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Crossway makes available about 10 Bible reading plans. That link allows you to access them in a number of ways.

Here’s an overview of a few plans (some from Crossway, some from elsewhere).

ESV Study Bible (The ESV Literary Study Bible contains the same plan)

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With this plan there are four readings each day, divided into four main sections:

  • Psalms and Wisdom Literature
  • Pentateuch and the History of Israel
  • Chronicles and Prophets
  • Gospels and Epistles

The introduction explains:

In order to make the readings come out evenly, four major books of the Bible are included twice in the schedule: the Psalms (the Bible's hymnal), Isaiah (the grandest of the OT prophets), Luke (one of the four biblical Gospels), and Romans (the heart of the Bible's theology of salvation).The list of readings from the Psalms and the Wisdom Literature begins and ends with special readings that are especially appropriate for the opening and closing of the year. The list of readings from the Pentateuch and the History of Israel proceeds canonically through the five books of Moses and then chronologically through the history of the OT, before closing the year with the sufferings of Job. The list of readings from the Chronicles and the Prophets begins with the Chronicler's history of the people of God from Adam through the exile, followed by the Major and Minor Prophets, which are organized chronologically rather than canonically.

You can print out this PDF, which is designed to be cut into four bookmarks that can be placed at the appropriate place in your Bible reading. There are boxes to check off each reading as you complete it.

M'Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan

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With this plan you read through:

  • the NT twice
  • the Psalms twice
  • the rest of the OT once

The plan begins with the four great beginnings or “births” of Scripture: Genesis 1 (beginning of the world), Ezra 1 (rebirth of Israel after her return from Babylonian exile), Matthew 1 (birth of the Messiah), Acts 1 (birth of the body of Christ). John Stott says of this reading schedule: “Nothing has helped me more to gain an overview of the Bible, and so of God's redemptive plan.”

If you go with this route, I’d recommend D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God (vol. 1 and vol. 2 are available–vols. 3 and 4 are forthcoming). Carson’s introduction and preface--which includes a layout of the calendar--are available for free online.

Since there are four readings each day, it’s easy to modify this one so that you read through the Bible once in two years, by reading just the first two readings each day for the first year and the second two readings each day for the second year.

Here’s a plan from NavPress, which is used each year at Bethlehem Baptist Church:

The Discipleship Journal Reading Plan

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With this plan you read through the entire Bible once.

With this plan there are “catch-up” days:

  • To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only 25 readings. Since you’ll have several “free days” each month, you could set aside Sunday to either not read at all or to catch up on any readings you may have missed in the past week.
  • If you finish the month’s readings by the twenty-fifth, you could use the final days of the month to study passages that challenged or intrigued you.

Bethlehem makes available bookmarks that you can place in the relevant parts of your Bible:

The Journey Engage Scripture Reading Plan

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The Journey, an Acts 29 church in St. Louis pastored by Darrin Patrick, is doing a church-wide reading plan this year.

This plan has you read whole chapters (a feature I like):

  • one New Testament chapter
  • two Old Testament chapters

They also have a couple of features designed to help those of us who have trouble persevering through a schedule like this: (1) there are lots of reflection/catch-up days; (2) they have pulled from the daily plan some of the slower-paced, harder-to-understand books. These then become “Monthly Scripture Snapshots” that are to be speed-read, along with online videos and overviews to put these books in context. See their website for more resources related to this plan.

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21 thoughts on “Bible Reading Plans”

  1. Mark says:

    Bible reading plans are great for a church to go through together. We started a Bible reading plan together last year that allows you to go through the whole Bible and the NT twice in two years. On Sunday evenings and Wednesday evenings I preach from one of the passages the congregation read from that week. I took the idea from Halley’s Bible Handbook. If you notice on the cover page it says, “The Most Important Page in this Book is on page ###” There he makes his case for a church wide Bible reading plan.

  2. David Reimer says:

    After several years with M’Cheyne, I have come to love his handling of the Dec 31st > Jan 1st juncture. It is wonderfully crafted. Here’s how it works out:

    31 December > 1 January
    Revelation 22 > Genesis 1
    1 Chronicles 36 > Ezra 1
    Malachi 4 > Matthew 1
    John 21 > Acts 1

    It also gives me pause each year to realize that, although he devised scheme this expressly for his parishoners to be “feeding in the same portion” day by day (much as Mark noted in comment #2), M’Cheyne never lived to see it through the year even once. Commended to his Dundee parish on December 30, 1842, he was dead at the age of 29 on March 29, 1843.

    His notes and preface to the calendar of readings appear in Bonar’s biography. The same edition as now reprinted by Banner of Truth is available from, and the readings appear as “Daily Bread”, pp. 618-628.

  3. David Reimer says:

    Sorry – he “devised this scheme” (not “devised scheme this”!), and M’Cheyne died 25 (not 29) March 1843 (dittography).

    (Lack of “preview” for comments is my excuse! ;)

  4. Justin thanks for posting this.

    I’ve started an opt-in Bible in 2 years plan for my church using Carson’s “For the Love of God” notes. We have about 20+ people signing up to it which is great!

    We will be recording our progress on a blog, inviting certain wise members of the congregation and other guests to write brief summaries of the books we are starting on. There will also be other ocassional (brief!) posts to encourage and link to further reading/sermons for people who are interested.

    The catch-up days idea is a great one. I’m going to propose that people in our plan try and keep up, but if they fall behind, they join in at the start of the next book, and take note of what needs to be caught-up on, perhaps scheduling a monthly catch-up day. The biggest reason for people not starting it is that they worry they will drop the ball and then feel guilty for the remainder of the year, so they scale down their expectations far too low.

    If anyone’s interested, our blog is here and I’d be very keen to hear of any other resources which support the Carson/McCheyne bible plan. My email is bible at beatcave dot co dot uk.

  5. Gabriel Rodriguez says:

    I’d like to recommend if you have Logos 3 to create your own custom bible reading plan. I have used this method now for 3 years. I’m sad to see that this feature in Logos 3 was not ported to version 4. I have kept version 3 installed just to create my yearly bible plans.

    BTW, I read the OT once and the NT twice in the year.

  6. If you like the M’Cheyne/Carson plan, I host some online resources here:

    You can look up the readings on a web page with links to your favourite translation, get an RSS feed with links, or print out the calendar in various formats.

    If you prefer the ESV, then the Crossway resources are probably more convenient, but for linking to other versions you may like my stuff.

    Incidentally, on my aggregated stats for the last week, of the c. 10,000 accesses, the NIV (the default) with 31% just pips the ESV with 29%, and (to my surprise) the KJV is a solid third with 19%. The other translations are noise level. An impressive result for the ESV!

  7. Dave Wilson says:

    Thanks for this terrific resource. I just read through the entire Bible in the month of December, and blogged about my experience at

    This was something of an experiment for me … a little “shock and awe” approach to the scriptures. While I wouldn’t recommend this plan as a general rule, it may be something to consider for those who can devote a couple hours per day reading the Bible.


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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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