A Redemptive-Historical Bible Reading Plan
by Rev. Marq Toombs
Pastor at Christ Covenant Church (PCA)
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 millennia 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. In some ways, that tradition was altered about 500 years ago when the Scriptures were translated, printed, and disseminated in the languages of the lay people.
Today, ministers of the Word still mediate God’s word by teaching and preaching. But non-ministers also have immediate access to God’s word in their own 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 online, all designed to help us read the whole Bible — usually in one year. Some are better than others, but all are better than none. Like selecting a translation of the Bible, the best one to use is the one you actually use.
To that end, here is an alternative Redemptive-Historical Bible reading plan which I put together for ordinary folks just like you.
It might suit those who —
- feel intimidated by tackling the whole Bible every year
- feel frustrated and guilty for quitting in Leviticus (again!)
- feel overwhelmed with real life and pressed for time
It might also suit those who just enjoy reading more slowly and savoring the words of the living God. (All of the above apply to me!)
This Redemptive-Historical Bible reading plan is intended to help you read the Holy Scriptures forward and backward with a view towards Christ.
If you use this Redemptive-Historical Bible reading plan, take your time and enjoy God’s word. Seriously! There is no rush, no pressure, 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, you move on to the next cycle, then the next one, and so forth, until Jesus comes.
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.
Cycle One: 227 Chapters
Cycle Two: 209 Chapters
Cycle Three: 231 Chapters
Cycle Four: 211 Chapters
Cycle Five: 233 Chapters
A Method to the Message
There are five cycles because I started with the five books of the Law, the five books of the Psalms, and the “five” books of the Gospels. (Actually, there are only four Gospels and Isaiah which is often called the fifth gospel.)
First, I put one book of the Law, Psalms, and Gospels in each cycle according to similar themes and tone. Example, Cycle One has Genesis and John — “In the beginning…”
Next, I tried to match other books to the major books according to similar themes, topics, or tones. Example, Cycle Three combines books addressing predominantly Jewish recipients — Leviticus and Hebrews; 1-2 Kings and Matthew.
Finally, I tried to strike a balance of genre and length between each cycle. Some cycles appear to be longer than others, but keep in mind that the actual length of books and chapters varies.
This Redemptive-Historical Bible reading plan is intended to help you read the Holy Scriptures forward and backward with a view towards Christ who is the end-goal of the Bible.