Bible Eater: A Plan for Feeding on Christ in 2012

After 40 days without food, Jesus could still say, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger” (John 6:35).

I take it that Christ would have us to think about the Bible as food, and to think about exposure to the Bible as eating. We cannot truly live without the Bible because true life comes to us through the Christ revealed across its pages.

Plan for Reading the Bible

With 2012 upon us,  I put some time into refreshing a tool I designed for reading the Bible through in one year. It’s called Bible Eater: A Plan for Feeding on Christ in the Whole Bible in One Year.

Here’s a quick overview followed by an explanation of its features:

  • Read 2 to 3 Old Testament chapters per day and take 4 days off per month, or use those days to catch up.
  • Read 1 to 2 one-sitting designated Old Testament books in each 3-month period, indicated in blue.
  • Read 1 New Testament chapter per day, 5 days per week.


  1. Flexible Format: This plan has a balance of daily reading at a pace of about 2 to 3 and sometimes 4 chapters a day, and 4 days off per month. In addition, 1 to 2 Old Testament books are designated by blue highlighting for a one-sitting read during each 3-month period, including Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah. These books were chosen because they are the right length to keep the reading plan simple, but also because these books can be helpfully read in a single sitting for the big picture.
  2. Reading Both Testaments Together: Some annual reading plans assign the first ten months to the Old Testament and the last two to the New Testament. Others get you in both testaments but have you in four different places every day. Since we read the Old Testament from the perspective of our New Testament position, it is good to read both together, but this plan keeps it simple with one track in each testament at a time.
  3. Redemptive Historical Highlights: Every chapter in the Bible is important since every word in the book is from God. But some chapters are more crucial for helping us understand the overall narrative of the Bible’s salvation story. Red highlights indicate these kinds of chapters. Some contain promises of a prophet, a priest, a king, a new exodus, a new creation. Others show the need for this One in the unfolding drama of God’s grace to a rebellion-wrecked, suicidal humanity. New Testament highlights show the fulfillment of these great expectations in Jesus Christ.

Why Plan to Read the Bible?

The eating imagery certainly helps us understand the nature of the Bible’s importance to our lives. But that picture also helps us think through how we might act on the Bible’s importance.

Like eating, it makes sense to plan for when and how often we will read the Bible. In my own experience, both of these can suffer without a plan, and more so for the Bible because of the artificial filling effect of sin. And like eating, it makes sense to plan for what and how much we will read. We can survive on an unplanned nibble of food here and there, but that wouldn’t be good for us and it wouldn’t make sense if we had a magical grill with an eternal supply of steak.

Plenty of people stay alive without a plan for eating, but they aren’t usually healthier for it.

If you haven’t decided yet on a plan for reading the Bible because you’ve decided that having a plan isn’t important, I’d encourage you to read John Piper’s excellent and persuasive article, “A New Year’s Plea: Plan!

God is a God who plans, and he always plans for things that are good. For that reason, we can reflect the glory of God by exercising dominion over our time with a plan to enjoy the greatest privilege we have as humans: eating the bread of life and living.


Download Bible Eater: A Plan for Feeding on Christ in the Whole Bible in One Year.

  • David McKay

    This could be an example of someone making the *right* turn at Albuquerque.

    If you’re not familiar with Bugs Bunny, please ignore.

  • David McKay
  • Steve Martin

    Devouring the Word of God is a great thing.

    Also, Jesus left us with another great gift, that of Himself in body and blood. He even said that “if we don’t eat His body and blood then we have no life in us.”

    Food for thought.

    (pardon the pun)

  • Rachael Starke

    I love the food analogy, and this explanation made me want to just adopt this plan on face value. But as clean and contemporary as the format appears, the actual breakdown, the “what do I read today” part, was really, really unclear. I’m saying this only because it’s a wonderful sounding plan, particularly with the Redemptive Historical focus, and seeing Christ in the whole Bible. But perhaps an updated version more closely aligned with a calendar will make it easier to scan? Not wanting to be critical; just some feedback from a former tech writer in hopes of helping it really serve its audience well.

  • Jerry Brodie

    I am unable to view any of Carson’s Love of God posts beyond Dec 31. Is that just me?

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  • M.A.N.Tovani

    I cannot view DA Carson’s “Love of God” either. Please could this be run alongside Bible Eater. Thank you.

  • Bauer

    This looks fantastic, challenging, and promising … thanks!

  • Jeremiah Fyffe

    One of my goals at is that as we work our way through the Bible I offer reflections with the same end as the Bible Eater reading plan. My goal in each reflection is to ask, where is the glory of God (in the face of Christ) to be found here.

    I think this is a good way to approach reflection/meditation on our Bible as it guards against the simplistic (and often humanistic) approach of looking for “what does the mean to me?”

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