How to Read the Bible in a Year (Without Quitting!)

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

Woman laying on grass reading the Bible

Last December, I challenged myself to read the Bible in a year. 

Having grown up in church my entire life — my grandpa was a pastor, and my mom has been the church pianist for decades — this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve read the Bible cover to cover.

However, I typically read Scripture much more slowly and tend to favor some books over others. So I decided this would be a good challenge!

 

My mom bought me this NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible for Christmas, and I’ve been going through it slowly but surely.

This has also been my first time reading the Bible chronologically, and I’m REALLY enjoying it!

Details I’d completely missed before are taking on a whole new meaning as I understand them within the context of the chronological timeline of the Bible.

(Plus, this NLT translation is just a delight. I’ve been reading it to my kids as well because it’s so conversational and easy to understand.)

 

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the many costs of running this site and allows me to help provide for my growing family. Thank you!

First, Should You Read the Bible in a Year?

While I’m thankful that I committed to reading my Bible in a year this past year, the challenge isn’t for everyone.

In fact, when my pre-teen was so inspired by me reading my Bible in a year, he also wanted to make a New Year’s resolution to read his brand new Bible in a year… I told him not to. (I strongly encouraged him to do an easier plan instead.)

While I’m obviously a huge fan of helping people fall in love with God’s Word and read it regularly (I literally wrote the book on the subject),  I’m also a huge fan of choosing a plan and a goal that’s right for YOU.

  • Pros: Reading the Bible in a year can help you understand the overall storyline, create disciplined, consistent habits around reading the Bible, create new connections you might miss when reading the Bible one random piece at a time, and encourage you to read parts you might otherwise be tempted to skip over.
  • Cons: Reading the Bible in a year may be too big of an undertaking for those who don’t already have solid Bible-reading habits or who are too busy, and it typically doesn’t leave enough time for reflection, hearing God’s voice, or practical application for your daily life.

 

I would only recommend challenging yourself to read the Bible in a year if: 

  • You have some familiarity with the Bible already (you’re not brand new with no Bible knowledge).
  • You can commit to setting aside 10-20 minutes every day for a year (or you’ll have time to catch up on days you’ll miss).
  • You choose a plan that makes sense for you (see the examples below) so you don’t get bogged down and quit.
  • You’re willing to create a consistent habit, a physical reminder, or accountability to help you follow through (again, see below).

 

Bible in a Year Printable Tracker

 

How to Read the Bible in a Year (Easy Method)

The easiest way to read the Bible in a year is to divide the number of pages by 365 to calculate how many pages to read each day. This is what I did.

In the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible I used, Genesis begins on page 6, and Revelation ends on page 1833. So I calculated: 1833 minus 5 (pages of notes), divided by 365 (days in a year), equals just over 5 pages a day.

This made for easy math, as I simply needed to read to a multiple of 5 each time (until the last couple days of the year, when I read a bit more since it wasn’t a perfect multiple of 5).

I also created a very simple Bible reading printable tracker calendar in Excel, printed it out, and stuck it in my Bible as a bookmark (see above). This way, I could easily keep track of my progress all year.

Having a tracker printed out where I could see it every day was really helpful!

 

Pros:

  • This method of  reading the Bible in a year was very simple, easy to track, and allowed me to read roughly the same amount each day. If I fell behind (and I did!), catching up was very simple.
  • I loved that I wasn’t jumping around from passage to passage. I simply picked up wherever I left off each day.
  • Plus, you could easily use this method with any Bible in any translation you prefer (NIV, NLT, NKJV, etc.).

Cons:

  • I didn’t love that my daily stopping points didn’t always align with a natural stopping point in the text. Because of this, I’d typically read a little more or less so I didn’t end in the middle of a paragraph or a few paragraphs into the next book.
  • Some books (particularly Jeremiah and Ezekiel) felt like they took forever to get through, since they weren’t broken up by other, easier, portions of Scripture.
  • Also, the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible I used has a LOT of study notes that felt very repetitive and unnecessary at times. Reading the Bible in one year would have gone a LOT faster if I hadn’t read all the notes, too. In fact, it was very common for half of each page (or more) to be taken up with notes, maps, and additional descriptions. (See below.)

 

NLT Chronological Bible Notes
In this example: The red areas are actual Scripture. The rest of the text is all notes.

 

Reading the Bible in a Year Can Be Fun and Enjoyable!

 

Fall in Love with God's Word Book and WorkbookBy the way, if you’re truly interested in learning how to read the Bible, I’d love to invite you to check out my brand new book: Fall in Love with God’s Word: Practical Strategies for Busy Women! 

Practical, encouraging, and full of biblical truth, Fall in Love with God’s Word has everything you need to learn how to:

  • Overcome 7 common obstacles preventing you from spending time in Scripture
  • Discover the personalized Bible-reading routine that works for YOU
  • Learn 15 easy ways to make reading the Bible for beginners more meaningful and enjoyable
  • Use Scripture to conquer sin, false beliefs, and negative thought patterns
  • Experience fresh spiritual growth and passion for God’s Word.

Please visit Amazon.com or your local bookstore to learn more and grab your copy of Fall in Love with God’s Word (and its companion workbook) today!

 

Learn More Pink Button

 

 

Popular Bible in a Year Reading Plans

Ready to challenge yourself to read the Bible in a year?

Before you begin, you’ll want to choose the type of Scripture reading plan that makes the most sense for you. Three common Bible reading plans include: Canonical, chronological, and daily sampling.

 

Bible in a Year Printable Reading Plan
Click the image for a FREE Bible in a Year Reading Plan Printable!

 

1. Canonical Order

“Canonical order” reading plans take you through the entire Bible in a year, reading cover to cover.

You might read a certain number of pages, chapters, or specific passages each day, but you go in the traditional Bible order most Bibles are printed in, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation.

  • Pros: These daily reading plans are fairly simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. You start strong in Genesis, which is easy to understand and enjoyable to read. Because this is a popular method, it’s easy to find a wide variety of plans to suit your needs.
  • Cons: While Genesis and Exodus are great reads, it’s easy (and common) to get bogged down once you come to Leviticus. The more challenging or less interesting books can feel like they drag on forever, making quitting tempting.

 

Tip: I created a FREE Bible in a Year Reading Plan Printable PDF you can download, print out, and stick in your Bible here. 

 

2. Chronological Order

With “Chronological order” reading plans, all the Old Testament readings and New Testament readings are broken up and rearranged. Whether you’re reading prophecy, poetry, or epistles, you still get all the same Bible passages —  just in a different order.

For example, instead of reading the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) one at a time, chronological reading plans combine and reorganize these passages so you read through the events in the order they happened.

I used a Chronological Bible reading plan this year, and really enjoyed it.

  • Pros: Many parts of the Bible make more sense when read in order rather than jumping between varying accounts. It’s interesting to compare details across accounts when the stories are grouped together. Plus, seeing the events in order (particularly many of the Psalms) provides helpful context for each reading.
  • Cons: Similar to the canonical order, it’s still easy to get bogged down in the more challenging parts of the Bible.

 

3. Daily Sampling

“Daily Sampling” reading plans give you daily reading plans that contain a little from different sections of the Bible each day.

For example, you may read an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, and a Psalm each day rather than simply reading the Bible straight through.

  • Pros: Because you’re reading from multiple parts of the Bible each day, you’re less likely to feel bogged down in some of the more difficult books.
  • Cons: However, for the same reason, it can feel very disorienting to jump around each day. You’re frequently reading passages out of context or reading two or three passages at the same time that aren’t closely related.

 

Popular “Read the Bible in a Year” Apps

Want to use technology to help you read through the Bible in a year? Here are a few of my favorite Bible apps with plans specifically designed to help you read the Bible in a year.

 

1. YouVersion Bible App + Audio

Arguably the most popular Bible app, YouVersion offers multiple Bible in a Year reading plans with new plans being added all the time. Check out the popular The Bible Recap With Tara-Leigh Cobble for a time-tested favorite, or browse the options to choose something perfect for you.

YouVersion offers multiple popular translations, offline access, and a user-friendly platform that makes keeping up with your daily Bible reading easy and convenient.

 

2. Through the Word App

My favorite Bible app, Through the Word, is a pastor-led guided audio Bible app that provides users with short 10-minute audio summaries alongside every chapter of the Bible.

While they don’t have a specific “Bible in a Year” plan that takes you through every Scripture passage in 365 days exactly, this is a fantastic option for anyone who needs help with their understanding of Scripture. With 1,189 chapters total in the Protestant Bible, if you aim to listen to 3-4 chapters (with corresponding audio guides) each day, you’ll finish the entire Bible by the new year.

This method is a bit more time-consuming (each audio guide is about 10 minutes long). However, it will help you understand the Bible in a deeper way than you likely would if you simply speed-read through each of the books without commentary on your own.

 

3. Ascension | Bible & Catechism

Catholic readers: Don’t miss “The Bible in a Year” with Father Mike Schmitz, a Bible-in-a-year plan that’s become incredibly popular over the past few years. It’s available on multiple podcast platforms as well as the Ascension | Bible & Catechism app.

Based on The Great Adventure Bible Timeline developed by Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins to share salvation history, this Bible in a year plan features 365 episodes with daily Scripture readings, reflections, and guided prayer delivered through well-known Catholic priest Fr. Mike Schmitz.

I haven’t listened to The Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz myself yet, though I’ve wanted to. From everything I’ve read, people give it great reviews. (Ascension offers a “Catechism in a Year” plan as well, that sounds interesting.)

However, the daily Scripture readings are arranged so that you’re reading through multiple points in OT history or NT history at the same time, which seems like it would be very confusing. (See below.) While this method of reading is very common for Catholic Mass, it is a big drawback and hesitation for me, as I believe it takes passages out of context, so you lose a lot of the meaning.

 

Bible in a Year Daily Readings
In “The Bible in a Year” with Fr. Schmitz, the daily readings don’t match up. You’re jumping back and forth throughout and between OT and NT history, which sounds very confusing to follow.

 

How Long Does it Take to Read the Bible?

You can read the Bible in a year by reading 10-20 minutes each day. This amount can vary depending on how slowly or quickly you read, the number of additional notes in your study Bible, or any additional commentary you may read or listen to in an app.

 

How to Read the Bible in a Year (Without Quitting!)

For many Bible readers, the most difficult part of reading the Bible in a year is staying consistent and not giving up. These tips will help.

 

1. Choose an Easy-to-Read Translation

Assuming you’re not planning to read the Bible in the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, whichever Bible you choose will be a translation of the original text… and not all translations are created equal.

For a goal of reading through the Bible in a year, you want to prioritize a translation that’s highly readable and easy to understand. Personally, I loved reading through the NLT this year. Alternately, the NIV is a great choice as well.

 

2. Choose a Plan that’s Realistic for YOU

Do you prefer to read straight through the Bible cover to cover so you get everything in context, or would it be easier for you to read a plan that lets you sample different portions of the Bible each day?

Would you focus better with a paper Bible and printable tracker (like I did), or would an audio Bible app be more convenient for you?

Don’t worry about how other people read the Bible in a year. Which method makes the most sense for your life and preferences?

 

3. Create a Routine (But Hold it Loosely)

When I first started reading my Bible regularly, I found it incredibly helpful to choose a specific time each day I could set aside to help me be consistent. For example, this could be:

  • Before the kids wake up
  • Over breakfast
  • While driving the kids to school (Though be careful of Scriptures with adult themes)
  • On your morning commute
  • While you walk the dog or run on the treadmill
  • On your lunch break
  • While the babies nap
  • While you fold laundry or do the dishes
  • While your husband watches the kids in the evening
  • While you shower or brush your teeth (with a shower-proof speaker)
  • Before you go to bed

This worked really well for me when I was first starting out!

Now, I still have a time I consider “best,” but I don’t lock myself into that time specifically.

If I forget in the morning, I’ll find time later in the day. If I don’t have time one day, I’ll make up for it the next day or the following weekend.

Consistency is great for building habits, but consistency is a tool, not the goal.

If you miss a day — that’s totally fine! Just keep going. You aren’t a failure. You’re learning. You’re making progress. You’ll get there!

 

4. Set Up Helpful Reminders or Accountability

If you often forget or get busy, what would help you stay on track?

Could you:

  • Leave your Bible and printable tracker where you’ll see them often
  • Promise the kids you’ll read them the Bible at night (so they remind you)
  • Ask your husband, best friend, or mom to hold you accountable
  • Set a reminder alarm or notification on your phone
  • Plan to read before/after/during another task you won’t forget to do each day

The goal isn’t to follow your plan perfectly the first time. It’s to keep testing and tweaking until you find a plan that works for you!

 

Additional Resources to Help You Read the Bible in a Year

 

Here at Equipping Godly Women, I have a TON of resources to help you successfully read the Bible in a year.

Here are a few additional posts you may enjoy:

 

How to Read the Bible (Easy Instructions for Beginners!)

How to Read the Bible Daily (And Make it a Habit)

Do You Truly Enjoy Reading the Bible? You Can!

How to Study the Bible for Yourself (Easy Beginner Method)

How to Stop Getting So Distracted During Prayer and Bible Study

Struggling to Read the Bible Consistently? Here are 7 Reasons Why

Five Bible Myths to Avoid

Create Your Own Bible Study Basket

10 Best Bible Studies for Women to Help You Grow in Faith

What to Look for In a Women’s Bible Study

7 Best Bible Study Apps for Christian Women — All Free!

 

Have you ever read the Bible in a year? What tips or tricks helped you stay on track?

Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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  1. I read through the Bible in a year in 2022 using The Bible Recap with Tara-Leigh Cobble, and in 2023 using the One Story That Leads To Jesus from BibleProject – both using the YouVersion app. Using the audio Bible while on my commute is what worked best for me – if you can add consistent Bible reading to an existing habit then that can help. The podcasts from TLC were a really excellent accompaniment to the readings. I liked the videos for the BibleProject plan but some days the readings were exceptionally long so it would have been nice if they were a bit more balanced.

    1. Great job for reading through the Bible 2 years in a row! I love that you were able to incorporate listening to the Bible to your commute. Thank you for your recommendations and advice.

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