How to Create a Bible Reading Plan
So much of the struggle to consistently devout time to Bible reading and study boils down to this: lack of planning.
When we don’t have a plan for when, how, and what we will read, we spend precious time in our busy days trying to decide what to do and wondering if we’re doing it right.
As Mary Poppins (and my father every time we began a family project) said, “Well begun is half done.”
Having a clear plan in place instead of haphazardly trying to make something work can be the difference in forming a habit of Bible reading or reading your Bible in spurts here and there when you feel motivated. Knowing when in your day you’ll have time, how you’re going to spend that time, and what you’re going to read takes the guesswork and stressful mental energy out of the process so that you can devote your energies instead to reading and understanding the Bible.
Today, we’re going to create a plan for your Bible reading.
We’re going to go through your when, your how, and your what to come up with a clear, realistic plan for you this month.
When to Read the Bible
If you’re going to make Bible reading a daily habit, it needs to be a part of your routine. Just like brushing your teeth, it needs to be an intentional part of your predictable time each day.
The first thing to do is to think about when you’re able to incorporate reading. Would setting the alarm clock 10 minutes earlier allow you to read your Bible while you drink some coffee? Would keeping your Bible next to your bed prompt you to spend a few minutes in the Word before you go to sleep? Would setting your Bible on the kitchen counter be a reminder to read after you finish cleaning the kitchen?
Think about your daily routine and determine a specific time (I will read my Bible at 6:15 every morning) or event sequence (I will read my Bible after I get ready in the morning but before I eat breakfast) where you can incorporate a few extra minutes to read your Bible.
Generally, I find it is easiest to aim for the morning or the evening when you’re home and less likely to be interrupted by scheduled, out-of-the-house demands. While mid-day routines work for some people, in my life these routines are the most likely to be interrupted or changed by plans, work, or expected delays while my morning and evening routine are less malleable.
Personally, I keep my Bible next to my morning coffee spot. It’s part of my “pre-laptop” morning routine. Reading at night may work for some but I’ve found that the longer I wait to do something in my day, the more likely it is that I will find excuses, inconveniences, or reasons why it doesn’t need to happen. Reading my Bible first thing in the morning allows for very little time for this spiritual attack that would deter me from reading Scripture!
Take a minute to write down when you’ll read your Bible this month.
How to Read the Bible
While the “how” of reading the Bible might seem obvious, I would argue that everyone reads the Bible a little differently and determining not the ideal plan but the practical plan is important in making the habit stick.
Do you use a Bible reading app but get distracted when you’re on your phone? Does reading on your phone first thing in the morning sound easier than tracking down your Bible each day? Would an audio Bible during your morning commute be a better option?
Be honest about your habits! Figure out the best Bible option for you and then decide what exactly you’re going to do with your Bible time.
Will it consist solely of reading? Does keeping a notepad for questions seem helpful? What about journaling a short response or spending time in prayer? Will you read silently or out loud?
Think through your habits, both realistically as they are now and the ones you’d like to develop, and settle on something that recognizes where you’re at currently and makes small, attainable changes to the ones you’d like to develop.
Write out your how for the next 31 days.
What to Read in the Bible
Deciding what you’re going to read in the Bible is a crucial part of developing this habit.
When you’re unsure of what to read, it is hard to know where to begin. When you have a plan in place for what book of Bible you’re going to read and how many chapters or verses you’re going to tackle, it makes it harder to put off.
Decide today what you’re going to read tomorrow (and maybe even beyond then). In some seasons, I’ve tackled reading through entire Epistles in the morning. Other times, I’ve committed to reading through 1 chapter of the prophets or gospels. Deciding ahead of time means that when the morning comes and my sleepy mind gets distracted or busy, it’s harder to put off Bible reading because I know specifically what I’m putting off. I’m not putting off a vague “I should read something,” I’m putting off reading Isaiah 23.
Think about when you’ve committed to reading your Bible and think about what a generous but sustainable goal would look like. Are you in a season where you should commit to several chapters or a page?
Pick a goal that is sustainable and make a plan.
Write down what book of the Bible you’re going to read and how much you’re going to read from that book.
If you need help forming a plan, I’ve created a simple Bible study to help you develop a consistent Bible reading habit. It has 2 reading options each day. The base plan takes about 10-15 minutes of reading. This plan will guide you through reading the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke throughout the month and provides thoughtful questions each day, encouraging you to not just read but reflect on your Scripture reading. The optional additional reading adds roughly another 10 minutes of reading and guides you through the Gospel of John and the book of Acts and is a nice supplement to the synoptic Gospel readings.
In addition to the Bible reading and study plan mentioned above this digital download contains a Bible Reading Habit Tracker which you can download and print off to help encourage you to develop a habit of daily Bible reading.
I hope that these guidelines help you develop a strong plan for consistent Bible reading!
Reading and studying Scripture is always a valuable investment of our time and energy. While all habits can be tricky to start and maintain, having a plan in place can make a huge difference in implementation!
I’d love for you to share in the comments what you’re Bible reading When, How, and What are!