Article by: Sarah Koontz, Founder of Living by Design Ministries
This time last year, I decided to start a yearly Bible reading plan.
I honestly didn’t think I was capable of sticking with it.
But I wanted so badly to read my Bible in a year.
So I tossed my fears aside and gave it a try!
And, to my absolute astonishment, I completed my yearly Bible reading plan with a few days to spare.
This is not to say I didn’t have lots of detours, distractions, and disappointments to overcome along the way.
Because I did.
The first month, I was nearly perfect in my execution. Every day, like clockwork.
Then I started to slip, and was completing my plan in only 2-3 days a week (reading several days of the plan each time I sat down to do it, mostly on weekends).
Then life happened, and I got nearly a month behind.
I was tempted to give up, but I had told so many people I was doing this plan, I just couldn’t quit!
Thanks to a relaxing Saturday afternoon and the audio version of the Bible on the YouVersion app, I was able to catch up.
After that huge victory, I had no trouble finishing strong, and WOW—I cannot tell you how profoundly this 15-minute a day commitment changed my life!
When we choose to spend more time in God’s Word, God’s Word spends more time in us.When we choose to spend more time in God's Word, God's Word spends more time in us.
Now that I know what it feels like to read through the Bible in a year, I cannot imagine not reading my Bible every year.
It strengthened my relationship with God, it deepened my understanding of God, and it illuminated God’s plan for my life in a vibrant new way.
All this got me to thinking…
If committing to a yearly Bible reading plan changed my life so profoundly, I wonder how it has impacted the lives of other women who have made similar commitments.
So I decided to ask, and you guys!
I was totally blown away by the responses.
In this article, you will hear from twenty women who have completed several different yearly Bible reading plans. Some have done it for one year, others for three to four years, and a few have done it more than fifteen years.
These ladies inspire me!
If you have ever wanted to read through your Bible in a year, but didn’t know where to start, this blog post is for you.
These ladies’ inspiring testimonials of what God can do in our lives when we choose to open our Bibles on a consistent basis are going to blow your mind.
The Bible truly is the greatest story ever written, and I pray the tips and testimonials in this article encourage you to take the plunge and try reading through your Bible in the next year (or 6-months, or 3-years, or whatever works best for you).
Enjoy.If you have ever wanted to read through your Bible in a year, but didn't know where to start, this blog post is for you.
Photography by Kristi Foreman.
Why did you decide to commit to a yearly Bible reading plan?
I’ve always wanted to know the full breadth of God’s Word, and how every book points to Christ. I was intimidated by the challenge as a busy college student, but once graduated, married, and expecting a little one, I took the time to really invest in His Word and I’m so glad I did! –Dani Munoz
A friend was reading her Bible this way and recommended it. –Traci Rhoades
I’d studied the Bible for years but I wanted to read and experience first-hand the big picture of God’s plan by reading His story cover to cover. I also wanted to be able to say I’d read through the entire Bible. I remembered seeing my grandmother’s Bible laid open on her kitchen table with dates marked for where she would start and stop each day. I wanted to leave a similar legacy for my children and grandchildren. –Stacy Averette
At 66 years of age I realized I had never read through the Bible…it was time! –Susan Chamberlain Shipe
I grew up as a Christian but felt convicted that I hadn’t read through the whole Bible. As I prepared to become a mom, I wanted to know all the stories so I could teach them to my children. –Sarah Geringer
I wanted to commit to being in the Word daily and start a lifelong habit of daily Bible time. –Samantha W.
I really believe that the Bible is meant to be read as a story and not in bits and pieces, which is why a yearly Bible reading plan has been so impactful for me! –Hallie Liening
What was your biggest obstacle in completing a yearly Bible reading plan?
This year, I am reading through the Bible out loud with my husband, and our biggest obstacle is falling behind. Catching up can be difficult and discouraging! We have managed it by reading in the car or whenever we can grab a few minutes together. -Michelle Morin
I am a rule follower and so I have to be OK with missing a day and starting back up on the next day. I have to give myself grace that it is OK to miss a day here and there. –Fran MaynardI am a rule follower and so I have to be OK with missing a day and starting back up on the next day. I have to give myself grace that it is OK to miss a day here and there. -Fran Maynard
I’ve had to overcome the need to dig deep into every detail, and be contented with the fact that I’m supposed to be flying over the whole story with a bird’s eye view. I have to give myself grace when I don’t perfectly understand or connect everything I feel I should, knowing that there will be time to do that on a rest day or after the plan has ended. –Hallie Liening
Being consistent and not falling behind. –Jennifer
I had to realize I wouldn’t be able to read every single day. When I took away the guilt for missing or skipping a day, I felt free to come back to the Bible the next day with no hesitation. –Sarah E. Frazier
Adjustment of a routine! It’s only about 15 minutes a day, but I’ve really had to be intentional not to skip it as it’s a new habit. –Becky Weiss
How did reading through the Bible strengthen your relationship with God?
It led me to deeper repentance and heart transformation – and to a growing understanding of the magnitude of God’s gift of mercy and grace to me. –Anna Smit
Reading through the Bible became a year-long conversation where God spoke so deeply and personally to me. Each morning, I couldn’t wait to see what God had to say to me in whatever reading that day held. –Lisa Appelo
When I am immersed God’s whole Word, I get such a firm assurance that He is who He says He is, He is always good, and He can be trusted. –Hallie Liening
Nothing else has transformed me more powerfully. The Word of God is alive and powerful, and even though I’ve read through the whole Bible 16 times, I learn something new every day. The Holy Spirit speaks to me most often through the Word itself. I look forward to a new insight every morning. –Sarah Geringer
My relationship with God flourished when I committed to a yearly Bible reading plan and I was amazed at how God used the Bible to transform my life. –Lizzy Deutscher
It has opened my eyes in a thousand ways, one of which is a bigger understanding of how organized and intentional God is. He’s got a plan and has absolute control over it. –Traci Rhoades
Nothing has helped me grow in faith more than reading God’s Word from cover to cover. God’s Word reveals who He is. In His Word I discovered His heart and His character. In Him I found the Treasure my heart longs for and now I understand how He delights in me. –Crystal StormsNothing has helped me grow in faith more than reading God's Word from cover to cover. -Crystal Storms
What would you say to someone considering a yearly Bible reading plan?
Completing a yearly Bible reading plan helps you see the whole picture, instead of just pixels. The Bible interprets itself, so when we read the whole thing through you get a real sense of the context and even our favorite verses become more rich with truth. – Liz Giertz
It can be difficult commitment to keep, so you have to be reasonable about the season you’re in. Don’t give up when you fall behind, but keep checking those daily boxes as you go, even if the dates are off. God is pleased by your faithfulness, not necessarily your productivity. –Dani Munoz
Reading Scripture in its entirety allows you to be immersed in truth as nothing else will. It’s a place to meet daily with the Lord and prayerfully allow His Spirit to guide you through HIStory and watch the faithfulness and power of the Living God. –Becky Weiss
If you want to find peace that lasts, the path to finding it is spending regular time in God’s Word. Completing a yearly Bible reading plan will teach you who God is, what He wants for you, and how to be more like Jesus. It’s powerful and life-changing! –Sarah GeringerCompleting a yearly Bible reading plan will teach you who God is, what He wants for you, and how to be more like Jesus. It's powerful and life-changing! -Sarah Geringer
Each time you read through the Bible you’ll see something you’ve never seen before. The “wow moments” (as I call them) will change your view of God and life forever. –Stacy Averette
Do it! Completing a Bible reading plan gives you a big picture view that enables you to put all the details in their proper place when you do closer study of individual books later on. It’s hard to study the Bible rightly without context, and every book of the Bible has its own unique context in the greater storyline. –Hallie Liening
If you are looking for a way to deepen your spiritual walk, learn more about God, and live your calling then a yearly Bible reading plan is a great way to do that. You will see that reading through the Bible not only grows your relationship with Christ, it also grows your relationships with others. Your eyes will be more focused on God and less on the world. –JenniferIf you are looking for a way to deepen your spiritual walk, learn more about God, and live your calling then reading the Bible through is a great way to do that. -Jennifer Lane
What is your favorite yearly Bible reading plan and why?
I loved this 5-day reading plan, because it brings you into the Old and New Testament everyday, and is chronological as well. It being 5 days helped incredibly to complete it, because I could catch up if needed on the two free days. –Dani Munoz
Consistent reading and journaling have been the way God has grown me, shown up for me, and built my faith and relationship with Him. When I’m not in His Word, I notice a difference in my attitude and my heart right away. I have completed six or seven yearly Bible reading plans, but the Life Journal plan is my favorite. –Liz PetruzziWhen I'm not in God's Word, I notice a difference in my attitude and my heart right away. - Liz Petruzzi
I am enjoying Cheri Fuller’s The One Year Praying Through the Bible this year – it combines my love of the Word and my love of praying God’s Promises. –Anna Smit
I love the Bible 180 plan. By following this plan, you’ll get from Genesis through Revelation in exactly 180 days (with weekly rest days). I have created a community of people going through this plan together, and offer accountability e-mails to keep you on track each week. We would love to have you join us. –Hallie Liening
The M’Cheyne plan is my all-time favorite. I love it because each day takes you through reading in four different books. There’s no getting bogged down in, say, the denser chapters of Leviticus or the minor prophets. There are readings each day in the Old and New Testaments and the M’Cheyne plan takes you through Psalms twice. –Lisa Appelo
My favorite is the One Year Bible Creative Expressions Version. Each day’s reading includes portions from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. There’s also lots of room for journaling and note taking. –Sarah Geringer
After completing more than a dozen yearly Bible reading plans in the past 20 years, I decided to slow my reading down this year and start journaling as I read. I have chosen the Bible in Three Years Plan to accomplish this. I am loving the deeper swim! It is awesome to read cover to cover in a year but know that a slower pace is very beneficial, too. One chapter a day will take you cover to cover in three years. –Leann RichardsonIt is awesome to read cover to cover in a year but know that a slower pace is very beneficial, too. One chapter a day will take you cover to cover in three years.
One of my favorites is the “From Genesis to Jesus” plan. It’s a 9-month plan giving a full overview of Scripture, highlighting three themes through daily sSripture readings, Bible Project videos, and original devotions: 1) Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament. 2) God’s mission to restore creation. 3) God’s surprising grace in the face of human idolatry, evil, and injustice. –Vanessa S.
I prefer this Bible reading plan I learned from a long-time mentor. Basically, you read one chapter in the Old Testament, a chapter in Psalms/Proverbs, and a chapter in the New Testament every day. It takes about 2-3 years to read the entire Bible, but three chapters a day is completely doable. –Sarah E. FrazerIt takes me 2-3 years to read the entire Bible on this plan, but three chapters a day is completely doable for a busy mom like me! -Sarah Frazier
My goal for many years was to read the Bible from cover to cover in one year. I started every year with great intentions. But ended with another failed attempt. I finally discovered one-year Bibles, and have read God’s Word from beginning to end since 2009. Recently, I created the “Close to His Heart Bible Reading Plan” which includes a variety of scriptures from the Old and New Testament each day. I invite you to join me in reading the Bible together. –Crystal Storms
Additional advice you’d offer someone who is considering a yearly Bible reading plan?
Don’t think just because we are “late” into January that it’s too late. It’s never too late to get into God’s Word. Look for a plan that will get your through the year and it doesn’t have to be one that overwhelms you. You can even listen to it (using the YouVersion App) while you wash the dishes, fold the laundry, carpool your kids here to there. –Jennifer
Reading through the Bible with a plan will help you keep going! Even if it is a week and I’ve not read, there is comfort in knowing I can pick up where I left off. –Sarah E. Frazer
There are SO MANY plans available. Maybe you prefer a chronological approach? Perhaps you’d like to challenge yourself and read the NT twice, while working your way through the OT and digesting it more slowly. See what’s available and what works for your interests and personality. You can do it! –Becky Weiss
Give yourself some grace. If you miss a day, you’re not doomed. If your 365 day plan takes you 15 or 18 or 24 months it is OK. –Liz GiertzIf your 365 day Bible reading plan takes you 15 or 18 or 24 months it is OK.
Wasn’t that inspiring?
If you are like me, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.
There are so many options and ideas in this post, it’s difficult to know where to start.
And I don’t want to leave you dazed and confused, so here are 3 things you need to do right away (before the inspiration wears off ):
- Commit to reading through the Bible in a set period of time (6 months, 1 year, 3 years) and write that commitment down on paper.
- Choose a yearly Bible reading plan. The plan I used was the Blue Letter Bible Chronological Plan. This plan is not dated, so you can start it any time. And my friends shared lots of other options and ideas in this article, so pick one and start tomorrow!
- Carve out time each day to read God’s Word and then have lots of grace for yourself (but don’t give up, even when you get behind).
To reiterate, before you close this article, do these three things: COMMIT to reading through the Bible, CHOOSE a plan that fits your personality, and CARVE out time each day to fulfill your commitment.Are you ready to COMMIT to reading through the Bible, CHOOSE a plan that fits your personality, and CARVE out time each day to fulfill your commitment?
You absolutely, totally, certainly, and unquestionably will not regret this decision.