Reading the Bible through in a Year!

ignorance of Scripture JeromeAside from daily Mass and a commitment to silent prayer, the most important spiritual practice I’ve adopted as a Christian has been spending time in Scripture every day. Even having read the Bible 12 times, I still have to read with a pencil in hand. I’m always finding new insights, being shown new connections, and falling more in love with the Lord as I come to know him better. For me, it’s not enough just to read the books that I enjoy or the readings offered me by the liturgy–I need to wrestle with the hard stuff and find meaning in the boring stuff. And I need to know it all–not just so I can argue with it but so that I can live and breathe and love it. I need to replace the Beyoncé in my head with some Baruch and the Frozen (much though I love that movie) with Philippians. The only way that’s going to happen is if I’m in the Word every day. So that’s what I do.

The first time I read through the whole Bible, I started at Genesis and read till Revelation. It took me 5 years. Every subsequent time, I’ve managed it in a year. The problem with my cover-to-cover approach (among others) was that I’d get bogged down in Leviticus or Ezekiel and it was hard to motivate myself to keep going. When I switched to a yearly Bible schedule, I had a few chapters of Numbers each day but also a Psalm and half a chapter of a Gospel to keep me motivated. Plus the readings were associated with dates, so I couldn’t afford to get behind. I’ve used that schedule1 ten times and it’s served me well, particularly since it’s loosely linked with the liturgical year.

Lectio divina Bible handBut people have been asking me for years how to start reading the Bible, and my trusty old schedule wasn’t it. I began to realize that zipping through all of the Epistles in a month and then trudging through the Pentateuch wasn’t the best way to get much out of either. So I sat down and wrote out a whole new schedule. This one still gets you through the whole Bible in a year (and the Gospels twice), but it goes chronologically through the Old Testament (more or less) with New Testament books and fun books like Ruth and Jonah interspersed throughout to mix things up. It also gives you a chapter of some poetic stuff every day instead of dragging you through Proverbs for 200+ days. This schedule is more user-friendly, more reasonable for those who haven’t read the Bible before, and can start any day of the year. So now I’m passing it on to you!

Second century Christians would have given their eye teeth for my Bible's table of Contents.I will warn you: I didn’t start with the easy stuff. I can ease you into the Bible by giving (relatively) simple, pleasant stuff first. My approach here wasn’t to leave the hard stuff for the end but to put it in an order that made sense. So if you’ve never read the Bible before at all, you could take two days for each day on the schedule or start with just the Psalms and the Gospels. The important thing is to start.

If you print this schedule double-sided, you can fold it up to fit in your Bible. And when you print it, do yourself a favor and print out my Bible timeline, too. It’s one piece of paper that I keep in my Bible at all times–a quick explanation of how everything in the Old Testament connects to everything else. So when you’re reading Hosea, you can take a quick look and see that Hosea was prophesying to Israel before the Assyrian Exile. And you can even see that there are two kingdoms in the Old Testament, a fact that I missed until my third time through the Bible.

Bible Timeline

Download the document here.

Halfway through Lent (Laetare!) probably isn’t the best time to hand this to you guys, but Easter doesn’t mean the end of prayer, fasting, or almsgiving. Maybe you can start this schedule on Easter? Or any other day of the year. Or read the Bible through using some other schedule. But if you’re a Christian and you haven’t read the whole Bible, I really think you need to change that.

One Year Bible Chronological

Download the document here.

  1. Which I got off the internet and don’t have a source for, unfortunately. []

About Meg

I'm a Catholic, madly in love with the Lord, His Word, His Bride the Church, and especially His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist. I'm committed to the Church not because I was raised this way but because the Lord has drawn my heart and convicted my reason. After 2 degrees in theology and 5 years in the classroom, I quit my 9-5 to follow Christ more literally. Since May of 2012, I've been a hobo for Christ; I live out of my car and travel the country speaking to youth and adults, giving retreats, blogging, and trying to rock the world for Jesus.
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29 Responses to Reading the Bible through in a Year!

  1. Ed Graveline says:

    Thank you Meg. I had a one year read through the Bible and Catechism that I did once. It all tied into each other too.
    I am going to do your one year program starting with April 1 -day one.
    God bless you. Hope you are doing great. I know you are, but you remain in my prayers.
    Your Brother in Christ,

  2. Melissa says:

    Ooh, this is exciting! Maybe I will start on my birthday! Now I’m sounding like Cecilia . . . 🙂

  3. Jenny says:

    Awesome Meg! We are gently studying the scriptures over at Plain Grace this month. We’re easing into the practice of lectio divina. I hope {please} join us! Your love the Word of God is so beautiful.
    Jenny recently posted…When to Send a Blog NewsletterMy Profile

  4. Amanda says:

    I will have to check this out.

    I started your original schedule with Advent this year and made it halfway through January, but I found that somedays I couldn’t do the readings and I ended up trying to do 4 or 5 days worth of readings in one day. For the Gospels, that wasn’t too bad- but even several chapters of Isaiah were rough. And I couldn’t let myself fall behind, panicked, and finally gave up.

    To be fair, I just have a lot going on right now. I am in RCIA, so I have weekly readings for that. I have been consistenly reading the readings for Daily Mass, plus a bio of the Saint for each day. I started trying to read Divine Office everyday, but that got to be too much on top of my daily life with a 4 year old, a full time job, and a wedding to plan. Plus, I am devouring Scott Hahn books before Easter. I know there shouldn’t be an excuse, but I feel like all of that makes it somewhat excusable, for now.

    The Bible is hard, and I know it is worth it, but when you are just starting as a Christian/Catholic, reading “easier” spiritual things (i.e. Hahn) might be OK, right?

    My plan was to get through this giant list of other books that I really wanted to read (all spiritual or apologetic in nature) and at the start of next liturgical year, my first full liturgical year as a Catholic, set a schedule to read the CCC and the Bible.
    But, perhaps I will start it sooner rather than later.
    Amanda recently posted…2014: The Year of SacramentsMy Profile

  5. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much, this is exactly what I needed! I decided to read the Bible probably a year ago and got up to Joshua (skipped a lot of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, not gonna lie) before losing interest. Hopefully the schedule will work out better. I printed it double sided, just like you suggested. I have been looking for a good Bible timeline for awhile. These can all live inside my Bible case. I may start on April 7, my baptism day.

  6. I’ve never read it all the way through. I’ve always started at the beginning and gotten bogged down. Thanks for this, I’m going to give it another try!
    Rabia @TheLiebers recently posted…#AskAwayFriday with Megan from The Walker Fireside ChatsMy Profile

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  10. Mathew says:

    It is beautiful to meet people who love Christ and his way of life. God bless you all

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  12. Edna says:

    Is the only way to get these by paying for Scribd? I couldn’t seem to find another way.
    Thank you.

  13. Frank says:

    Thank you Edna and Meg for the PDFs. I was also having a hard time getting them to load. Pax

  14. Bob says:

    Thank you for the reading plan and time line. One of my goals this year is to read the entire Bible. I was also bogged down by the books you mentioned.

  15. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it,
    you’re a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back
    later on. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue
    your great work, have a nice holiday weekend!
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  18. Thomas Thurnheer says:

    Thank you, what a great and fun plan ! Exactly what I was looking for ! Tom

  19. Antonia says:

    Thank you for this. I was wanting to start doing just this…and had been thinking of starting on Easter. How timely your post is.

  20. Maggie says:

    This is fabulous. My husband and I are both using your chronological reading plan.
    I’m on day 128, and I’ve noticed that it looks like Philippians is missing from the plan. We read Galatians on days 105 and 106, and then get Joshua through 2 Samuel, and then it goes right into Colossians? No big deal… Philippians isn’t very long, and I’m a stay at home mom, mostly bored out of my ever-loving mind. I can read it in a day or two in addition to the other readings you give.
    Thanks for your work, and God Bless You!

    • Meg says:

      You already read it! On days 26 and 27 🙂 It’s one of my favorites so I put it towards the beginning so that people would enjoy it and keep going. Thanks!

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  22. Geraldine Pagarigan says:

    Dear Meg, I am a Catholic from the Philippines. I have a one-year bible reading guide from “Coming Home” website; but, I do appreciate yours also, as well. Thank you for sharing your own bible-reading one-year guide.

  23. McKenzie says:

    WOW! This is so great, and I think it is awesome you have read the Bible over 12 times. Thanks for sharing this schedule with us!

  24. Anton says:

    Thanks for sharing the reading plan.
    As for the timeline, why is only for OT? What about for NT? How do we connect the timeline from OT to NT?

  25. Julie Pagano-Puhr says:

    I have a print out of your schedule in which you start Jan 1 with 1 John. The time line is confusing . It is as follows : 1 John 1:1-3:10. How do I interpret that ?

    Thank you?
    Julie Puhr

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