Ligonier Ministries have released their annual Bible reading plans for 2019. You can view their downloadable plans here.
If you have never read through the Bible in its entirety and were considering doing a plan for the upcoming year, Ligonier may have a plan to suit your need. They have everything from structured plans to flexible plans. They have plans that cover three-year periods or one-year periods. Some of the plans only focus on one book of the Bible, like The Gospel According to Matthew, others only on the New Testament, while most focus on the whole Bible. There really is a plan for every personality!
I highly commend committing 2019 to some sort of plan for studying Scripture, whether it be a more flexible approach or a more structured approach. Whether it be the short one year approach or the stretched-out-over-three-years approach. Spending your year immersed in Scripture will give you a better understanding of the big picture of redemption, and it will introduce you to characters, narratives, themes, and stories you may never have heard of before. But above all, it will teach you more about God and his dealings with us as His people.
Now, you may be like me who have often fallen behind in your readings. This can be frustrating and discouraging. If so, here is some advice: plan to start and plan to finish. Whether you are a more diligent follower of structures and finish right on schedule, or whether you fall behind at times and finish behind schedule, the goal is to begin and to finish, regardless of when you finish. Press on, even if you fall behind, and pick up from where you left off. I have a Bible Reading App that I reset to start from where I left off, which encourages me when I have fallen behind. Remember: this is not a race and it is not a test on how spiritual you are. It is simply making a commitment to immerse yourself in the Word of God so that you can come to know the God of the Word more intimately. It is for your benefit. It is in your secret place. It is at your time and pace.
For those doing a Bible reading plan for the first time, there is a plan "5x5x5 New Testament Bible Reading Plan". Perhaps you want to start here. This is recommended on the site for those new to Bible reading plans since it focuses only on the New Testament (manageable) and readings are scheduled only for weekdays, leaving the weekends for other readings and reflection (or catch-up on missed days).
One of the plans that struck me is the 52 Week Bible Reading Plan, which gives one reading every day of the week dedicated to a particular genre of Biblical literature (i.e. historical, Psalms, Gospel, etc.). This is a great plan for coming to grips with the various genres in Scripture and also keeps each day focused on a different sort of reading.
So how do I choose a plan? Consider your personality, your time constraints, and your desires. If you are a super structured person with a daily scheduled devotional period of 30 minutes or more, take a reading plan that will take you through all of Scripture in one year. If you are a novice to reading plans, download the New Testament plan to begin with. If you are a person who's interests change with the weather, perhaps a focus on genres will keep you interested (and don't worry if you fall behind!). If you like to create your own plan, download "The Bible Reading Chart" and plot your own course at your own pace. But whatever you do, be like Augustine and "Pick up and read!" When you have picked a plan, pick a time and place and create an environment where you can sit daily. If you like to make notes, have a pencil or pen at hand with paper or a journal. If you prefer to mark up your Bible, buy a new paperback cheapie from your local bookstore and mark it up. Whatever you do, in the words of Kevin de Young, "Just Do It!"
Now stop wasting time reading this blog. Go check out the plans! Really, there is a plan for everyone and you can click here to find one tailored to your needs.
I am the pastor/elder of a small suburban church on the outskirts of Cape Town. I enjoy coffee, theology, and fresh air. We are grateful to have all three in abundance.