A s disciples of Christ, it is important that we regularly tune into God’s Word, the Bible. Reading the Bible allows us to connect with God and to learn and grow on our faith journey. When you aren’t sure how or where to start reading the Bible, reading plans offer guidance for engaging the books of the Bible, often structured by a timeframe or theme. We’ve compiled a list of the best Bible reading plans for beginners and lifelong readers alike to choose from.
Whether you want to read the whole Bible in one year (or two or three) or dive into a few verses at a time, it’s okay! All that matters is engaging God’s Word. Have grace with yourself if you miss a few days, and remember that any day (not just January 1) is a good day to start or restart reading the Bible. Try out one or more of these Bible reading plans to see what might be a good fit for you.
The RCA Commission on Christian Discipleship and Education partnered with the Faithward team to curate these Bible reading plan recommendations and resources.
Best no-frills Bible reading plan resource
On this website, there are a variety of reading plans for engaging God’s Word at your own pace, including a chronological plan, a beginning-to-end plan (Genesis to Revelation), a Gospels-in-40-Days plan, and more. You can track your progress, receive email reminders, print monthly lists of readings, or use the app. Reading plans can be started, paused, and restarted at any time.
This is a more no-frills Bible-reading experience. You won’t find extensive background information about each passage here. But if you just want a daily reading plan, Bible Gateway is a fantastic resource.
How to read the Bible in a year: plans and guides
If your goal is to read the whole Bible in a year, these plans and guides can help you get there.
Great full Bible reading plans for beginners
The biggest benefit to reading the Bible with one of these companion books is, in a word, context. You’ll gain a fuller understanding of the themes that span across Scripture. Along the way, these Bible reading guides will also shed light on things you might miss or not fully grasp about specific passages
By Dr. James E. Davison
This book helps you read the whole Bible in a year and is a great resource for Bible-reading veterans and newcomers to Scripture. You will read portions of the Old and New Testaments every day, along with some background on what you’re reading. Unlike with some other plans, you will read one Gospel, then other New Testament books, another Gospel, and so on (rather than reading all of the Gospels in a row).
By Tara Leigh Cobble
Follow a one-year chronological reading plan as you read this book alongside your Bible. The book provides a summary of each passage and a “God shot.” This format will help you keep the full biblical picture in mind and see the good news throughout Scripture.
If you just need a schedule
Bible Gateway has several whole reading plans to choose from. You can track your progress with a free account and get reminders in your inbox to keep making headway. These plans don’t offer much in the way of extra context, but are a great straightforward option for those who just want an easy way to structure their reading.
Stick with the classic approach and read the Bible from start to finish, from Genesis to Revelation.
Although chronology factors into the way the Bible is organized, you’re skipping back and forth through time more than you might realize when you read it beginning to end. With this plan, you can read the Bible in the chronological order in which its stories and events actually occurred.
Read the books of the Bible as they were written historically, according to the estimated date of their writing. This might seem like the same thing as reading the Bible chronologically. But many of the events in the Bible weren’t written about until long after they happened.
Best Bible reading apps
Designed with oral-preference learners in mind, this audio Bible app offers a wide range of global heart languages for listeners to engage God’s Word. The app includes a variety of Bible reading plans, access to podcasts and teachings, and a place for users to ask questions.
This Bible reading plan, available via web player or mobile app, covers the whole Bible, from start to finish. It follows the order of the biblical books, but with an Old Testament and New Testament reading, as well as a psalm, each day.
Based on Lectio Divina (a spiritual practice in which Scripture is read and meditated upon), this app provides morning and evening devotions so you can read and engage the Bible through prayer. Each day, the app walks you through a PRAY rhythm: pause to be still, rejoice with a psalm/reflect on Scripture, ask for God’s help, yield to God’s will in your life. This is a great app if you just want to be reading Scripture but aren’t looking to commit to a detailed plan or reading schedule. You can start anytime!
An adaptation of Lectio 365, this app is great for reading the Bible as a family; it’s designed for kids ages 7-11, but is workable for younger and older audiences as well. The app includes daily Bible readings, a memory verse for each week, discussion questions, and prompts for reflection and prayer. Take turns reading the Bible passage from a mobile device, or have it read aloud as you listen and engage God’s Word together.
There are reading plans for different topics, for the whole Bible, or for individual books of the Bible. You can either read the passages yourself or have them read to you, and you can choose your translation and language. There is also a version for kids, which contains 41 Bible stories that are read aloud in a narrative style, complemented by engaging animations and activities to help kids with understanding and retention.
Bite-size Bible reading plans
With this Bible reading plan, you will read a few Bible verses each day. Most weeks contain an Old Testament reading, a psalm, a Gospel reading, and another New Testament reading. The printable calendar starts with Advent (the liturgical new year), but you can download, print, and begin reading any time throughout the year. This plan is based on the Revised Common Lectionary; if your church follows the lectionary, you will read the passages in the week leading up to the Sunday you might hear them in church.
The popular Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is available in video on Amazon Prime. Five-minute episodes tell biblical stories with the same artistic style as the book (illustrated by Jago). Great for kids and/or visual learners. You can purchase single episodes or the full 43-episode season.
This simple reading plan offers two 30-day pathways for reading through different parts of the Bible, e.g., a psalm of praise, a prophecy, a teaching of Jesus. The Bible passages are not summer-specific, so you can choose to participate any time. Print a PDF to chart your course, or follow along online.
Read Proverbs in one month
The Book of Proverbs has 31 chapters. Pick any month with 31 days and read one chapter per day.
How to study the Bible and get more out of it
Reading the Bible is a great practice, but it can also take some legwork. This is especially true if you’re a beginner looking for a Bible reading plan. Check out this free video series led by a professor of theology to learn how to understand what you’re reading and apply it to your own faith more meaningfully.
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