I’ve been a Christian now for fifteen years. I’ve read the bible through around six times in those fifteen years. Each time it is an edifying experience. My favorite bible plan is the Bible Eater Plan by Trent Hunter. I know the name is a little strange, but the plan itself is great. To be clear, any plan is better than no plan at all. That said, I find the Bible Eater Plan to be helpful for several reasons. Let me explain…
#1 Gospel Freedom
I find that the Bible Eater plan to be freeing in terms of structure. Most plans have a daily calendar embedded in the flow of the plan. While the Bible Eater Plan does give a suggested number of chapters to be read per day, there is no rigid structure in terms of “keeping up.” If you are anything like me, the checkboxes often associated with most bible reading plans can be encouraging but also very discouraging, depending on your consistency within the plan. Most people actually quit "read through the bible in a year" plans because they fall behind (i.e., running behind in checking those boxes). While you can certainly “fall behind” with this plan, the quarterly calendar can often be a motivator to catch up and keep going in your bible reading. Thus, unlike other plans I have used, there is a freedom with the Bible Eater plan in this regard.
#2 Gospel Focus
I typically print the plan in full color on 1 page, front and back, so it fits nicely in my bible case. Yes, I’m one of those weird guys who uses the bible box as a case. I prefer a premium bible (from evangelicalbible.com) so I try to keep it protected the best I can. I also use old gift cards or hotel keys so my underlining is straight. Anyway, full color is important because certain chapters are “red” indicating this chapter reading is gospel-focused. Obviously, the whole bible is aiming towards that end, but these chapters in red are particularly interested in material alluding to or critical to the hope of Christ. Not only am I encouraged in reading these chapters, but I have also found this plan to help connect key chapters across the bible. In other words, this plan, in a small way, helps its reader learn biblical theology and understand the storyline of scripture.
#3 Inter-Testament Interaction
One important aspect that is honestly nonnegotiable for me in a bible reading plan is interacting between the Old and Testaments. I am a firm believer that Christians need to understand the story of scripture and embrace a steady diet of both the Old and New Testaments. Beyond this, Christians need to know how the Old and New Testaments relate to one another. This year, I have paid particularly close attention to the cross-references in my bible. I’ve been amazed at the frequency the New Testament cites from or alludes to the Old Testament. In the same way, I’m learning so much from reading the Old Testament and seeing references to other Old Testament stories and New Testament fulfillment. If someone simply slowed down to consider these cross-references in their bibles, their grasp of the biblical text would significantly improve.
#4 One Sitting Readings
The final reason I love the Bible Eater Plan is because of the readings that are to be completed in one or two sittings. Yup, you heard that correctly. Reading through an entire book in its entirety, in one sitting or two max. These are indicated by “blue” colored chapters. This was surely the intent of the biblical authors that their writings would be considered as a whole. Most books are short enough that they can be reasonably read in one or two sittings. Sure, this is hard with a book like Isaiah, but it is immensely rewarding. Another to be read this way is the books 1 and 2 Chronicles. Now, you will need to make room in your schedule to accomplish this, but this exercise is invaluable in comprehending the history of Israel in the Old Testament.
In the end, find a plan that works best for you. The best plan is the one you will use. There are several listed on our church website – prospectbaptistchurch.org. Keep in mind you don’t have to read the entire bible in one year. The important thing is that you are in the word consistently. I will say, however, I’ve never regretted reading the entire bible from cover to cover. It is a discipline I pray to sustain for many years to come in following Christ.
So my final encouragement to you, jump in to reading the scripture today. If you need a plan, consider the Bible Eater Plan. Find it here!