Bible Reading

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

The Role of the Bible

Reciting the Bible on a daily basis as a form of ritualistic obedience provides little value to the reader. Yet on the other hand, to set Scripture aside and thereby neglect its power is to miss the help that God provides in its pages. Human beings benefit from the Bible when we look to it as the primary means to understand God and our position in the world. In taking this approach we can better comprehend the deeper meaning of our existence here on earth. There is no more appropriate time to read the Bible than when we are in mourning. Below I offer a Bible reading plan for those who would like to engage in Scripture in a regular way.

New Testament Readings

Paul the Apostle assures Timothy that all Scripture is inspired by God. This means that we can be enriched from all parts of it. That being said, I believe the best place to begin one's reading of the Word is in the deeds and dialogues of Jesus Christ. My approach is to start with the Gospel of Luke, continue forward into the Acts of the Apostles, and then move on through the rest of the New Testament.

With this perspective in mind, this webpage offers a suggested weekly reading schedule through all of the books of the New Testament. The following plan is adapted from another website I have created to help people engage more regularly with Scripture. That website can be visited at: Visitors will find additional free Bible lessons and studies there.


The suggested reading schedule can be accessed by following the button above. It provides a reading calendar for the entire New Testament, and it can be started any day of the year. (Once the Google spreadsheet has been opened, it can be printed out and placed in your Bible for easy reference, or you can bookmark the URL on your smartphone or tablet.) Note that this reading schedule spreads out the Gospels across the year rather than grouping them together at the front.

The cadence of this reading plan is fairly simple. Read five chapters of the New Testament per week. It is interesting to note that under this reading schedule, the New Testament can be completed in exactly 52 weeks (one year). Hence this plan proposes a bounded rhythm of engagement. Moreover, it's also achievable. It provides a flexible system for keeping participants on track each week. The sections below offer specific details on how to stay focused in the readings.


To regularly engage in Scripture requires discipline. The participant must be committed to reading on a regular basis. The best approach is to read one chapter per day for five days. It is not as beneficial to read several chapters in a single day. Since missing a daily reading may happen, there are two extra days available in the week to make up a skipped reading assignment. For example, a participant may decide to read one chapter each day, Monday through Friday, and then take Saturday and Sunday off. This is a fine approach, but if, for example, the reading on Thursday is missed, Friday should be the fourth reading and Saturday should be used to catch up on the fifth reading. While it is possible, it is not as beneficial to read two chapters on Friday. To help you stay on track, consider the following suggestions and determine which ones work best for you:

  • Pick the specific days of the week you will read and stick to that schedule.

  • Read your Bible at the same time each day.

  • Try to keep your time commitment reasonable. (It only takes about 7 minutes to read a New Testament chapter.)

  • Make the reading process easy to do. When you first get started you don't need to add in prayers or research the passage. Once you establish a regular reading habit you will probably want to incorporate such extras, but don't worry about these at the beginning.

  • Read in the same physical location (e.g., at the breakfast table, in your recliner, at your desk, etc.)

  • Use a consistent mode of consumption (e.g., an electronic tablet, a paper Bible, an app on your phone).

  • As you finish your daily reading, check off the day on your paper calendar, phone app, or digital task list as a means to record your accomplishment and establish some momentum.

  • Find a friend to talk about your reading with.


Your goal for reading the Bible should not be to speed your eyes across the page so that you can say you completed your religious devotion. Instead, consider using the following approaches to get the most from this activity:

  • Use an easy to comprehend translation. I recommend the New Living Translation or the New International Version, but there are several excellent translations available today. (I don't recommend using a study bible as the notes and comments by the authors may create a distraction. For this activity, I am suggesting you engage in a devotion that helps you examine your attitudes and actions. This is not designed to be a Bible study that increases your academic knowledge.)

  • Look for practical advice. As you read the daily chapter, consider how you can apply some part of the passage to your life. Try not to be distracted by heady, theological curiosities. (See a previous blog post I made on this topic for a more detailed discussion on how to approach the reading.)

  • Underline or highlight one or two key verses. Denote the passage that the Holy Spirit is speaking to you through. One way to discover the key passage is to ask yourself, "if I had to memorize one verse from this chapter in order to recite it later as an encouragement or reminder, which one would it be?"

  • Identify the main message. When you finish reading the chapter, ask yourself, "How does this chapter change my current perspectives or inform how I should relate to God or others?"

  • Summarize it. If you are a journaler, write a quick takeaway from the chapter reading. If you are more of a verbalizer, talk out the big takeaway from the passage. If you are an artist, sketch out the big idea you gained. Whichever technique you choose, don't make this summary exercise too daunting. Give yourself three minutes and then feel free to move on with your day.


Reading the Bible will not magically alleviate one's grief, but it will create an opening for the Holy Spirit to minister to us. Moreover, as we read Scripture we invariably learn from others who have suffered. Through their trials we can gain a greater understanding of the role of suffering in our own life, how to respond to it, and ultimately what is causing it. For further biblical insights on this topic visit the webpage, Causes of Pain.

If you desire to better understand and improve your condition, there is no better source to learn from than the Word of God.

Abraham Lincoln (16th President of the United States)

"In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong." -- Abraham Lincoln

Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 7. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Digital Library Production Services. 2001.