A basic Bible-reading guide

There are lots of plans for reading through the Bible. Each has its merit and I invite you to try several. The most important thing is to actually do some and to do it as a response to an invitation, not as a slavish got-to.

Below is a daily reading guide that provides for six days of reading each week and gets you through the Bible in a year. It’s a great rhythm and a great goal. But here’s the thing: Bible reading is not about slogging though a book in an attempt to make it through in a certain period of time, it’s about hearing the voice of God and engaging in a prayerful conversation with him. That may mean plowing through some parts that are particularly dry for you. It may also mean slowing down and giving up on making it through in a year.

So, here are my ground rules for this:

Don’t stress out if you miss days or weeks. The Bible will still be there when you get back to it. It’s not going anywhere. Neither is God. Just pick back up where you left off. And absolutely do not try to catch up. Plowing through a missed week will make you want to miss out on the whole thing. This is an invitation, not an obligation.

Let reading lead to worshiping. Try to read a least a little each day six days a week and participate in communal worship with a church on the seventh day. Worship puts our personal Bible reading in its proper context. This isn’t about education or self-help, it’s about following and worshiping Jesus together.

Take time to pray. Before you read, simply utter the words of the boy Samuel when he heard the voice of God in the night: “Here I am. Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.” And as you read, try engaging with God over what you’re reading. And after you’ve read, ask God for someone with whom you can share what you’ve read.

The guide

Week 1 — (M) Gen. 1-2 & John 1:1-18; (T) Gen. 3-5 & John 1:19-51; (W) Gen. 6-8 & John 2; (Th) Gen. 9-11 & John  3; (F) Gen. 12-14 & John 4; (S) Gen. 15-17 & John 5.

Week 2 — (M) Gen. 18-20 & John 6:1-26; (T) Gen. 21-23 & John 6:27-71; (W) Gen. 24-26 & John 7:1-24; (Th) Gen. 27-29 & John 7:25-53; (F) Gen. 30-32 & John 8:1-30; (S) Gen. 33-36 & John 8:31-58.

Week 3 — (M) Gen. 37-39 & John 9; (T) Gen. 40-41 & John 10; (W) Gen. 42-44 & John 11:1-37; (Th) Gen. 45-47 & John 11:38-57; (F) Gen. 48-50 & John 12:1-36; (S) Ex. 1-2 & John 12:36-50.

Week 4 — (M) Ex. 3-5 & John 13:1-17; (T) Ex. 6-8 & John 13:18-38; (W) Ex. 9-11 & John 14; (Th) Ex. 12-14 & John 15; (F) Ex. 15-17 & John 16; (S) Ex. 18-20 & John 17.

Week 5 — (M) Ex. 21-23 & John 18; (T) Ex. 24-27 & John 19:1-15; (W) Ex. 28-31 & John 19:16-42; (Th) Ex. 32-34 & John 20:1-18; (F) Ex. 35-37 & John 20:19-31; (S) Ex. 38-40 & John 21.

Week 6 — (M) Lev. 1-3; Heb. 1; (T) Lev. 4-7; Heb. 2-3; (W) Lev. 8-10; Heb. 4:1-5:10; (Th) Lev. 11-12; Heb. 5:11-6:20; (F) Lev. 13-15; Heb. 7-8; (S) Lev. 16-17; Heb. 9.

Week 7 — (M) Lev. 18-20; Heb. 10:1-18; (T) Lev. 21-23; Heb. 10:19-39; (W) Lev. 24-25; Heb. 11; (Th) Lev. 26-27; Heb. 12; (F) Num. 1-2; Heb. 13; (S) Num. 3-5; Rom. 1:1-17.

Week 8 — (M) Num. 6-8; Rom. 1:18-32; (T) Num. 9-11; Rom. 2; (W) Num. 12-14; Rom. 3; (Th) Num. 15-17; Rom. 4; (F) Num. 18-20; Rom. 5:1-11; (S) Num. 21-23; Rom. 5:12-21.

Week 9 — (M) Num. 24-26; Rom. 6; (T) Num. 27-29; Rom. 7; (W) Num. 30-31; Rom. 8:1-17; (Th) Num. 32-4; Rom. 8:18-39; (F) Num. 35-36; Rom. 9; (S) Deut. 1-2; Rom. 10.

Week 10 — (M) Deut. 3-4; Rom. 11; (T) Deut. 5-7; Rom. 12; (W) Deut. 8-10; Rom. 13; (Th) Deut. 11-13; Rom. 14; (F) Deut. 14-16; Rom. 15; (S) Deut. 17-19; Rom. 16.

Week 11 — (M) Deut. 20-22; Gal 1; (T) Deut. 23-25; Gal. 2; (W) Deut. 26-28; Gal. 3:1-27; (Th) Deut. 29-31; Gal. 3:28-4:31; (F) Deut. 32-34; Gal. 5; (S) Josh. 1-2; Gal. 6.

Week 12 — (M) Josh. 3-5; Mark 1:1-20; (T) Josh. 6-8; Mark 1:21-45; (W) Josh. 9-12; Mark 2; (Th) Josh. 13-15; Mark 3; (F) Josh. 16-18; Mark 4; (S) Josh. 19-21; Mark 5.

Week 13 — (M) Josh. 22-24; Mark 6:1-29; (T) Judges 1-3; Mark 6:30-56; (W) Judges 4-6; Mark 7; (Th) Judges 7-9; Mark 8:1-9:1; (F) Judges 10-12; Mark 9:2-50; (S) Judges 13-14; Mark 10:1-34.

Week 14 — (M) Judges 15-16; Mark 10:35-52; (T) Judges 17-18; Mark 11; (W) Judges 19-21; Mark 12; (Th) 1 Sam. 1-2; Mark 13; (F) 1 Sam. 3:1-6:18; Mark 14:1-31; (S) 1 Sam. 6:19-9:27; Mark 14:32-72.

Week 15 — (M) 1 Sam. 10-12; Mark 15; (T) 1 Sam. 13-15; Mark 16; (W) 1 Sam. 16-18; 1 Cor. 1; (Th) 1 Sam. 19-21; 1 Cor. 2; (F) 1 Sam. 22-24; 1 Cor. 3; (S) 1 Sam. 25-27; 1 Cor. 4.

Week 16 — (M) 1 Sam. 28-31; 1 Cor. 5; (T) 2 Sam. 1-2; 1 Cor. 6; (W) 2 Sam. 3-5; 1 Cor. 7; (Th) 2 Sam. 6-8; 1 Cor. 8; (F) 2 Sam. 9-10; 1 Cor. 9; (S) 2 Sam. 11-13; 1 Cor. 10.

Week 17 — (M) 2 Sam. 14-16; 1 Cor. 11; (T) 2 Sam. 17-19; 1 Cor. 12; (W) 2 Sam. 20-22; 1 Cor. 13; (Th) 2 Sam. 23-24; 1 Cor. 14; (F) 1 Kings 1-2; 1 Cor. 15; (S) 1 Kings 3-5; 1 Cor. 16.

Week 18 — (M) 1 Kings 6-7; 2 Cor. 1; (T) 1 Kings 8; 2 Cor. 2; (W) 1 Kings 9-11; 2 Cor. 3; (Th) 1 Kings 12-14; 2 Cor. 4; (F) 1 Kings 15-17; 2 Cor. 5; (S) 1 Kings 18-19; 2 Cor. 6.

Week 19 — (M) 1 Kings 20-22; 2 Cor. 7; (T) 2 Kings 1-2; 2 Cor. 8-9; (W) 2 Kings 3-5; 2 Cor. 10; (Th) 2 Kings 6-7; 2 Cor. 11; (F) 2 Kings 8-9; 2 Cor. 12; (S) 2 Kings 10-11; 2 Cor. 13.

Week 20 — (M) 1 Kings 12-14; Luke 1:1-25; (T) 2 Kings 15-17; Luke 1:26-56; (W) 2 Kings 18-19; Luke 1:57-80; (Th) 2 Kings 20-21; Luke 2; (F) 2 Kings 22-23; Luke 3; (S) 2 Kings 24-25; Luke 4.

Week 21 — (M) Isaiah 1-3; Luke 5; (T) Isaiah 4-6; Luke 6:1-26; (W) Isaiah 7-9; Luke 6:27-49; (Th) Isaiah 10-12; Luke 7:1-35; (F) Isaiah 13-15; Luke 7:36-50; (S) Isaiah 16-18; Luke 8:1-25.

Week 22 — (M) Isaiah 19-21; Luke 8:26-56; (T) Isaiah 22-24; Luke 9:1-36; (W) Isaiah 25-27; Luke 9:37-62; (Th) Isaiah 28-30; Luke 10; (F) Isaiah 31-33; Luke 11:1-28; (S) Isaiah 34-35; Luke 11:29-54.

Week 23 — (M) Isaiah 36-37; Luke 12:1-34; (T) Isaiah 38-39; Luke 12:35-59; (W) Isaiah 40-41; Luke 13; (Th) Isaiah 42-43; Luke 14; (F) Isaiah 44-45; Luke 15; (S) Isaiah 46-48; Luke 16.

Week 24 — (M) Isaiah 49-51; Luke 17; (T) Isaiah 52-54; Luke 18; (W) Isaiah 55-57; Luke 19:1-27; (Th) Isaiah 58-60; Luke 19:28-48; (F) Isaiah 61-63; Luke 20; (S) Isaiah 64-66; Luke 21.

Week 25 — (M) Jer. 1-2; Luke 22:1-38; (T) Jer. 3-5; Luke 22:39-71; (W) Jer. 6-8; Luke 23; (Th) Jer. 9-11; Luke 24; (F) Jer. 12-14; Acts 1:1-4; (S) Jer. 15-17; Acts. 1:15-2:13.

Week 26 — (M) Jer. 18-20; Acts 2:14-47; (T) Jer. 21-23; Acts 3; (W) Jer. 24-26; Acts 4:1-31; (Th) Jer. 27-28; Acts 4:32-5:11; (F) Jer. 29:1-31:1; Acts 5:12-42; (S) Jer. 31:2-32:44; Acts 6

Week 27 — (M) Jer. 33-35; Acts 7; (T) Jer. 36-38; Acts 8:1-25; (W) Jer. 39-41; Acts 8:26-40; (Th) Jer. 42-44; Acts 9:1-19; (F) Jer. 45-47; Acts 9:20-43; (S) Jer. 48-49; Acts 10:1-23.

Week 28 — (M) Jer. 50-51; Acts 10:23-48; (T) Jer. 52; Acts 11; (W) Ezek. 1-3; Acts 12; (Th) Ezek. 4-6; Acts 13:1-14; (F) Ezek. 7-8; Acts 13:15-52; (S) Ezek. 9-11; Acts 14.

Week 29 — (M) Ezek. 12-14; Acts 15:1-21; (T) Ezek. 15-17; Acts 15:22-41; (W) Ezek. 18-20; Acts 16:1-15; (Th) Ezek. 21-22; Acts 16:16-40; (F) Ezek. 23-25; Acts 17:1-15; (S) Ezek. 26-28; Acts 17:16-34.

Week 30 — (M) Ezek. 29-31; Acts 18; (T) Ezek. 32-34; Acts 19:1-20; (W) Ezek. 35-37; Acts 19:21-41; (Th) Ezek. 38-39; Acts 20:1-16; (F) Ezek. 40-44; Acts 20:17-38; (S) Ezek. 45-48; Acts 21:1-26.

Week 31 — (M) Hosea 1-4; Acts 21:27-39; (T) Hosea 5-9; Acts 21:40-22:29; (W) Hosea 10-14; Acts 22:30-23:10; (Th) Joel 1-3; Acts 23:11-35; (F) Amos 1-3; Acts 24; (S) Amos 4-6; Acts 25.

Week 32 — (M) Amos 7-9; Acts 26; (T) Obadiah; Acts 27; (W) Jonah 1-4; Acts 28:1-9; (Th) Micah 1-3; Acts 28:10-31; (F) Micah 4-7; Eph. 1; (S) Nahum 1-3; Eph. 2.

Week 33 — (M) Habakkuk; Eph. 3; (T) Zephaniah; Eph. 4; (W) Haggai; Eph. 5; (Th) Zechariah 1-4; Eph. 6 (F) Zechariah 5-9; Phil. 1; (S) Zechariah 10-14; Phil. 2.

Week 34 — (M) Malachi; Phil. 3; (T) Psalms 1-6; Phil. 4; (W) Psalms 7-11; Col. 1; (Th) Psalms 12-17; Col. 2; (F) Psalms 18-19; Col. 3:1-17; (S) Psalms 20-22; Col. 3:18-4:18.

Week 35 — (M) Psalms 23-27; 1 Thes. 1; (T) Psalms 28-31; 1 Thes. 2; (W) Psalms 32-35; 1 Thes. 3; (Th) Psalms 36-38; 1 Thes. 4; (F) Psalms 39-41; 1 Thes. 5; (S) Psalms 42-44; 2 Thes. 1.

Week 36 — (M) Psalms 45-47; 2 Thes. 2; (T) Psalms 48-50; 2 Thes. 3; (W) Psalm 51; 1 Tim. 1; (Th) Psalms 52-55; 1 Tim. 2; (F) Psalms 56-59; 1 Tim. 3; (S) Psalms 60-64; 1 Tim. 4.

Week 37 — (M) Psalms 65-67; 1 Tim. 5; (T) Psalms 68-69; 1 Tim. 6; (W) Psalms 70-72; 2 Tim. 1; (Th) Psalms 73-74; 2 Tim. 2; (F) Psalms 75-77; 2 Tim. 3; (S) Psalm 78; 2 Tim. 4.

Week 38 — (M) Psalms 79-81; Titus 1; (T) Psalms 82-86; Titus 2; (W) Psalms 87-89; Titus 3; (Th) Psalms 90-93; Philemon; (F) Psalms 94-97; Matt. 1; (S) Psalms 98-102; Matt. 2.

Week 39 — (M) Psalms 103-104; Matt. 3; (T) Psalms 105-106; Matt. 4; (W) Psalms 107-108; Matt. 5:1-20; (Th) Psalms 109-110; Matt. 5:21-48; (F) Psalms 111-114; Matt. 6:1-18; (S) Psalms 115-118; Matt. 6:19-34.

Week 40 — (M) Psalm 119:1-56; Matt. 7:1-14; (T) Psalm 119:57-112; Matt. 7:15-29; (W) Psalm 119:113-176; Matt. 8:1-17; (Th) Psalms 120-126; Matt. 8:18-34; (F) Psalms 127-134; Matt. 9:1-17; (S) Psalms 135-136; Matt. 9:18-38.

Week 41 — (M) Psalms 137-140; Matt. 10; (T) Psalms 141-144; Matt. 11; (W) Psalms 145-147; Matt. 12:1-21; (Th) Psalms 148-150; Matt. 12:22-50; (F) Job 1-2; Matt. 13:1-23; (S) Job 3-5; Matt. 13:24-58.

Week 42 — (M) Job 6-8; Matt. 14; (T) Job 9-11; Matt. 15:1-20; (W) Job 12-14; Matt. 15:21-39; (Th) Job 15-17; Matt. 16; (F) Job 18-19; Matt. 17; (S) Job 20-22; Matt. 18:1-20.

Week 43 — (M) Job 23-25; Matt. 18:21-35; (T) Job 26-28; Matt. 19; (W) Job 29-31; Matt. 20; (Th) Job 32-34; Matt. 21:1-22; (F) Job 35-37; Matt. 21:23-46; (S) Job 38-42; Matt. 22:1-22.

Week 44 — (M) Prov. 1-3; Matt. 22:23-46; (T) Prov. 4-6; Matt. 23; (W) Prov. 7-9; Matt. 24:1-22; (Th) Prov. 10-12; Matt. 24:23-51; (F) Prov. 13-15; Matt. 25:1-30; (S) Prov. 16-18; Matt. 25:31-46.

Week 45 — (M) Prov. 19-21; Matt. 26:1-30; (T) Prov. 22-24; Matt. 26:31-75; (W) Prov. 25-27; Matt. 27; (Th) Prov. 28-31; Matt. 28; (F) Ruth; James 1; (S) Song of Songs 1-3; James 2.

Week 46 — (M) Song of Songs 4-8; James 3; (T) Eccles. 1-3; James 4; (W) Eccles. 4-7; James 5; (Th) Eccles. 8-12; 1 Peter 1; (F) Lament 1-2; 1 Peter 2; (S) Lament 3-5; 1 Peter 3.

Week 47 — (M) Esther 1-2; 1 Peter 4; (T) Esther 3-6; 1 Peter 5; (W) Esther 7-10; 2 Peter 1; (Th) Dan. 1-2; 2 Peter 2; (F) Dan. 3-6; 2 Peter 3; (S) Dan. 7-9; 1 John 1.

Week 48 — (M) Dan. 10-12; 1 John 2; (T) Ezra 1-3; 1 John 3; (W) Ezra 4-6; 1 John 4; (Th) Ezra 7-10; 1 John 5; (F) Neh. 1-3; 2 John; (S) Neh. 4-6; 3 John.

Week 49 — (M) Neh. 7-9; Jude; (T) Neh. 10-13; Rev. 1; (W) 1 Chron. 1-5; Rev. 2:1-17; (Th) 1 Chron. 6-9; Rev. 2:18-3:6; (F) 1 Chron. 10-12; Rev. 3:7-22; (S) 1 Chron. 13-15; Rev. 4.

Week 50 — (M) 1 Chron. 16-18; Rev. 5; (T) 1 Chron. 19-22; Rev. 6; (W) 1 Chron. 23-26; Rev. 7; (Th) 1 Chron. 27-29; Rev. 8; (F) 2 Chron. 1-3; Rev. 9; (S) 2 Chron. 4:1-7:10; Rev. 10.

Week 51 — (M) 2 Chron. 7:11-9:31; Rev. 11; (T) 2 Chron. 10-12; Rev. 12; (W) 2 Chron. 13-14; Rev. 13; (Th) 2 Chron. 15-16; Rev. 14; (F) 2 Chron. 17-18; Rev. 15; (S) 2 Chron. 19-21:1; Rev. 16.

Week 52 — (M) 2 Chron. 21:2-23:31; Rev. 17; (T) 2 Chron. 24-25; Rev. 18; (W) 2 Chron. 26-28; Rev. 19; (Th) 2 Chron. 29-31; Rev. 20; (F) 2 Chron. 32-33; Rev. 21; (S) 2 Chron. 34-36; Rev. 22.

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