each with passages from four sections of the Bible each day: the Psalms and Wisdom Literature, Pentateuch and History of Israel, Chronicles and Prophets, and Gospels and Epistles. This popular plan is featured in the best-selling ESV Study Bible.

Straight through the Bible

This plan is designed to take you straight through the Bible, cover to cover. Each day, you will hear a portion of the biblical text—about three chapters on average.


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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.