(The following is a transcript from Stephen Castleberry’s YouTube series: Bible Tidbits. Follow the link below to view the video.)
If you’re a Christian, you have probably made a New Year’s resolution to “read your Bible more” or “read the Bible in a year” or “spend more time hearing from God” or something like that. Those are great things to want, but can I make a suggestion? Don’t simply wish to make that happen, plan and work to make that happen.
Resolutions fail because all we have is a wish for things to change but not a plan for things to be different. Plan the work, then work the plan—that’s how things happen. I can’t do the work of intentionally reading God’s Word for you, but I can help you with the plan.
For years I have used Bible reading plans on things like YouVersion—a free app I highly recommend you download—or using my daily chronological Bible, but I wanted to do things differently for 2021. For the past several years, I have had the same complaint with my Bible reading plan. It’s a weird one and I’m probably the only one who dislikes this, but here it is: No matter if you are reading through the Bible chronologically or going book by book, you always hit Revelation between Christmas and New Year’s.
It’s the time where you’re opening gifts, enjoying family, holiday cheer, and then you’re reading about the Great Tribulation—kind of a weird mix of moods if you ask me. So I decided to create my own Bible reading plans and I want to share them with you.
I have three plans:
reading the Old Testament in a year
reading the New Testament in a year
reading the whole Bible in one year (the first two plans combined)
All three plans are weekday-only ones—meaning that there is a selection for reading Monday through Friday with nothing on the weekend. I chose this for two reasons:
First, it’s easy to get derailed if you travel on the weekends and have to make up three days worth of reading on Monday—I don’t want you to stop reading if you miss a weekend, so the plans are Monday through Friday.
Second, having nothing on the weekends gives you time to catch up if you miss a day or two during the week. Reading part or the whole Bible in a year is a big commitment, so having some built-in grace is helpful. If you want to read on the weekends, you can either get ahead or simply read something of your choice. You’ll also notice that there are no dates on the plans—just weeks. This is intentional so you can start this plan anytime.
Let’s talk about the “Old Testament in One Year” plan. I love reading the Bible chronologically (except for the Revelation at Christmas part) and arranged by chapter. For you Bible scholars out there, yes, I could have broken down the Bible chronologically by verse, especially in the Kings/Chronicles section, but for simplicity’s sake, I kept chapters together.
What I love about reading the Old Testament chronologically is that you get to live the story of Israel as it unfolded in history. For instance, that’s why in Week One you go from Genesis 11 to Job 1. If you’ve always wanted to see how we went from Creation to just before the birth of Christ, this is the plan for you.
Up next is the considerably shorter “New Testament in One Year” at just one chapter a day. This reading plan is pretty unique—I break it into four parts, each anchored by one of the Gospels.
Part One: Luke and Paul. They were traveling companions as Paul planted churches throughout the Roman Empire. We start with Luke’s Gospel then read its sequel, Acts along with the letters Paul wrote throughout his life interspersed as he wrote them throughout Acts’ timeline.
Part Two: Mark and Peter – Peter was a mentor to Mark and provided Mark with the information he needed to write his Gospel. In this section, we’ll read the Gospel of Mark and First and Second Peter.
Part Three: John’s section, covering all the books he wrote: the Gospel of John; First, Second, and Third John; and Revelation.
Part Four: We end with what I call the Hebrew section where we will look at Jesus from a uniquely Jewish perspective through the Gospel of Matthew, James, Hebrews, and Jude. I’m pretty excited about reading through the New Testament in this way. If it intrigues you, check out the link below.
Finally, if you want to read through the “Whole Bible in One Year”—something you can totally do—I’ve combined the previous two plans into one mega-plan. Each day you will read a little of the Old Testament chronologically and a little of the New Testament broken up how we just discussed. You guessed it, it’s also linked below.
So what’s your Bible reading goal for 2021? Is it one of mine or is it another one you’ve already discovered? That’s totally cool, too. After years of using “read the whole Bible” plans, I am intentionally scaling back this year to slowly and deeply read the New Testament.
There’s value in reading a lot fast and there’s value in reading a little slowly. This year, I’m choosing to do a little slowly. I’ll also keep reading a chapter of Proverbs each day—because I need the wisdom! So I read Proverbs 1 on the first day of the month, Proverbs 2 on the second, and so on until I start again when a new month arrives.
I hope this video gave you some fresh ideas and even challenged you to dig into God’s Word in 2021. If you think this content would be helpful to someone you know, share it It’s super easy on your part, but could radically change someone’s life! You never know what God will do! Also, be sure to subscribe on YouTube if you want more content like this every single week.
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Links to ALL the Bible plans mentioned in the article can be found below.
See you next time—grace and peace.
Copyright © 2021 by Stephen Castleberry @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5SzwVN1-sw. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.