Thinking about reading the Bible in one year, but overwhelmed at the thought?
Maybe you think there’s no way you have the time to read so much of God’s Word each day. Or you could be a new Christian who doesn’t want to process so much new information on a daily basis.
These simple Bible reading plans for beginners and busy people are helpful ways to keep you accountable to a plan, but without the 365 day timeline.
These suggestions can also be helpful for churches who want to encourage a Bible reading habit, especially at the beginning of a new year. It’s a great option to have some choices for people who don’t want to choose the faster pace of reading the Bible in twelve months.
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How to Find a Bible Reading Plan for Beginners and Busy People
If you are looking to choose a Bible reading plan, but aren’t sure where to begin, this helpful guide can show you how to get started.
You may have completed or already thought through some of these steps. Jump in at the appropriate point. And pray about what God would have you choose! He wants you to enjoy the Word of God and learn more about Him.
Choose a Bible Translation
Before you choose a plan, you need to choose a Bible. If you are new to the faith and don’t have a Bible yet, you need to choose a translation of the Bible. It’s a translation because the text of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek.
Each translation into English has different characteristics that make it a better choice for different people. An easy to understand version of the Bible which most consider highly accurate is the English Standard Version.
Some might consider the New Living Translation a little easier to read; while others could consider the New American Standard Bible (1995) or the New King James Version a little more literally accurate.
You may also ask your pastor or a church staff member what version is used during church services. This may be a good choice as it can be easier to follow along during sermons and Bible studies, and you won’t be managing a Bible at home plus a Bible at church.
Of course, if you only read on your phone or tablet, you don’t necessarily need to commit to only one of the Bible translations. But the English Standard Version can be a good starting option in your Bible reading app as well.
Choose a Time Frame for Your Bible Reading Plan – Dated or Undated?
Some people like the accountability of a dated reading plan, with a passage listed for a certain date of the year. There’s no decision involved on what to read for the day, but there’s also no flexibility for days when you are sick or busy.
Undated plans and trackers can work for some people who don’t like the pressure of a structured schedule. But it can also have a lack of momentum, and get forgotten.
Starting out with a shorter, dated plan could be a good option.
Choose a Bible Reading Plan
Read the Gospel of John. Historically, new believers have been told to read a chapter of the book of John each day. This is an excellent suggestion. It doesn’t require anything besides a Bible, not even a list (although you can find one here).
Back to the Bible offers a printable 90 day list of daily readings here, only covering Genesis, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This can be an easy way to introduce the history of the Bible for a new Christian.
Read topically. Undoubted Grace has an entire year’s worth of free monthly reading plans on different topics. You can print the current month, or choose a specific topic that is meaningful to you, and read the Bible verses suggested from the printable Bible reading plans.
Kingdom Bloggers has a 12 month reading plan in a digital Bible journal here. You can print it, or use it in a note-taking app like GoodNotes.
Read the New Testament. Many people like to start with New Testament passages, as opposed to beginning in the Old Testament books.
It’s important to spend time in Old Testament readings, but the New Testament can be a great starting point. Bible Gateway has an online reading plan here; there is a printed One Year New Testament here.
The YouVersion app has a number of New Testament plans, including the Outreach New Testament, with readings from the books of the New Testament spread out over a year.
Read Thematically. Rooted Moms has a good 12-week Gospel reading plan, with weekly emails and resources if you subscribe to the free email newsletter.
Read Chronologically. If you are intrigued with reading the Bible in chronological order, then Treasure in a Day has a unique plan with its 1 verse a day chronological Bible reading plan. Due to its brevity, it’s best to pair this with another plan.
Use a Bible Reading Plan Generator. The Bible Reading Plan Generator allows you to set the number of days, days of the week, sections of the Bible, and more! This might not be the best Bible reading plan for beginners, but it is a good choice for people who already know what they want to read.
Read 5 x 5 x 5. This is a variation on the New Testament Reading plan. It’s 5 days a week, 5 minutes a day, with 5 ways to dig deeper. You can print out the plan and 5 ways to dig deeper here.
Read it in 3 years. This isn’t as much a recommendation for beginners as it is for busy people. If you’ve never read through the entire Bible, but want to, this 3 year plan goes through the Bible at a much slower pace than a one year Bible plan.
Read a book of the Bible in a set amount of time. An example of this would be the Psalms in 60 Days, reading a chapter of Proverbs for each day of the month (no chart needed most months, with 31 chapters!), or the New Testament letters in 4 months.
Find a plan in Bible apps & Audio Bibles. The YouVersion app is a very popular Bible app, and offers a variety of reading plans. If you’d rather read directly on the computer, you can check out Bible Gateway’s website and plans.
For audio Bibles, the Daily Audio Bible has a podcast as well as a website. Pray Every Day has a website that links to the app and podcast, and includes a prayer each day. Dwell is a subscription Bible reading app with topical plans, as well as short or longer plans, and more.
Choose a Strategy for Missed Days
It’s a good idea to plan what to do if you miss a day’s reading. One day’s reading is easy enough to catch up on; two week’s worth of reading is not.
If you plan on catching up, that’s fine; maybe choose to catch up over several days rather than all at once. Perhaps you could read two days at a time instead of one until you are caught up.
If you plan to skip those days, that’s fine, as well. If you are in the middle of a book of the Bible and it doesn’t make sense anymore, then you could skim the book or find a summary of the book online. (Bible Project has some good ones here.)
Whatever you do, know that God still loves you even if you fall behind on a Bible reading plan! God offers grace for us. He just wants to have you spend time with Him!
More Answers about Bible Reading Plans for Beginners
If you are still not sure about what to choose, these answers can help you out.
What’s the best Bible reading plan for beginners?
Honestly, there is no ONE best Bible reading plan for beginners, or for anyone! The best plan is one that you will actually use. That usually means that it is a doable amount of reading, that isn’t too hard to understand, and feels like you have learned something.
Reading a chapter each day in the book of John might be the best place to start for many people. It only takes 21 days, and gives a good foundation for reading the rest of the Bible.
Look over your options, and pray for guidance as you pick one. God will bless your time in His Word; He loves it when you read the Bible!
What’s the best Bible reading plan for busy people?
Again, there is not ONE single best Bible reading plan for busy people. Choosing one that feels like you will be able to stick with is probably the best choice.
Some busy people do like the option of using an audio Bible, because they can listen as they complete other things, especially repetitive chores and other tasks. Check out the Apps and Audio Bibles section above for more information.
What is the correct order to read the Bible?
One might assume that if you started at the beginning of a typical Bible, and stopped at the end, that this is the correct order to read the Bible. It is one correct order to reading the Bible, but there is no definitive correct order to reading the Bible.
If you are reading the Bible for history, reading it chronologically can make a difference in understanding. Bible Study Tools has a 365-day list here if you are interested.
There can definitely be a benefit to reading the Bible chronologically or in a different specified order, but it isn’t wrong to read the books of the Bible in any particular order.
What if I quit my Bible reading plan?
Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Maybe you have tried one or several Bible reading plans, and have not completed any. Or, you finished a reading plan and really felt burnt out on following a structure. None of this makes you a failure.
It is OK to say that a certain Bible reading plan is not for you. Where you make a mistake is when you decide Bible reading (or listening) is not for you. Experiment with different ways of getting into God’s Word.
Reading the Bible is an integral part of growing in Christ! 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
God wants to use the Bible in your life to make you a better Christian. Studying His Word can draw you closer to Him as you learn more truth about God. This is important for new Christians, as well as more experienced Christians.
What if I want a Bible reading plan that is more thorough or takes more time?
There are plans with more Scriptures to read each day than the ones listed here. They are covered in this article, Free Printable Read the Bible in a Year Plan List, featuring free Bible reading plans.
That article covers a variety of printable Bible reading plans that take about 15 minutes a day to complete, as well as other options. With those, you will read the whole Bible in just 365 days. It also includes chronological plans and other variations.
These are just some of the many different Bible reading plans available for beginners and busy people. The best plan is one that you will actually use, so take some time to find one that fits your needs and schedule.
And remember, the most important thing is to just start reading! The more you read, the more you will learn and grow in your faith.