I’m leading our church to read through the Bible in 2021. We’re using George Guthrie’s Reading God’s Story One-Year Chronological Plan. You can follow along with me on the YouVersion Bible App and search the reading plans for Reading God’s Story.
You’ll see more of why we’re using a chronological Bible reading plan in a post on the church website.
I have read through the Bible several times. And each time, I see things I’ve never seen before. For the past two years, I used the 5x5x5 plan from Discipleship Journal (from the Navigators) to read through the New Testament in a year in five minutes, five days a week. I felt that it was time to read through the Bible — the whole Bible — in 2021 to get a fresh view of God’s unfolding grace from the beginning to the end of the Bible.
Let me encourage you to try a new translation of the Bible this year. The Bible App offers many to choose from! If you normally use an older translation like the King James Version, try something newer like the Christian Standard Bible. If you’re used to using one of the “literal” versions (NASB, ESV, CSB, NKJV), try a more interpretive version (NIV, NLT, or even The Message). If you normally use one of the more interpretive versions, try a more literal version. Mix it up and keep things fresh. Reading a new translation can help you see things in new ways. Of course, all of the translations I’m recommending are well within the pale of orthodoxy! It comes down to whether you want to emphasize the actual wording and word order vs. the meaning behind the words. See the graphic below for a comparison of the translations on a scale of “literal” to “paraphrase”.
To read through the Bible in a year is a challenging task. There are almost 1200 chapters in the Bible. To read through the entire Bible, we’ll have to read over three chapters every day. The plan I’m using breaks it down day-by-day in a chronological way. When we read about David, the plan throws in a few Psalms here and there, since David wrote most of the Psalms. When we get to the history of Israel and Judah, we’ll read from both Kings and Chronicles, since they run parallel to each other.
The Goal of Reading Through the Bible
The goal of reading through the Bible shouldn’t be to get through the Bible so you can say you’ve done it. The goal is to experience intimacy with God in His Word so that our lives are transformed. There is so much more than mere reading words on a page. Anyone can read words on a page. But as a follower of Jesus Christ, you’ll want to get to know your Father better and become more like Jesus. As you saturate your mind with Scripture, you will be transformed. (Romans 12:2)