Bible reading plans for the New Year

The New Year is upon us and, although you can start following a reading plan at any time of the year, now is an excellent time to start! The big decision, though, is which plan? And how much time will it take?

For some of us, reading the whole Bible in a year is a daunting prospect.

  • Some of us are slow readers . . . help!
  • Some of us are really, really busy.
  • Some of us spend a lot of time in the car, commuting.

According to Bible Gateway, “By the end of February, reading plan traffic drops by one-third from January’s overall levels, and by the end of May, it drops by nearly one-half.”

In order to avoid failure, choose the reading plan that best suits your unique needs.

There is a plan to suit everyone

This is the beauty of these reading plans (and there are many more than we have listed here)—that there is a plan to suit everyone.

  • You can take it as fast or as slowly as you like.
  • You can choose a plan for only 5 days a week, giving you the weekends to catch up.
  • You can read the Bible on your phone, tablet or kindle, taking advantage of those free minutes you get when waiting in queues, etc.
  • You can listen to an audio version as you commute to work or fetch the children from school every day or even when you’re out jogging.
  • You can take as long as you like to get through the whole Bible—1 year, 2 years, 3 years—so there’s really no excuse.

How long does it take to read the whole Bible?

Answers to this question vary from 54 to 125 hours. The Bible is about 800,000 words long and the average person reads 250-300 words per minute, so it would take about 3,200 minutes or 54 hours. It takes just 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible through “at pulpit rate,” and aloud!

  • This fascinating YouTube clip discusses how long it takes to read the Bible.
  • J.A. Medders has an interesting graphic on how long it takes to read each book of the Bible.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. – Joshua 1:8

Some Bible reading plans for you to consider:

1. 5 x 5 x 5 Bible Reading Plan

5 minutes a day, 5 days a week (weekends free or for catch-up), 5 ways to dig deeper. This is a great place to start if you’re not currently reading the bible, as it’s do-able. This reading plan will take you through all 260 chapters of the New Testament, one chapter per day. The gospels are read throughout the year to keep the story of Jesus fresh all year.

2. Bible Gateway

Bible Gateway has some great reading plans, including reading the Bible in 2 years, or just the New Testament in a year. What’s also really nice, is that you can also choose a devotional to go with it, and they will send your readings to your inbox every day. How convenient is that!

3. Paul’s Life & Writings – 10 Week Bible Reading Plan

If you’re looking for something a bit different, you may like to try this 5 days a week, 10 week reading plan which chronologically melds Paul’s life and ministry with his letters.

4. Olive Tree Bible Study App

If you prefer gadgets to books, Olive Tree has apps for Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, Mac and Windows. Choose a Bible reading plan on topics such as marriage and forgiveness, or focus on books of the Bible and specific people found in scripture. Find a plan that fits your schedule with options from five days to as long as a year.

5. MyBible Social App

Read the Bible together with your friends anywhere! Plenty of Bible reading plans to choose from here, and also Spurgeon’s Morning Devotions. For iPhones and iPads.

6. Read the Bible Chronologically

Read through the Bible in the order the events occurred chronologically, and see the big picture, and how all the little pieces fit in. Bible Gateway has a plan for this and you can also download a PDF here or here. For those of you really familiar with the Bible, this would be a new take on some of the content and quite appealing to try.

7. Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System

Are you up for a challenge?

Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the Old Testament history and prophetic books about one and a half times.

You can download the free document here, and and read Tim Challies interesting article about this reading system here.

8. The Bible Reading Plan for Shirkers and Slackers

The title says it all (guilty feeling of empathy here). It takes away the pressure—take as long as you like. You get variety each week by alternating genres every day. Here’s the basic idea:

Sundays: Poetry
Mondays: Pentateuch (Genesis to Deuteronomy)
Tuesdays: Old Testament history
Wednesdays: Old Testament history
Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
Fridays: New Testament history
Saturdays: New Testament letters

9. Read Through the Bible on Your Own

When you’ve tried Bible reading plans, but never finished reading the Bible through . . .

Here is the perfect plan for you, because all you have to do is download this plan from Rachel Wojo and just cross off the chapters as you read them, then choose a passage you haven’t read, and before you know it, you’ll have completed the whole Bible, in your own time, without any stress.

The cool thing is that you don’t have to read in any particular order at all. If you want to follow a particular order, you certainly can. But you don’t have to. This way if you get interested in a particular book, you just keep going! – Rachel Wojo

10. The One Year Bible

I, personally, have found that the easiest thing to do is to read a One Year Bible where each day’s reading is set out for you (day and month only, so you can jump in any time). There is an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a passage from the Psalms each day. You can buy this Bible in a few versions and it’s available on Kindle.

11. Into Thy Word

Into Thy Word has some great Bible reading, printable plans (just scroll to the bottom of the page to download each pdf). These adventures in Bible literacy are designed to help get you started. These are excellent for new Christians, students, youth, and people on the go.

The ones I especially like are:

  • Bible Reading for New Christians – Thirty-one Days to Know God’s Plan for Us. This plan is a general overview of God’s encounter with humanity, our responses to Him, and how He gives us Hope, Salvation, and an Eternal Future.
  • Beginning Bible Reading Plan – A 31 Day Encounter with Jesus. This is an excellent plan to start out with, or use to refresh your faith. In just a few minutes a day for a month, you will be stronger in your faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ!













Aldyth Thomson

Aldyth organised the Beauty for Ashes women's conferences for 21 years since its inception in 1996. An ex history teacher, she and her husband ex-patted in Ghana, Zambia and Burkina Faso for 12 years before moving to Cape Town in 2017. She compiled the Beauty for Ashes Prayer Journal and co-authored the Beauty for Ashes Health Journal for Women with Sally-Ann Creed—a bestseller which was also translated into Dutch. She is a breast cancer survivor of 13 years.



  1. Alison December 31, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Aldyth. A very helpful blog post. Personally I decided to try Prof Grant Horners reading system this year and it has been challenging and wonderful revelation from the Word.

    • Aldyth Thomson
      Aldyth Thomson December 31, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      That’s wonderful, Alison! How long did that take you every day?

  2. Ingie Adams January 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    I would like to try reading the bible chronologically this year, maybe even leaving out the repeats in Kings and Chronicles and see how long that takes.

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