Bible Reading Plans to Help You Know God Better in 2020
Research shows that only 18% of born-again believers read their Bibles on a daily basis. This is less than 2 of every 10 believers. What's more, 23% say they never read the Bible, which is about 1 in 4.*
Are you among the 8 believers who don't read their Bible consistently? Are you that 1 person out of 4 who never reads it?
If so, you're missing out on a deeper relationship with God. But the good news is that you have the power to change your habit in 2020. All you need is a direction.
The truth is, it doesn't matter what your Bible reading goal is, so long as you have one. You can choose to read the Bible through in an entire year, or to begin journaling alongside your Bible reading, or to pursue a specific kind of focus in your reading, like a chronological or archaeological focus. The goal is to find something that excites you and to run with it.
There are a ton of options out there. The following is a list that I've found helpful over the years. The translation you choose is entirely up to you.
The Reader's Bible
The original authors of Scripture didn't cite their sentences with a chapter and verse, manuscript notes, or commentary. These have been added to help us navigate through the Scriptures. While they're helpful, they can also be distracting. A Reader's Bible doesn't have any references, notes, or commentary, which can free you from distractions and let you focus on God's Word.
There are a lot of great Reader's Bibles out there. I personally like the volume options versus the single book option.
Another trend in Bible reading plans are Bibles that include margins with lines for note-taking. I personally always struggled with journaling because it seemed like an overwhelming chore, but a Journal Bible is helpful because it's all in one. I don't need a computer or notepad to capture what God is sharing. I can write a sentence or two right next to the verse I just read.
This is my current Bible reading strategy and it's done wonders for my personal relationship with God.
The NET Bible is a unique translation developed by scholars who included every note (60,000 plus notes!) as to how and why they chose the words they chose. This is essentially the opposite of a Reader's Bible; it's full of fun "distractions"!
I personally use the NET Bible for serious Bible study and highly recommend it for anyone interested in going extra deep in 2020.
(On a related note, I often get asked about my favorite Bible translations. My favorite is the NASB, but I like a variety of translations and use them for different purposes. I currently preach from the CSB, do my devotions from the ESV, and pursue serious study out of the NET and NASB.)
You can find all kinds of options for the NET Bible on their website (including a journal version): https://netbible.com/
The Chronological Bible
Our Bibles are not laid out in chronological order, and sometimes this can throw us off from comprehending biblical history. A chronological bible is helpful insofar as it mixes and matches books and even chapters to put the Bible into chronological order from "in the beginning" to "come, Lord Jesus."
The Story Bible is a lot like the Chronological Bible, but focuses more on the overall narrative of Scripture versus making sure that every verse and chapter is placed in the correct order.
It's important to note that while the Story Bible includes verses of the Bible, it does not include every verse because it doesn't repeat stories. It's more of a storybook that includes the Bible than a Bible itself.
God reveals Himself through His Word, but He is also revealing Himself through archaeological discoveries, too. The Archaeological Study Bible includes pictures and articles of riveting archaeological data next to their corresponding verses. For example, when fishermen are introduced in the Gospels, there might be an article about what fishing was like in the New Testament period as well as pictures of fishing tools that have been discovered. It's an incredibly fun way to read through the Bible.
The One-Year Bible is a neat option because it breaks down the Bible into daily readings, guiding you to read through the entire Bible in just one year. Some options include a "diet" of the Bible's types of literature, meaning you get a daily dose of wisdom, Old Testament, and New Testament literature.
A one-year plan may seem daunting, but the entire Bible can be read in 71 hours, which is the amount of television the average American watches in just two weeks! Mathematically, you can read through the entire Bible by devoting just 15 minutes a day to the effort.
Unfortunately, it seems hard to find a high-quality one year Bible option. I have a good version from a few years back that is now out of print. Most are paperback and thin pages.
If the paperback and thin pages dissuade you, you can always download a one-year plan simply by googling "one year Bible reading plans," and use it as a guide for whatever Bible you personally want to use, like any of the options included in this list.
These are just a handful of options that can inspire you to dive into God's Word in 2020. The key is to choose something that excites you and to make a commitment to read consistently.
Which Bible reading plan are you going to choose for 2020?
* Data taken from Donald Whitney's Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.