Resources for Bible Reading
Bible Reading Plans
For getting into a good Bible reading rhythm, getting a balanced scriptural diet, and staying on track, a Bible reading plan can be incredibly useful. Different approaches suit different people, so here’s a few ideas:
1. The Five Day Bible
There’s lots to love about this plan. It takes you through the whole Bible in 52, 5-day weeks–that’s two days a week of wriggle room for when life happens. There’s an Old Testament and a New Testament reading for each day, plus a Psalm most days. Finally, it works through the Old and New Testaments more or less chronologically so you can track with the unfolding story. Just print it out, fold in half and keep it in your Bible.
Free download here: https://www.fivedaybiblereading.com
2. The Bible (or the New Testament) in a year
The ESV folks have some great free Bible reading resources. Their Daily Bible Reading Plan can be used to get through the whole Bible in a year with four chapters a day, or you could use parts of it to read, e.g., the NT in a year, or the NT and Psalms+Proverbs.
Check out the free downloads here: https://www.esv.org/resources/reading-plans/
3. M’Cheyne Bible Reading Plan
Robert Murray M’Cheyne was a Scottish pastor who developed a classic approach to daily Bible reading. It takes you through the New Testament and Psalms twice, and the Old Testament once in a year. It is broken up into four readings per day. Two for the ‘Morning’ (one from the old and one from the new), and 2 for the ‘evening’ (though you can read whenever you like). A bonus of this is that there’s a great 1/2 speed option: You could do the plan over two years (morning readings in year 1 and evening readings in year 2), in which case you’d read the NT and Psalms each year and the OT over two years. Finally, Don Carson has written excellent short daily devotions to go along with the M’Cheyne plan.
4. Read Through the Bible for Shirkers & Slackers
Finally, here’s one that takes a bit of a different approach. This plan isn't so worried about dates, but focuses on a different part of the Bible each day of the week. E.g. Sundays: OT books of poetry; Fridays: N.T. history. You just pick up where you left off according to what day it is. The benefit of this is that you don’t get bogged down in Leviticus or Job, and if you miss a day, or a week, that’s ok, you just pick up where you were and keep going… and eventually you’ll have read the whole Bible.
Read about how it works: https://ransomfellowship.org/article/bible-reading-program-for-slackers-shirkers/
Download PDF: https://ransomfellowship.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/bible-reading-plan.pdf
'Not by bread alone'
‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
For Christian growth, the routine we most need, along with gathering with God's people, is that of regular personal prayer and Bible reading.
As John Stott said in these challenging words:
Christians who neglect the Bible simply do not mature. When Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy to the effect that human beings do not live by bread only but by God’s Word, he was asserting that the Word of God is just as necessary for spiritual health as food is for bodily health … Growth into maturity in Christ depends upon a close acquaintance with, and a believing response to, the Bible.
(God’s Book For God’s People, p. 76).
Being devoted to reading God’s word, and prayer, is a challenge well worth persisting in, though it may at times be hard, for the Word and prayer are means by which God does his gracious, transforming work in our lives.
Here are a selection of resources to help and encourage us in regular Bible reading:
Bible Reading Apps
Bible Reading Apps are a major blessing of our modern world of connected devices.
A Bible app is on your phone when you need it. Redeem the time when you’re in a queue or waiting for someone to arrive. It can read the Bible to you if you prefer, it can keep track of your Bible reading plan (see below), and more.
Here’s some great, free apps:
Bible (YouVersion) - https://www.youversion.com/the-bible-app/
ESV Bible - https://www.esv.org/resources/mobile-apps/
The Bible App for kids - https://my.bible.com/en-GB/kids
The New City Catechism
Finally, we'd love to commend a resource to you called the New City Catechism.
Catechisms are a tried and true method of learning a thought-through summary of Christian belief, with more richness and detail than a creed. They are in a question and answer format to aid learning and memorisation and typically come with supporting Bible verses. Catechisms, such as the Heidelberg Catechism and the Westminster Catechisms, have held a prominent place in Christian discipleship over centuries in our Reformed tradition.
Do you know these gems:
Q: What is the chief end of man?
A: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
(Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 1)
Q: What is your only comfort in life and death?
A: That I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ…
(Heidelberg Catechism, question 1)
Great stuff, right? And that’s just the first questions! Wouldn’t it be great to have a breadth of solid, scripture based truth in your head and heart?
The New City Catechism is an up-to-date resource based on these classic catechisms. It has been carefully put together by reliable teachers and moves from God, creation, and God’s law, to Christ, redemption and grace, to the Holy Spirit and the Christian life. In addition, it has number of great features:
1. It has 52 questions, so one for each week of the year.
2. It has simpler and longer versions of each answer, which is great for kids or use in a family.
3. It is available in a variety of print and electronic media with a growing collection of supporting resources.
Using a catechism like the New City Catechism puts concrete in the foundations. It helps with the ‘renewing of our mind’—to think God’s thoughts after him. It helps us to know what we believe and why, what’s most important, and how things fit together–with greater clarity and conviction.
Read more about the New City Catechism here: http://newcitycatechism.com
Download the app: http://newcitycatechism.com/mobile-apps/
Or use online: http://newcitycatechism.com/new-city-catechism/#1