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The Bible Reading Plan I Recommend for 2021

The Bible Reading Plan I Recommend for 2021

In general, there are two approaches to daily Bible-reading: reading for intimacy or reading for familiarity. Intimacy with the Bible comes through slow, meditative reading that focuses on small portions—deep study of key books, chapters, and verses. Familiarity with the Bible comes through faster reading of much larger portions—the entire sweep of the biblical narrative. Both are fine approaches to the Bible and Christians thrive on a healthy mixture of the two. There is great benefit in knowing the Bible as a whole (familiarity) and in knowing the most important parts in detail (intimacy). (See Intimacy or Familiarity)

(Parenthetical Note: If you prefer an “intimacy” plan, I recommend the Reading the Bible with John Stott guides and/or the God’s Word for You series. Both are excellent.)

My favorite daily Bible-reading plan is the 5 Day Bible Reading Program. I used it for several years in a row before deciding to try something different for 2019 (a decision I soon regretted). I went back to it in 2020 and am sticking with it again in 2021.

It has several features I love:

  • It is a familiarity plan that covers the entire text of the Bible over the course of the year. Between January 1 and December 31 those who follow it read every word of the Bible.
  • It is a pseudo-chronological plan that covers the text of the Bible in the order the events happened (with the exception of Job which comes at the end). Thus, for example, the Psalms come at appropriate moments in the life of David, the books of Kings and Chronicles are read in harmony, and so on. This helps set the events in their historical context. Yet even though it’s chronological, it’s only pseudo-chronological. There are Old Testament and New Testament readings each day and the gospels are interspersed through the year. I find this an ideal compromise over a strictly chronological program.
  • It is a 5-day plan. A benefit of a 5-day plan (as opposed to a 7-day plan) is that there is less chance of falling far behind. At 5 days per week it is far more doable than at 7 days—there is always a chance to catch up. Also, it allows a day or two of reading something different for those who, for example, like to read and ponder the sermon text on a Sunday morning (or for those who don’t do personal devotions on Sunday).
  • It is a free plan. It’s free for the taking! They’ve got a nice little print-out you can download, print, fold in half, and put inside your Bible. It’s got boxes to tick as complete each day and each week. Or you can use the ReadingPlan app to organize the plan even while reading through Logos, the ESV app, or a printed Bible. Though it is free, for 2021 they have launched a Patreon account for those who would like early access, access to more features, or who would just like to offer a bit of support.

The 5 Day Bible Reading Program is a free download. I echo their hope for the program: “God’s blessings rest with those who will read, understand, and live by His Word. May this guide help you to that noble end. ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path’ (Psalms 119:105).”

2021 Reading Plan

  • How Should We Then Die

    How Should We Then Die?

    Euthanasia makes a lot of sense. At least in our culture at this time, it makes intuitive sense that those who are ill without hope for a cure or those who are in pain without likelihood of relief ought to be able to choose to end their own lives. Our culture assumes there are few…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (April 12)

    A La Carte: Is God always pleased with Christians? / Southern Baptists debate designation of women in ministry / Good growth / Planted and rooted / Both worm and worthy / Scotland’s destiny and the rewriting of history / and more.

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (April 11)

    A La Carte: 4 reasons why the Bible does not support transgenderism / Your elders will fail you / 25 questions a Christian woman should ask herself when a man starts to show interest / The same person in every room / Is the story of Job historical? / Book and Kindle deals / and…

  • The Sun Is Blotted from the Sky

    The Sun Is Blotted from the Sky

    Men of great physical strength have sometimes carried outrageously heavy burdens—six hundred pounds, seven hundred pounds, eight hundred. And even then they have said, “I still have not been fully tested. Put on some more weight! Load me up!” With confidence they have gripped the bar and with great straining and groaning they have lifted…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (April 10)

    A La Carte: Reflecting Christ in the crucible of your marriage / Finding peace beyond the illusion of control / There are no free bets / What temptation is and is not / Grieving the loss of a loved one / The Bible says it, I believe it / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (April 9)

    A La Carte: Christians are a last days people / The case for holy obstinacy / Don’t lose your home to a passing storm / We need a gospel awakening in Africa / Can I tell an unbeliever “Jesus died for you?” / Imagining the new heavens and new earth / and more.