The people of God are a people of the book. But that doesn’t mean that everyone has always enjoyed access to the book.
For millenia the people of God were taught the word of God by prophets and priests in their own language at the temple, in synagogues, and in the public square. Parents took what they learned and taught their children at home. That tradition changed about 500 years ago when the Scriptures were translated, printed, and disseminated in the langauges of lay people.
Ministers of the Word still mediate God’s word by teaching and preaching, but non-ministers of the word also have immediate access to God’s word in personal copies of the Bible. In this, we have a privilege that most of our forefathers did not enjoy; and with that privilege comes many advantages — and even more responsibilities.
To keep us from living below our privilege we are often challenged to be daily Bible readers. There are several good reading plans available, all designed to help us to read the whole Bible in one year. Like selecting a version of the Bible, I think the best one to use is the one you actually use.
Personally, I do not like the read the whole Bible in a year approach. I much prefer the read the whole Bible throughout your whole life approach. With that in mind, I came up with an approach that (1) allows you to read at your own pace and (2) attempts to gather books together according to common themes.
Here is an alternative Bible Reading Plan for ordinary folks.
It might suit those who feel intimidated by tackling the whole Bible every year, or frustrated and guilty for quitting in Leviticus (again!), or those who feel overwhelmed with real life and pressed for time, or those who just enjoy reading more slowly and savoring the words of the living God. (All of the above apply to me!)
If you use it, take your time and enjoy it. Seriously! There is no rush and no pressure and no obligation. God doesn’t even command us to be daily Bible readers. Rather, he expects us to live by every word that comes from his mouth.
When you finish one cycle, no matter how long it takes, move on to the next cycle, then the next one.
Just think: in a year, or two, or thirty, or whatever, you will have lived, moved, and breathed in the holy words of God.
The goal is not to finish — ever — but to keep on reading and reflecting — always.
This reading plan is a trial run — and I will probably need to tweak it a few more times. But it seems to be in good enough shape now that it may be shared with others.
Note: Some cycles appear to be longer than others. But keep in mind that not all books and chapters are the same length — some are shorter or longer than others.
Cycle One: 215 Chapters
Cycle Two: 200 Chapters
1 and 2 Samuel
Cycle Three: 240 Chapters
1 and 2 Kings
Cycle Four: 218 Chapters
Song of Solomon
Cycle Five: 236 Chapters
1 and 2 Chronicles